January 22, 2018

(Los Angeles, CA) - Please attribute the following statement on the Senate vote ending the federal government shutdown without an agreement on the future of immigrant youth previously protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative to Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund):

"In the last several days, we have seen a government shutdown engineered by the White House, and that shutdown then exploited to seek to drive a wedge between citizens and immigrants. And today we have seen elected legislative leaders capitulate to these embarrassing and deeply troubling tactics, or antics, as it were.

You are not a genius if you behave like a Know-Nothing. Donald Trump already risks long-term historical ranking with Millard Fillmore, the president who ran for election later in his life under the banner of the nativist Know-Nothing party. Why would Trump’s advisors extend this embarrassing analogy, and the concomitant historical damnation, by re-confirming (again and again) the parallels?

The legislators who capitulated to the extreme xenophobia emanating from the White House have sold out the best interests of every person, citizen or non-citizen, in this country. Those who sow the wind of nativism will reap the whirlwind of political backlash. Their only hope for redemption is to uproot the terrible seed they have planted by rapidly enacting complete and permanent protections for the immigrant youth put at risk by the reckless decision to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)."

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