Last night, shamefully, Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow became two of the eight Democratic senators who voted “yes” on a Republican bill that would have blocked undocumented immigrants from receiving stimulus checks. The votes were part of a long night of “Budget Vote-A-Rama,” where GOP senators often play political theatre with non-binding amendments that don’t yet alter legislation, but allow us to see how our Senators support certain policies.
This amendment was overturned and undocumented immigrants were not blocked from stimulus checks. However, the votes of Senator Peters and Stabenow play right into the hands of those who seek to divide us. We all deserve to be able to care for our families and loved ones, no matter our immigration status — and that amendment was a clear dog-whistle, divide-and-conquer amendment by Tom Cotton & Todd Young. Our senators can’t claim to support essential workers then cut out the most vulnerable residents that have been told to keep working the fields and packing plants to feed us.
After Senators Peters and Stabenow cast these shameful votes last night, and with more possibly on the horizon, we knew we had to let them know what Michiganders from Keweenaw to Detroit are fighting for: a Michigan where all of us have dignity and are treated like full human beings, no exceptions. And you all showed up to support farmworkers and our communities.
Hundreds of you sent emails, tweets, and made calls to our Michigan Senators and their staff, demanding that they vote NO on legislation that would further hurt immigrants, specifically Amendment #211 by Senator Thom Tillis, seeking to freeze essential farmworkers wages for two years. You all showed up and out to say that we are working towards a Michigan that leaves absolutely no one behind, including predominantly low wage, BIPOC farmworkers who have been putting food on our tables during a pandemic.
Thankfully, Amendment #211 was not proposed last night, and not voted on. But we must continue to hold Senators Peters and Stabenow accountable, and make sure they know that we will not let them pit our communities against each other and play into tactics that seek to divide us.
Together, we will put a stop to the divide-and-conquer politics that have done so much damage to our communities and democracy. We not only refuse to tolerate them in Michigan anymore, but we are actively building a Michigan in which every single one of us, Black or brown, immigrant or Native, young or old, can live with dignity.