January 25, 2017

Los Angeles, CA - Please attribute the following statement on today's announced changes to immigration enforcement to MALDEF President and General Counsel Thomas A. Saenz.

"These are alt-right, dog-whistle executive directives, with great long-term cost to the soul and safety of our nation. However, our communities will not be cowed by irresponsible rhetoric couched in terms of executive authority.

Donald Trump's border Wall Mahal threatens to bankrupt the nation's treasury just as Trump bankrupted his own businesses in the past through overblown construction projects. Because today's order only commences planning, Congress has the opportunity to prevent the profligate use of federal resources to construct this monument to waste and excess.

Aggressive interior enforcement is an abject failure, delivering tremendous upheaval and harm to families, schools, and workplaces. The economic disruption to critical industries, such as agriculture, from such efforts render these executive orders a direct and undiluted threat to United States national security. There are serious constitutional questions about the enforcement proposals, and untoward activity will elicit court challenge. Reviving the thoroughly discredited and misnamed ‘Secure Communities' program, which actually undermined both security and community, will not make America great again. And no amount of lipstick – through alternative facts or otherwise – will transform the pig of a program that the administration seeks to embrace.

Finally, threatening cities and communities that value the contributions of immigrants and that recognize the injustice in current immigration laws and practices does nothing but undermine public safety and foster division in our nation. Any order that promises to take monies from immigrant-protective cities is an impotent effort to overreach executive authority. Once again, the Congress can and should block this attempt to impinge on federalism and to undermine successful communities."

Founded in 1968, MALDEF is the nation's leading Latino legal civil rights organization. Often described as the "Latino Legal Voice for Civil Rights in America" MALDEF promotes social change through advocacy, communications, community education, and litigation in the areas of education, employment, immigrant rights, and political access. For more information on MALDEF, please visit:

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