(ESPAÑOL) Kamala Harris said Thursday that in her new role as California’s U.S. senator she will to do everything in her power to protect immigrants, both legal and those who entered the country illegally, and criticized Donald Trump’s demands for mass deportations and a giant border wall as “absolutely unrealistic.”
“Today we are rededicating ourselves to fighting for the best of who we are. And there are a lot of people, as a result of this election, that are feeling dispirited at best,” she said. “Part of what we have to say is that you are not alone, you matter and we’ve got your back.”
Trump has vowed to overturn many of the president’s executive actions on immigration, such as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which temporarily shields from deportation people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children.
Angelica Salas, executive director of the immigration center, said now is the time for Californians to come together to protect all immigrants from the “hate and division” stirred by the presidential campaign.
Along with protecting the rights of immigrants, as well as women, the LGBT community and others, Harris said Democrats must work to appeal to the disaffected working-class voters whose support was critical to Trump’s surprise victory. Her idea for doing so hewed toward union-friendly policies, including job training, workplace protections and preserving collective bargain rights.
Harris, California’s two-term attorney general, said she’s an “optimist” that a bipartisan accord can be reached to fix the nation’s dysfunctional immigration system, adding that, despite the rhetoric from Trump, most Republicans realize it cannot be ignored.
With Trump now in a position to fill a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court, Harris said she doesn’t expect Democrats in Congress to engage in the same obstructionism the GOP used to block Obama’s nominee to fill the seat of late Justice Antonin Scalia.
“It’s basically what we teach our children, just because somebody does something bad in the classroom, you don’t do something bad in return,” Harris said. “It is time for all of us to perform our duties. There’s too much work to be done. I don’t expect the Democrats are going play those kinds of games.”