March 23, 2018
On March 20th, Congressman Louis Gohmert (R-Texas) introduced a highly controversial bill which has quickly gained national attention. The bill, H. Res. 791, would recognize the birthday (March 31st) of civil rights and labor leader César Chávez as being "National Border Control Day."
The bill presently has zero co-sponsors which suggests that not even fellow House Republicans want to be on record as supporters of denigrating the Chicano activist's milestone achievements.
Chávez proudly served in the U.S. Armed Forces and later testified before Congress. In addition, he, along with other notable Americans such as Dolores Huerta, led the United Farm Workers in fighting for fair wages, health care coverage, safer working conditions, pension benefits, and better employer-employee relations.
Simply put, this legislation is an insult to the legacy of Mr. Chávez, a natural-born U.S. citizen. As a recipient of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace Prize and Presidential Medal of Freedom, Chávez was a person of unquestionable integrity and character.
Congressman Gohmert would lead us all to believe that if César Chávez were still alive today he would be a "strong supporter" of President Trump's proposed border wall, mass deportations of DREAMers, and other false immigration claims. While it is true that Chávez mentioned decades ago that he did not support illegal immigration to the United States, it is a far cry from saying his name should be stained by a Republican bill tying him to a so-called "National Border Patrol Day."
Congress has a sizeable agenda of items that should be take precedence over Gohmert's hateful anti-immigration bill. Thankfully, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus has recognized this disastrous proposal and has urged the Speaker of the House to bring a Democratic bill for a vote which honors Mr. Chávez's contributions to America (https://congressionalhispaniccaucus-lujangrisham.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/chc-chair-statement-on-gohmert-resolution-declaring-c-sar-ch-vez-s).
For Democrats living abroad, Gohmert’s bill serves to further erode the reputation of American Hispanics and to reinforce the image of the United States as a country that no longer welcomes immigrants. Along with President Trump’s continued attacks on the Hispanic community, H. Res 791 underlines the attempts by some members of Congress to denigrate Hispanics and Latinos and their legacy of valuable contributions to American history.
We urge all members of the Hispanic Caucus and Democrats Abroad to call their House member and tell him or her that you STRONGLY OPPOSE H. Res. 791. For any Democrats Abroad members who vote in Texas' 1st Congressional District, remember to vote for Democratic candidate Shirley McKellar in November. We remind all Americans living outside the US to request their ballot now if they haven’t already done so in 2018 at votefromabroad.org.
Ana Hernández Blackstad