I am the proud child of immigrants from Mexico. Together, my parents raised five children, including three public school educators and a medical professional who have devoted their lives to their communities.
Among immigrants, my family isn’t unique. Immigrant families have always made our communities stronger, and especially so during this global pandemic.
Undocumented Arizonans are among our most exploited and essential workers. They’ve made unimaginable sacrifices for our community. Throughout this pandemic—as millions have worked from home—undocumented elders and teenagers have risked death in meatpacking plants, behind grocery store checkout counters, and keeping clinics and hospitals clean and safe. They’ve fed our families while living in unrelenting fear that either immigration police or this virus might destroy their own.
Despite their enormous contributions, Arizona has been ground zero for vicious, xenophobic attacks on immigrants. From SB 1070 (the "show me your papers" law) to denying immigrants access to medical care, our state’s legislature has done everything it can to criminalize and demean immigrants.
In office, I will be a fearless advocate for immigrants and refugees and I will fight to ensure our state recognizes the dignity and rights of all human persons, regardless of the documents they possess.
As your state representative, I would fight for:
- Access to Legal Representation for People Facing Deportation Proceedings: Today, immigrants facing deportation do not have the right to a publicly-funded lawyer. Because the cost of legal representation is expensive, 77% of immigrants face deportation proceedings alone and without any legal defense. As a result, many immigrants with the legal right to live in the United States are deported simply because they can’t afford a lawyer to help them navigate notoriously complicated immigration proceedings and defend them from overzealous prosecutors. One shocking study shows that immigrants with a lawyer are up to 10 times more likely to win their cases and remain in the United States than those without representation. In office, I would introduce legislation creating a public defender service program for immigrants that would provide immigrants in Arizona competent, free legal representation in detention and deportation proceedings.
- Drivers Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants: Undocumented immigrants are a vital part of our community. Undocumented children attend our schools, undocumented adults work in our businesses, and undocumented families pray in our community’s churches and houses of worship. But right now, undocumented people can be arrested and even deported simply for driving. No more. In office, I would work to ensure undocumented people have access to drivers licenses. Doing so would not only allow undocumented immigrants to drive without fear. It would also increase public safety by ensuring undocumented drivers have the proper education, training, and licensing required to safely operate a motor vehicle.
- Healthcare for All, Regardless of Citizenship: I believe medical care is a human right, not a privilege for people with documentation. As such, I would introduce legislation ensuring all people, including immigrants without documentation, have access to Arizona’s public healthcare programs.
- Ending For-Profit Immigration Detention Facilities: Currently, Arizona operates four private immigration detention centers. Wealthy executives are getting rich off of incarcerating human beings in dehumanizing conditions. This is a morally bankrupt practice that must be outlawed. Which is why I would work to pass legislation to ban all private prisons and for-profit immigration detention facilities in the state.
- Increasing Community Safety by Freeing Arizona Police from Enforcing Federal Immigration Law: Arizona's state and local law enforcement officials should prioritize combatting violent crime in Arizona, not deporting immigrants and separating families. In office, I would push for legislation restricting the ability of state and local police to make arrests for federal immigration violations. This includes ending 287(g) agreements, which allow ICE to deputize Arizona local law enforcement officers to enforce federal immigration law. I would also work to prohibit ICE from entering local jails without a judicial warrant. Studies show that policies like these have huge benefits: They reduce deportations of people with no criminal convictions by half while simultaneously increasing community safety.
- Fighting for the Safety of Survivors of Crime: “U visas” and “T visas” are humanitarian forms of immigration relief for survivors of crime. These visas are intended to protect survivors of certain crimes who have gathered the courage to come forward, report the crime, and assist in the criminal investigation and prosecution. People who receive these visas are allowed to remain in the United States, obtain work authorization, apply for legal permanent resident status, and help certain family members obtain immigration status. In order to qualify for these visas, applicants must request certification from a local law enforcement agency to document their cooperation. But right now, this process can take up to 60 days in Maricopa County. In office, I would push for legislation directing local law enforcement to respond to certification requests in 15 days, or 5 days if the visa applicant is in removal proceedings.