January 20, 2018

(Los Angeles, CA) - Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund), issued the following statement on the government shutdown and Trump Administration:

“Careening from 'shithole' to shutdown in little more than a week, Donald Trump chose to commemorate the first anniversary of his inauguration by engineering something unprecedented – a partial shutdown of the government when a single political party controls the House, the Senate, and the presidency. Instead of applying his self-acclaimed extraordinary negotiating skill – or simply following his lifelong penchant for seizing credit for the work of others – by embracing a bipartisan agreement put together by hard-working legislators, Trump chose instead to send tweets and emails reinforcing his despicable nativism. Instead of leading, Trump spend the day whistling to his diminishing political base by attempting to pit citizens against immigrants and using derogatory terms for Dreamers – youth raised and educated in the United States and poised to continue their hard work to help our nation continue to thrive, but now threatened by Trump’s own baseless termination of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals).

The Latino community will not be fooled. Latinos and the vast majority of others in the United States understand that protecting immigrant youth is a boon to everyone – citizens and non-citizens alike – through innovation, economic, budgetary, community, and other substantial contributions. Beyond further endangering these gains, the Trump shutdown threatens children’s health, disaster relief, and many other critical national needs. A fair solution does not involve serving citizens over others, but recognizing our common national community interests, and leading.

Briefly put, when we needed Trump to shut up – cease the vile rhetoric and accept the bipartisan solution – we instead got a Trump shutdown.

Trump’s decision reinforces the ample extant evidence as to what repulsive ideologues hold the reins of the White House’s resident 'stable genius.' It’s time for mature leaders in Congress to step up and resolve the crisis.”

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:

Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund