By Samantha Pitts-Kiefer, Alexandria (File photo)
To the editor:
Decades ago, the Republican Party welcomed immigrants to our shores. In 1988, the Republican platform stated clearly, “We welcome those from other lands who bring to America their ideals and industry.” Indeed, I have been welcomed with open arms, becoming a U.S. citizen in 2010.
But the Republican Party of today has promoted nativist tendencies, led by Donald Trump and his ilk. Even former pro-immigration reform Republicans like Marco Rubio have been swept up in the anti-immigration furor.
We’ve seen how these views can filter down to the local level in states like Arizona, where a law was passed that required law enforcement to demand proof of a person’s immigration status if there was reasonable suspicion they were undocumented. The U.S. Supreme Court has since found the law unconstitutional. As such, Alexandrians should justifiably be worried that radical anti-immigrant tendencies may find a home here in our city.
Republican city council candidate Monique Miles spent years as a lawyer for a radical anti-immigration group: the Immigration Reform Law Institute, which is the legal arm of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, classified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a “hate group.” Notably, IRLI is responsible for drafting the aforementioned unconstitutional Arizona law. During Miles’ tenure with IRLI, she fought to shut down groups such as CASA de Maryland, which helps to empower low-income immigrant communities.
When confronted with this background by the Alexandria Democratic Committee and offered a chance to clarify her stance on immigration, Miles deflected. This week, however, she is giving us her answer: her campaign held a high-priced fundraiser hosted by Hollywood director Ronald Maxwell, who compared, in The Washington Times, Mexican immigration to an “invasion” and a “future annexation of the Southwest by Mexico.” This is not only offensive, but also intolerant.
More than a quarter of Alexandria’s population was born in another country, myself included. I know Alexandrians are proud of this diversity and see no place for divisive anti-immigration views in this community. I hope Miles will clarify her position on immigration and disavow the anti-immigration positions of her former employer and current donors. If she does not, I’m sure Alexandrians will reject these extreme views at the ballot box on November 3.