It’s a new day and a new presidency! With Trump finally out of office, Latinx communities have woken up full of hope and expectations for what a Biden administration could look like.
January 20th, 2021 was a day of many firsts –– the historic inauguration of the first woman, first Black woman, first South-Asian woman, and first daughter of immigrants as Vice President of the United States. We took a moment to celebrate this milestone, as we should, and we went right back to holding our leaders accountable the next day.
As 22-year-old Amanda Gorman said in her inauguration poem The Hill We Climb, “being American is more than a pride we inherit. It’s the past we step into and how we repair it.” Rebuilding what the Trump administration destroyed will take time. Reversing what the Trump administration created will take even longer.
We must get to work, keep the momentum going, and make our demands a priority at the negotiating table. Fortunately, the conversation has a much different starting point. We’re finally going to stop playing defense and be able to strive for more than just survival.
Latinx communities are done resisting and ready to fight. We will not just sit around, expecting President Biden to keep his word.
These are five of our main demands.
Address police brutality
For African-Americans, Black immigrants, or Afro-Latinx people, the reality is that their skin color could determine whether they live or die at the hands of law enforcement.
Last summer’s protests were eye-opening for some non-Black U.S.-Americans, but neither police brutality nor systemic racism are new forms of violence in the United States. We know they did not start with the Trump administration and will not end with the Biden administration. However, there are steps that Biden can take to reduce the harm caused to Black people living in the U.S.
Police officers must be held accountable. Police funds must be redistributed to crisis workers and mental health providers. No more George Floyds, Breonna Taylors, Tony McDades, or Layleen Polancos.
We want justice.
Provide a pathway to citizenship for undocumented folks
Comprehensive immigration reform was a clear part of Biden’s plan during campaign season. Now, we need to make him follow through with his promises. Offering protections for over 11 million undocumented people, many of whom are BIPOC and/or Latinx, is overdue. The time to do the right thing is now.
As of January 21st, 2021, Biden has suspended deportations over his first 100 days in office, released the summary of a bill that would open a path to citizenship for over 11 million undocumented people and replace the word “alien” for “non-citizen,” and signed a proclamation calling for an end of the construction of Trump’s infamous border wall.
Immigrants get the job done, and these accomplishments are a testament to that. They are the result of grassroots organizing, years of hard work, and dedication.
This is only the beginning. All eyes are on Biden to continue to deliver change for over 11 million undocumented people living in the United States.
Overturn TPS terminations
More immigration reform! After the mess that Trump left behind, we have many different points to discuss.
As mentioned on American Friends Service Committee’s blog, “TPS currently protects around 330,000 people in the U.S. from 10 countries who would otherwise be subjected to disease, violence, starvation, the aftermath of natural disasters, and other life-threatening conditions.”
However, hundreds of thousands of TPS (Temporary Protection Status) holders are at risk of deportation, thanks to Trump’s discriminatory policies. Roughly 400,000 Salvadorian, Haitian, Nicaraguan, Sudanese, Honduran, and Nepalese people living in the U.S. are among those who have been fighting to keep their status throughout the last four years.
According to Joe Biden’s campaign website, “a Biden Administration will immediately review every TPS decision made by the Trump administration and overturn all those that do not appropriately consider the facts on the ground.”
Tick tock, Mr. Biden.
Extend TPS to Venezuelans
For some, this may seem like more of the same, but we understand the various struggles of the immigrant experience. We are diverse groups of people, each with a unique set of needs that need to be addressed differently.
Venezuelans, specifically, are trusting Biden to use economic and diplomatic measures to debilitate the Maduro regime. After more than two decades of a brutally violent dictatorship, we demand freedom. More than anything, as members of the largest refugee crisis in the Americas, Venezuelans in the U.S. are praying for an immediate solution that would bring them out of the shadows.
During his many visits to Florida, Joe Biden committed himself to grant TPS for Venezuelans once in office. As of January 21st, all we have is Rep. Darren Soto’s bipartisan bill: the Venezuela TPS Act of 2021. Rep. Soto and Rep. Diaz-Balart, and Rep. Wasserman Schultz have reintroduced this bill that had previously passed in the house yet been blocked by Republican senators.
But over 200,000 undocumented Venezuelans cannot wait any longer. We demand Biden to act now.
Target COVID-19 relief
Last but certainly not least, we need a big lift to rise from the ashes of Trump’s mismanagement of the COVID-19 crisis.
LGBTQ+ Latinxs, in particular, have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. These kinds of vulnerable populations are crying out for help, and there is no time to waste.
That is why we are urging President Biden to provide clear guidelines and resources for schools, propose a reasonable stimulus package for U.S.-American families, increase funds for small businesses, place more testing and vaccination sites in predominantly Latinx and Black neighborhoods, implement mask mandates, and much more.