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CT advocates concerned for immigration laws as Ukraine supplementary fund talks continue in Congress

FILE: U.S. In January, Senator Chris Murphy met with immigration officials at the border in Yuma, Arizona.
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Office of Chris Murphy
FILE: In January, Senator Chris Murphy met with border officials El Paso Del Norte Port of Entry.

Connecticut immigrant advocates are voicing their concern over potential Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan supplemental funding deals that could possibly clamp down on immigration.

The concern was sparked when President Joe Biden requested billions of dollars in supplemental funding for Ukraine and Israel and a letter from the Office of Management and Budget accused congressional Republicans of tying that funding to stricter immigration rules.

Sixty organizations in Connecticut sent a letter to U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy voicing their concerns that any stricter immigration laws would make it nearly impossible for immigrants to legally seek refuge in the United States.

“We are opposed to these negotiations because we don’t want people to use our community as a bargaining chip,” Wendy Cardenas, organizing director at Make the Road CT, said. “We don't want folks at the federal level to make any more changes to the asylum system that will prevent people from seeking asylum. The asylum system and the asylum process is already hard enough.”

Cardenas, who has been in the U.S. since 2001 and is a DACA recipient, experienced the impact of changes to the U.S. asylum system and parole authority. She and her family have relied on DACA since its inception, and said she hopes that Murphy will stand for fair and just immigration laws.

Murphy isinvolved in negotiation attempts for a border and supplemental funding deal in Congress and it’s that involvement that prompted the directed concern from activists.

"Now more than ever, we need our representatives to step up to support humanitarian parole and asylum processes,” Chris George, executive director of Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services, said in the letter to Murphy. “America is strong enough to support both asylum seekers at the border and Ukrainian and Afghan humanitarian parolees."

"Since the close of the Second World War, this nation has been united behind the principle of asylum as a fundamental part of our nation's core values," Rochelle Palache, vice-president of 32BJ Service Employees International Union in Connecticut, added in the letter. "We are counting on Senator Murphy to do his part to ensure that it never becomes a political bargaining chip."

In response to these concerns, Murphy said, “I am keenly aware of the stakes of this fight. I am grateful for the counsel and insight I’ve received from advocates and immigrant communities in Connecticut, and I will continue to listen.”

Cardenas argues that any small decision made without careful consideration could significantly impact the complex immigration process.

Cardenas says Make the Road will meet with Murphy's team again on Dec. 14 to follow up on their advocacy request.

Maricarmen Cajahuaringa is a journalist with extensive experience in Latino communities' politics, social issues, and culture. She founded Boceto Media, a digital Spanish-language newspaper based in Connecticut. Maricarmen holds a Bachelor's in Social Work from Springfield College, and a Master's in Journalism and Media Production from Sacred Heart University. As a reporter for Connecticut Public, she is dedicated to delivering accurate and informative coverage of the Hispanic/Latino population in the region. Maricarmen is an experienced and passionate journalist who strives to bring a voice to the stories of her community.