Ralph Northam: a clear choice for Virginia immigrant voters

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In Virginia, voters will be making an important choice on November 7. It’s a choice between the politics of division and fear versus the politics of hope and inclusion. It’s a choice between whether we want to continue making progress in Virginia or roll back the progress we’ve made.

And it is a choice that will not only affect Virginia’s future but also reverberate across the country.

Why is this so important? Take a look at the campaigns being run by the two candidates.

Dr. Northam, an Army veteran, pediatric neurologist, and the volunteer medical director of a children’s hospice, has led a life of service. In his campaign, you can see those themes woven into his proposals. He wants Virginians to give back to their communities in exchange for a debt free community college education or apprenticeships. He believes the criminal justice system can and must be reformed to be fairer and more progressive. Northam’s economic policies focusing on work force development and support to small business owners are key for the latino and immigrant communities in Virginia.

Most importantly to me and my community, he believes Virginia should be an inclusive community where all people regardless of their race, gender, creed, or country of origin should be treated equally. He advocates for this because he knows our diversity makes us stronger and helps the entire Commonwealth to prosper. That is one of the reasons Dr. Northam supports in-state tuition for DREAMers so that our children have access to an affordable college education.

It’s why he will continue fighting to ensure that the Commonwealth’s immigration policies are compassionate and fair. When Republicans were playing political games in order to provide a campaign talking point, Lieutenant Governor put a stop to it. Ed Gillespie’s campaign based on racial appeals is the end result of what occurred. It’s no longer just a game when he is purposely causing fear in our communities.

In the State Senate, Dr. Northam consistently supported protecting undocumented immigrants so they can report crimes and assist law enforcement without fear of being interrogated about their immigration status. This is the exact type of policy that makes Virginians safer.

Why? Because local police are not overburdened with enforcing federal immigration law and undocumented immigrants don’t have to fear that reporting crime will result in their deportation.

As governor, Ralph Northam has promised to be present in immigrant communities and meet with them to stay up-to-date on the challenges associated with being an undocumented Virginian. Can you imagine Ed Gillespie coming to our communities after running a Trump-like campaign comparing us to gang members? No, I can’t either.

That brings me to my final point Ralph won’t be afraid to oppose and veto policies that do nothing but fear-monger, whether they come from Washington, D.C., or Richmond, V.A. I can tell you Ed Gillespie is too afraid of Donald Trump’s shadow to stand up to him on anything. His demagoguery makes him demonstrably unqualified to be Virginia’s next governor.

Gillispie’s campaign is a continuation of Trump’s script and rhetoric, without question one the most divisive, fear mongering campaigns in modern history. His television ads and mailers have demonized immigrant communities.

I am an immigrant from Venezuela that saw and suffered how divisive rhetoric and bigotry can bring down a democracy, tolerance and civic coexistence. When my family and I became citizens we felt extremely happy and blessed, among many reasons, because the United States represents the beacon of hope, and we thought here we would never have to experience what we unfortunately went through in Venezuela. Based on our very personal experience, the same sense of trepidation I had during the Donald Trump campaign is what I feel now. Ed Gillespie says he’s for all Virginians when in actuality he’s run a campaign based on scaring Virginians. The Trump-Gillespie playbook is exactly the same we saw back in our days in Venezuela, and it is used by people who think of themselves as “Caudillos”, who come from the extreme left or the extreme right. This affects our families, our children, and our friend and neighbors in Virginia, and the United States.

On November 7, Virginia’s immigrant communities have only one candidate who will fight for them, as well as of an inclusive democracy with opportunities for all, and that is Dr. Ralph Northam.