WFP on Proposal to Enact Trump-Era Immigration Restrictions and Give Israel Unconditional Military Aid: “A Moral and Political Disaster”

Working Families Party National Director Maurice Mitchell issued the following statement on the supplemental appropriations bill in the U.S. Senate:

“The legislative package under consideration by the White House and Senate leadership would be a moral and political disaster. This outrageous proposal would enshrine Trump-era immigration policies in exchange for a one-time military aid package that includes unconditional support for Israel’s disastrous military campaign in Gaza. It’s a terrible deal, and Democrats in Congress must reject it.

“Four years ago, voters repudiated Donald Trump and his draconian restrictions on asylum, mass deportations, and incarceration of refugees. That a Democratic president and a Democratic Senate are reviving those cruel and inhumane policies and use immigrant families as bargaining chips represents a profound betrayal.

“Many of the families affected by this proposal are refugees fleeing life-threatening conditions. Trump-era cruelty won’t stop the influx or resolve the crisis. We should embrace common sense proposals like providing workforce permits and working to address migration at its source instead of putting vulnerable families in cages or building ineffectual border walls.  

“Enacting sweeping and permanent policy changes like these in exchange for a one-time cash grant is bad enough. But even worse, $14 billion of that military aid would go to unconditional support for Israel’s ongoing military campaign in Gaza.

“Like the rest of the country, we reacted with shock, sorrow, and outrage when Hamas launched its brutal attack against Israeli civilians on October 7. The murder of more than 1,200 Israelis, including civilians, and the abduction of hundreds must be condemned.

“But in the months that followed, Israel has pursued a path of collective punishment that has killed more than 25,000 Palestinians, most of them women and children. The right-wing Netanyahu regime has ignored the global calls for a ceasefire and repeatedly chosen the path of escalation.

“Israel has bombed and invaded Gaza, and is still denying basic needs like food, water, and electricity to millions. It has launched increasingly brazen attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank. Former Israeli army chief Gadi Eisenkot has publicly admitted that the Netanyahu government’s attempts to destroy Hamas through military force is endangering the very hostages it is purportedly fighting to return.

“The Biden Administration has correctly called Israel’s military campaign indiscriminate, but its pleas for restraint have fallen on deaf ears. High-ranking members of the Israeli government have freely discussed displacing all Palestinians in Gaza and replacing them with Israeli settlers. Netanyahu himself has rejected a two-state solution, the United States’ preferred route to a permanent peace in the region.

“The risk of a full-scale regional war grows greater every day the conflict continues. The United States is already conducting military counterstrikes in Yemen, and the threat of a broader  conflict that includes Syria or Iran has never been greater. The cost in human lives could be even more catastrophic. 

“This is exactly the time for the President and Congress to dial the temperature down, and not give Israel billions in unconditional aid that could fuel the conflict’s expansion. This package would encourage more international law violations, and would discredit the United States in the eyes of billions across the world. 

“This deal also risks fragmenting the coalition of voters that defeated the right-wing authoritarianism of Donald Trump in 2020. While Joe Biden won the popular vote handily, his victory in the Electoral College rested on small margins in a handful of states. With more than 80 percent of Democrats and nearly 60 percent of all Americans now in support of a ceasefire, Democrats could pay a heavy political cost for bankrolling the war’s expansion. 

“If Democrats betray their stated values on immigration, and ignore the rising tide calling for a ceasefire and de-escalation in Israel and Palestine, they could lose the young voters and progressive Black and brown voters they need to beat back a resurgent MAGA movement in 2024.

“This proposal is a Faustian bargain that will damage the standing of President Biden, his party, and our nation. Senators must reject it outright if it comes up for a vote.”