Congressional candidate Ayanna Pressley appeared at La Communidad on Broadway Tuesday morning to listen to the immigrant community and roll out her ideas for federal immigration law – including abolishing the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and eliminating funding for immigration enforcement and removals.
The roundtable in Communidad’s small office on Broadway drew many media members, and Pressley – a Boston City Councilor running against Congressman Michael Capuano – said she would be the new blood to shake up and disrupt the system.
This came after a question from Patricia Montes of East Boston, who said she doesn’t trust the Democratic party or the Republican Party.
“I want to believe in my heart you will do something different, but really I don’t get along with any politicians,” she said. “I am not a fan of the Democratic party either. The Democratic Party has been oppressing our communities for decades too. I consider you that new blood, but I think it will be a challenge for you.”
Pressley has been working hard to draw a line between herself and Capuano – both very liberal Democrats – since the campaign began, and on Tuesday she said that just by running she has disrupted the system and proved she will govern differently that a current Republican or Democrat.
“Just by running, that is disruption itself,” she responded. “We are not used to Democrats being primaried in this state. I’m running because this community, the 7th District, and our democracy are at a crossroads. Now is not the time to be going small. I knew it would be lonely and disruptive because it challenges the status quo…I hope to not only bring in a new way of campaigning, but also a new way of governing…What we’re seeing in our (low-income) communities was created by policy. If these policies were created by men, then I believe these policies can and should be disrupted by this woman.”
Pressley also said she believes that the people in the most pain, and suffering the most in society, should be the closest to the lawmakers and their policies. That, she said, is how she has found her greatest victories as a City Councilor in Boston.
Piggybacking on a policy unveiled Monday, Pressley told the group that she would begin fixing immigration policy by defunding ICE and eliminating its functions for Enforcement and Removal Operations. The agency and its function as the enforcement division for immigration law has created “toxic fear” in communities like Everett.
She said the first step is to eliminate that threat.
“ICE’s role in supporting the existing system, including separating families seeking refuge in the United States and conducting indiscriminate deportation raids in our communities, is creating an atmosphere of toxic fear and mistrust in immigrant communities,” read a statement from Pressley.