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Know Your Rights
Source: Daily News
Subject: Immigration
Type: Media Coverage

Immigrants Betrayed by Hil Flip-Flop

It would be great to be able to cast your vote on Tuesday for a principled candidate with sterling qualities. Yet in too many cases, choices are such that you can only vote for someone who, if elected, hopefully will not be as bad as his or her opponent. It’s depressing, to say the least.  

This is the case in the race for the Senate between Democratic incumbent Hillary Clinton and her Republican challenger, John Spencer, according to some immigrant activists.  

Which is why on Halloween, many of them dressed as witches, skeletons and vampires and paid a visit to Clinton’s Manhattan office.  

But neither they nor the dozens of other immigrants who did not wear a costume and accompanied them were in a trick-or-treat kind of mood.  

There was a trick for sure, they said, but it was the one that the senator played on them with her vote in favor of the infamous Sensenbrenner-King border wall.  

“Clinton spoke with us in April and committed herself to support our cause for legalization,” said Andrew Friedman of Make the Road by Walking, a Bushwick community group and one of the protest organizers. “Then in September, she forgot all about it and voted in the Senate in favor of building the wall, which is no solution to the problems of illegal immigration.”  

Actually, many of the immigrants picketing Clinton’s office remembered her participation in April’s huge march in solidarity with immigrants that took place in Manhattan. 

They also remembered when, a couple of days before the march, she said that the Sensenbrenner/King bill would make a criminal out of “Jesus himself.”  

Many of the demonstrators in front of her office felt betrayed by Clinton’s flip-flop, and angrily said they would not vote for her, although some had done so in the previous election.  

“I would never vote for anybody – Republican or Democrat – who supports the border fence,” said Jaime Gómez, a Guatemalan immigrant and U.S. citizen.  

Important as it may be from a symbolic point of view, these voters’ decision not to support Clinton is not likely to alter the election outcome. Few doubt that the former First Lady will serve another term in the Senate.  

Not that her Republican opponent, former Yonkers mayor John Spencer, is less of an opportunist when it comes to immigration. In fact, both politicians have pretty much the same approach to the immigration crisis.  

It is no secret that the border wall is nothing more than an attempt, mainly by Republicans, to make believe they are doing something effective to bring order to the immigration mess.  

“No amount of fencing will keep immigrants who want a better life for themselves and their families from coming to our nation,” Rep. José Serrano (D-N.Y.) said. “Instead, this boondoggle will waste more taxpayer dollars and in the end prove itself ineffective at keeping people out. It will also force immigrants to try even more harsh and remote entry points, causing more needless suffering and death.”  

So far this year, more than 400 immigrants have perished trying to cross the border.  

Serrano is right, of course. The border wall – even at a cost to taxpayers of $6 billion – will not stop people from coming to the U.S. in search of opportunities and a better future for themselves and their families.  

“Yet again,” Serrano added, “the Republicans are putting their electoral ambitions ahead of the national interest.”  

The congressman is once more right on the money. Except that, as Clinton’s flip-flop made clear, it is not only Republicans who are willing to sacrifice the national interest for their political ambitions.