Congressman David Valadao is calling an immigration protest at his house a case of uncivil discourse.
A group of protesters congregated outside of Valadao’s Hanford home this morning (Aug. 15), with his wife and three children inside. Valadao was not there.
About 10 CHIRLA Action Fund protesters gathered on a field across the street from the house, delivering speeches on a bullhorn and chants, in English and Spanish.
(Click the video above to view the protest.)
“We want to remind Valadao he has been with us sometimes, promising he is going to support the immigrants. But that is not happening,” said CHIRLA member Antonio Bernabe. “When the time to vote is coming in Congress, he is voting against us. He is voting for the anti-immigrant proposals. He is forgetting about the immigrant community.”
The group chanted “Valadao escucha. Estamos en la lucha (Valadao listen to us. We are in the fight),” as well as “Keep families together” in English.
Valadao’s Chief of Staff Demands Apology
“Our office finds this to be incredibly inappropriate,” said the office of the Republican congressman in a news release.
“While we find ourselves in the midst of a polarizing political environment, I believe our country succeeds when we work together,” Valadao said. “There are many ways to address the obstacles we face and, while we may not always agree on the best course of action, one thing is clear: Aggressive behavior like that demonstrated towards my family today has no place in our political system.”
His chief of staff had harsher words.
“Hateful statements, divisive rhetoric, and aggressive behavior, especially directed at Congressman Valadao’s family, are completely unacceptable,” said Cole Rojewski. “Intimidation tactics, such as those deployed today, are precisely what is wrong with American politics. CHIRLA and all those involved in today’s events should apologize immediately.”
A CHIRLA spokesman disagreed.
“There is nothing uncivil about district constituents expressing their dissatisfaction about Mr. Valadao’s record on immigration,” said CHIRLA’s Jorge-Mario Cabrera. “Mr. Valadao’s actions disrupted millions of people’s lives. We wanted to bring the message home, literally, so that he knows we are human beings, too. We are constituents. He needs to be accountable to his constituents, his state, and the nation.”
Day of Action
The CHIRLA group also participated with about 40 protesters later at Valadao’s Hanford office. Immigrant rights groups, including UFW Foundation, SIREN, ACLU of Northern California and the Dolores Huerta Foundation, held a “day of action” around the nation.
“Valadao’s record of voting in favor of anti-immigrant bills, such as the Border Security & Immigration Reform Act of 2018 that calls for billions of dollars in border funding, indefinite family detention and the turning away of asylum seekers, contradicts his public statements that he stands in solidarity with immigrants,” UFW spokeswoman Leydy Rangel said.
The Border Security & Immigration Reform Act failed in a House vote, 301-121, June 27. Valadao voted in favor of the bill in a losing effort.
Valadao Faces Democrat Cox in November Election
Fresno area businessman TJ Cox, a Democrat, is challenging Valadao in California’s 21st District. Valadao, a three-term incumbent, captured 62.8 percent of the vote in the two-person primary.
Cox distanced himself from CHIRLA’s actions.
“Our campaign had nothing to do with the protest that occurred outside Valadao’s home. We do not support nor sponsor this type of demonstration. Instead, if voters are unhappy and frustrated with Valadao’s lack of leadership in Washington, we encourage voters to make their voices heard by voting on November 6″, Cox’s campaign manager Francois Genard told GV Wire via email.
The Cook Political Report rates the race as “likely Republican” even though Democrats hold a registration edge.