Immigrant rights group reacts to Lamont’s offer to deploy CT National Guard at US southern border
Lamont emphasized the far-reaching impact of the immigration crisis, asserting that it affects states beyond those typically associated with frontline border issues, such as Connecticut.
“It’s in all of our backyards. I see what it’s doing to the country. They’ve got to secure the border. I tell President Biden, we’ll send the Connecticut Guard down to help you if that’s what you need to get it done,” Lamont said.
The governor could shift his focus to immigration issues in his own state, according to one local advocate.
“Lamont has a duty to also protect his community here in Connecticut, and he should be more focused in reinvesting the resources that Connecticut has in his constituency,” said Barbara Lopez, executive director of the immigrant rights organization Make the Road Connecticut.
“One of the things he could be focusing his energy on is the expansion of Husky for all regarding their immigration status,” Lopez said.
A spokesperson for Lamont’s office said he has not heard about concerns from immigrant community leaders, reacting to his recent comments about the border.
The conversation comes as Democratic U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy from Connecticut has sparked a contentious debate with his bill addressing national security and immigration. The bill failed to pass the Senate on Wednesday, amid heightened tensions between Republicans and Democrats surrounding the management of migrant crossings at the southern border.
While Murphy's proposal aimed to address concerns surrounding immigration policy, many individuals and organizations, including those in Connecticut, have expressed reservations. Some feared that the bill may exacerbate challenges for migrants seeking refuge, adding to the complexities of an already contentious issue.
“Our immigrant communities here in Connecticut will be fearful of their families being separated, will be fearful of going to work or to school, deportation proceedings will be quicker, and there won't be access to supporting our immigrant communities,” Lopez said.
Approximately 113,000 undocumented immigrants reside in Connecticut, according to estimates by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI).
“The large majority of the people that come here, what they want is to learn the language and start working,” said Anka Badurina, executive director of Building One Community, a group initially founded to help undocumented day laborers in Stamford.
Badurina said her organization served nearly 4,700 people last year.
“The vast majority of those folks have been here for a long time. There are, yes, some people who are new arrivals in the U.S.,” she said.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection indicates that in fiscal year 2023, the agency documented over 3 million enforcement interactions with immigrants trying to cross the border.
This story has been updated to correct Barbara Lopez's last name.