July 24, 2020

MASS LATINX LEADERS GATHER TO CONDEMN SENATOR MARKEY’S “BED QUOTA” VOTE

“We absolutely cannot afford to have a Senator who is this out of touch with the very real issues immigrant families and communities face every single day.”

 –– Chelsea City Council President Roy Avellaneda 

 

WATERTOWN, MA –– The day after members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in Washington, D.C. held a press conference to highlight Senator Ed Markey’s vote for the notorious immigration “bed quota,” LatinX leaders in Massachusetts gathered outside the JFK Federal Building to slam Markey’s vote on the mandate and to reiterate their support for Joe Kennedy for U.S. Senate. 

 

Speakers included Chelsea City Council President Roy Avellaneda, Manuel Teshe, youth activist and paralegal working to represent immigrants in their legal matters in Massachusetts, and Berkis Días, Founder/Executive Director Centro Latino de Integracion de MA (CLIMA). 

 

“The fact that Senator Ed Markey stood opposite his fellow Democrats on this issue and voted to place a quota on the number of beds ICE Detention centers were forced to keep full should automatically disqualify him from representing this Commonwealth,” said Chelsea City Council President Roy Avellaneda. “We absolutely cannot afford to have a Senator who is this out of touch with the very real issues immigrant families and communities face every single day. These types of administration policy decisions are not adherent to the values we want our Senators to have when representing us. Joe Kennedy has been an ally to the immigrant community since his first day in office, and works to bring the voices of our community to the table to fix the issues we face every day. I am thankful for that, and it is what I want to see in my next U.S. Senator.”

 

“We need leaders who are going to come down to our cities and talk with us,” said Manuel Teshe, youth activist and paralegal working to represent immigrants in their legal matters in Massachusetts. “This past Sunday we held a meeting at LUMA in Everett, Joe Kennedy showed up, and the whole meeting was held in Spanish. I could tell he was engaged, I could tell that he was interested and genuinely concerned about the issues we were talking about. I trust that he will work hard every day to build a better future for me and my community.” 

 

On Thursday morning, Congressman Juan Vargas (D-CA), Congresswoman Linda Sánchez (D-CA), Congressman Filemon Vela (D-TX), and Congressman Pete Aguilar (D-CA) held a virtual press conference highlighting Senator Ed Markey’s vote for the notorious immigration “bed quota” –– a mandate that required 34,000 beds be filled on any given day in ICE detention centers and private prisons. Ed Markey was one of just 25 Democrats and the only member of the MA delegation to vote for the passage of the GOP-authored Homeland Security budget bill.

 

“I’m very supportive of Joe Kennedy. He’s always supported the immigrant community. He’s always been there for us on the easy votes, on the tough votes, it doesn’t matter: He’s always been there for us. But we can’t say the same thing about Markey.” said Congressman Juan Vargas (CA-51). “Every progressive person, everyone in his delegation in Massachusetts, voted against this bill. He was the only progressive member of Congress to vote for it because he had a tough election. We were betrayed. The community was betrayed.” 

 

“I am seriously concerned that Senator Markey voted not only to maintain this quota but to actually increase it by more than 2,000.” said Congresswoman Linda Sanchez (CA-38). “That is literally putting people in a tinderbox for no reason other than to line the pockets of for-profit prison operators. His vote, quite frankly, really made me question who he is willing to fight for and stand up for in Congress. I am so tired of out-of-touch elected officials who refuse to stand up and do what is right. We need Senators who are going to fight for human rights and speak out against injustices. When simple common-sense measures are ignored or used, quite frankly, for one person’s political gain — it’s time for new leadership.”

 

In response to Congressional leaders condemning Markey’s record on immigration, LatinX leaders are holding the press conference on Friday to condemn Markey’s support of the “bed quota” and to highlight his lack of presence in LatinX communities here in Massachusetts.