FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 18, 2023
Media contact: Sookyung Oh (firstname.lastname@example.org / 703-405-4480)
Virginia – On May 31, 2023, Governor Youngkin announced the deployment of Virginia state troops to the Texas border to serve under the authority of Texas Governor Abbott. The Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights condemns Governor Youngkin on his affront to families fleeing violence and persecution in search of safety, stability, and the American dream. Rather than spending the $3.1 million dollars of taxpayer money on Virginians who need help and guidance on their road to recovery from drug addiction, the Governor has instead decided to spend taxpayer money to fund a political ploy. By sending Virginia state troops to the Texas border the Governor is disrupting the federal process and due diligence for the overwhelming majority of immigrants and refugees seeking to make a peaceful passage into our country.
Virginia is currently facing a historic worker shortage, an educational disparity gap, and an unbalanced 2023 budget, yet the Governor has instead prioritized a manipulative photo op with misleading information instead of prioritizing Virginians.
Jorge Figueredo, VACIR Board Member and Edu-Futuro‘s Executive Director, stated, “As Virginia students struggle to deal with a sharp increase in mental health issues related to the aftermath of the COVID pandemic, Governor Glenn Youngkin has unwisely decided to spend $3.1 million in taxpayer dollars to send 100 National Guardsmen to Texas. The Commonwealth of Virginia needs to significantly increase the resources dedicated to the mental health needs of our children, and our hard-earned tax dollars should not be used to support political games or the anti-immigrant actions of Texas Governor Greg Abbott.”
Bert Bayou, VACIR Board Vice-Chair and African Communities Together‘s Virginia State Director, noted, “I have been to the southern border and met immigrants from Africa and from every corner of our earth, they come because they are fleeing war and persecution. These families seek peace, security, and prosperity in the United States. These immigrants deserve our support and compassion, not soldiers from Virginia who can intimidate and spread fear.”
Yanet Amado, VACIR Member and Domestic Workers Alliance‘s State Director, said, “Governor Youngkin is out of bounds, out of jurisdiction, and out of touch with Virginians. It is an embarrassment that the Governor is unclear and misinformed where federal jurisdiction ends and state jurisdiction starts. This maladaptive stunt is a waste of taxpayer money that could be better spent serving Virginia businesses, schools, and communities. Virginia and Virginians deserve better.”
Zowee Aquino, VACIR Member and Hamkae Center‘s Policy & Communications Team Lead, stated, “Glenn Youngkin clearly sees immigrants as nothing more than pawns in his political game, and he clearly has no problem wasting the public’s money to play in it. We saw this firsthand when he tried to pit Black and immigrant Virginians against each other by taking state financial aid funds that were already designated for immigrant communities and re-distributing them to HBCUs. And, we’re seeing it again with this border stunt when the money could be used towards our state’s infrastructure, schools, and local businesses. These are massively misplaced priorities that only further divide Virginians and do not add anything of value to our communities.”
The Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights (VACIR) is a multi-racial and multi-ethnic coalition of organizations that exists to win dignity, power and quality of life for all immigrant and refugee communities.
Hamkae Center, a member of VACIR, is a community-based organization with a mission to organize Asian Americans in Virginia to achieve social, economic, and racial justice. Alongside its community members, Hamkae Center works to build a future in which low- and middle-income, immigrant, people of color, and all marginalized communities can fully participate in U.S. society and work together as makers of lasting change.
We are the Virginia affiliate of the NAKASEC Network. Other members include HANA Center (Illinois), Woori Center (Pennsylvania), MinKwon Center for Community Action (New York), and Woori Juntos (Texas).