Things That Matter

We Spoke With Ammar Campa-Najjar, The First Latino-Arab Running For Congress

Ammar Camp-Najjar made headlines when he first announced his candidacy for California’s 50th Congressional district representing San Diego. The young politician garnered lots of attention for his looks and the collective thirst he inspired on social media helped raise his profile. While the Internet was busy swooning, Campa-Najjar was starting his work into flipping the California’s 50th Congressional District. As the son of an immigrant father, Campa-Najjar says he understands the need for a more efficient and modernized immigration system.

Campa-Najjar, the first Latino-Arab to run for Congress, spoke with mitú about the importance of changing our immigration system, his family’s immigration experience, and how he plans on getting people to show up and vote.

Ammar Campa-Najjar is running for California’s 50th Congressional district, which has been a Republican stronghold for more than a decade.

#flashbackfriday: Swearing-in ceremony, performed by Deputy Secretary of Labor Lu.

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Campa-Najjar is hoping to flip California’s 50th Congressional district to represent people in San Diego who he thinks have been let down by multiple Congressmen, including incumbent Duncan Hunter Jr. Hunter Jr. has been accused of misspending tens of thousands of dollars of campaign funds to pay for family vacations.

And one of his biggest influences for running for Congress comes from his own family: his grandmother.

Visited my abuelita and gave her the gift I got her from the #Vatican: A #blessed silver plate of the Last Supper ?

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“My grandmother and my grandfather were immigrants [from Mexico]. They came here legally back when it was a little easier. My grandmother is from Guadalajara. My grandfather was an orphan farm worker. They came from humble beginnings and they were just hard working, middle-class people,” Campa-Najjar told mitú.

“I think what my grandparents had and my mother had was the ability to contribute fully and fairly to America’s economy and way of life,” Campa-Najjar told mitú.

Thanksgiving 2015 with my little brother and sister. ?

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Campa-Najjar told mitú that he understands the importance of making sure that people can come into the country more efficiently and immediately bringing them into the fold. He believes getting people working and integrated will help the economy and improve many lives.

Campa-Najjar says that the best way to fix our immigration issue is to modernize the process.

CREDIT: Ammar Campa / Facebook

“If we could modernize our immigration process, people will be able to opt to come here in the more legal fashion because it is a viable path. They wouldn’t be waiting a decade or two to come into this country legally,” Campa-Najjar told mitú. He added: “There are people who are trying to come into this country who are fleeing persecution or fleeing oppression or fleeing violence and they can’t wait for 20 years for their children to come to this country to have the American dream. So I would focus on modernizing our immigration process.”

Campa-Najjar told mitú that he has the experience in Washington D.C. and that he has proven he can lead from the Capitol.


“I am the only person in this race who has been to Washington, who has worked in Washington, who has proven that I will not lose my way,” Campa-Najjar told mitú. “If you look at this district, they’ve had a history of terrible Congressmen on both sides.”

Once again, a lesson from his own family is what encouraged him to work as hard as he can in whatever he does.

#TBT We love you mama ??

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“My mom taught me that your work ethic reveals who you are as a person and I’ll contrast the values instilled in me by this district to the values that Duncan Hunter has lost and the code of conduct he has violated, not just as a Congressman but as a former military member,” Campa-Najjar told mitú.

And since he is running for Congress, he wants people to see him as a politician, not an Internet heartthrob.

Chatting with MSNBC's Jose Diaz Balart at the #DemConvention

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“I’ll be honest. It’s a very minuscule version of what women go through all of the time trying to be taken seriously. I’m not running to be a social media candidate, I’m running and spending every waking moment at people’s homes,” Campa-Najjar told mitú. “This election is not about the newsroom. It’s about people’s dining rooms and living rooms. It’s about what keeps them up at night and wakes them up in the morning and I honestly see it as a disservice to that struggle when people objectify me. I try not to take it personally but it really derails the hopes and dreams of a lot of people.”

He plans on getting young people ready to vote by getting them pre-registered to vote.

Trump's biggest nightmare: a Mexican-Arab born in a border city occupying the Oval Office ??

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Campa-Najjar is working to get young people to vote through an initiative he called “18 By 2018.” He is actively getting 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds pre-registered to vote so that they are able to go straight to the polls once they turn 18. Camap-Najjar knows many young Latinos become eligible to vote every day. He wants to tap into the younger population, who he believes will be bear the brunt of decisions made by politicians.

Campa-Najjar told mitú he is running on ideology, not party, to help his district and his neighborhood.

Official government portrait ?? Only in America can the son of a woman from the barrio and a man from an occupied territory have the freedom to reimagine his life and pursue his dreams. It's impossible to explain how surreal it is to spend the first part of your life with your family under siege for years, almost every night, by helicopters and F-16s that leveled entire neighboring buildings on your bloc with missiles that had the words "Made in America" written on them, and then spend the second part of your life working within the United States Government, entrusted with serving the American public, getting referred to as sir by Secret Service agents every morning and being protected as a man by the same things that could've killed you as a boy. It's not the perfect love story, but I know what I've witnessed in my life is nothing short of an American miracle. Not a single day goes by where I don't hear from a family member who is still shocked that someone with my background has been called to serve in this place; it flies in the face of everything so many in the Arab world think they know about America. This anecdotal story gives them the audacity of hope. So even in our darkest hours as a nation, and there have been many recently, these experiences give me faith that there's nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured with what is right with America. I love this country.

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As the son of immigrants, Campa-Najjar told mitú he wants to represent California’s 50th district to give all immigrants the same dream and opportunity his family had. It isn’t about sticking to a party line. It is about helping those who want to come to America to contribute.


READ: People Just Can’t Handle The Heat Coming From This Handsome Congressional Candidate

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Google Is Pledging $250K To Help With DACA Applications And Renewals

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Google Is Pledging $250K To Help With DACA Applications And Renewals

SANDY HUFFAKER / AFP via Getty Images

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, is not a contentious topic among Americans. The program offers young adults who entered the U.S. as children relief from deportation and a chance to live out of the shadows. Now that it has been reinstated, Google wants to help some people achieve the dream of being a DACA recipient.

Google is pledging a quarter of a million dollars to help people apply for DACA.

The Trump administration did everything in their power to end DACA. The constant uncertainty has left hundreds of thousands of young people in limbo. The war waged against Dreamers by the Trump administration came to a temporary end when a federal judge ruled that Chad Wolf was illegally installed as the head of the Department of Homeland Security. It invalidated a member from Wolf stating that no new DACA applications would be approved.

Kent Walker, the SVP of Global Affairs, laid out the case for DACA in an essay.

Walker discusses the uncertainty the hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients currently face after the tumultuous time for the program. He also touches on the economic hardships that has befallen so many because of the pandemic. With so many people out of work, some Dreamers do not have the money to apply or renew their DACA due to a lack of financial resources. For that reason, Google is getting involved.

“We want to do our part, so Google.org is making a $250,000 grant to United We Dream to cover the DACA application fees of over 500 Dreamers,” writes Walker. “This grant builds on over $35 million in support that Google.org and Google employees have contributed over the years to support immigrants and refugees worldwide, including more than $1 million from Googlers and Google.org specifically supporting DACA and domestic immigration efforts through employee giving campaigns led by HOLA (Google’s Latino Employee Resource Group).”

People are celebrating Google for their decision but are calling on Congress to do more.

Congress will ultimately have to decide on what to do for the Dreamers. There has been growing pressure from both sides of the aisle calling on Congress to work towards granting them citizenship. DACA is a risk of being dismantled at any moment. It is up to Congress to come through and deliver a bill to fix the issue once and for all.

“We know this is only a temporary solution. We need legislation that not only protects Dreamers, but also delivers other much-needed reforms,” writes Walker. “We will support efforts by the new Congress and incoming Administration to pass comprehensive immigration reform that improves employment-based visa programs that enhance American competitiveness, gives greater assurance to immigrant workers and employers, and promotes better and more humane immigration processing and border security practices.”

READ: New DACA Applications Were Processed At The End Of 2020 For The First Time In Years

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Biden Says He Will Introduce An Immigration Bill “Immediately” But What Will Be In It?

Things That Matter

Biden Says He Will Introduce An Immigration Bill “Immediately” But What Will Be In It?

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

During the 2020 election, Latinos were a massive electoral voting bloc. In fact, for the first time ever, the Latino vote outnumbered the Black vote. According to the Pew Research Center, there are now 32 million eligible Latino voters and that accounts for 13 percent of all eligible voters. 

And, Latinos helped deliver the presidency to Joe Biden. So it can be expected that the community has high expectations for Joe Biden to deliver on his campaign promises of immigration reform.

During a recent speech about his first 100 days in office, Joe Biden outlined his priorities once he’s sworn in on January 20th, and said he would “immediately” send an immigration bill to congress.

Joe Biden promises swift action on immigration reform as soon as he takes office.

Over the weekend, President-Elect Joe Biden promised he would take swift action when it comes to immigration reform and rolling back many of the cruel and dangerous policies put into place by the Trump administration.

“I will introduce an immigration bill immediately,” he said in a news conference on Friday.

Although he didn’t go into detail regarding the proposed legislation, he’s previously committed to ending Trump’s ban on immigration from predominantly Muslim nations, and that he wants a path to citizenship for Dreamers, and an increase in guest worker permits to help bring undocumented agricultural workers – many of whom are now considered “essential workers” – out of the shadows.

Biden had already promised an immigration overhaul within the first 100 days of his presidency but this commitment definitely increases the pressure on him and congress to get things done.

Biden also said his justice department will investigate the policy of child separation.

During the same press conference, Biden said that his Justice Department will determine responsibility for the family separation program, which led to more than 2,600 children being taken from caregivers after crossing the U.S. southern border, and whether it was criminal.

“There will be a thorough, thorough investigation of who is responsible, and whether or not the responsibility is criminal,” Biden said. That determination will be made by his attorney general-designate, Merrick Garland, he added.

During the campaign, Biden finally took responsibility for many of his administration’s immigration failures.

Nicknamed the “Deporter in Chief,” Obama deported more immigrants than any other president in U.S. history with over 3 million deportations during his time in office. 

But as part of that administration, Joe Biden is also complicit. That’s why during the campaign he seemed to acknowledge at least some of the pain the duo caused.

“Joe Biden understands the pain felt by every family across the U.S. that has had a loved one removed from the country, including under the Obama-Biden Administration, and he believes we must do better to uphold our laws humanely and preserve the dignity of immigrant families, refugees, and asylum-seekers,” Biden’s immigration plan reads. 

While Obama’s methods pale in comparison to the cruel tactics like family separation, inhumane conditions, and targeted raids, the impact the deportations have had on families is cannot be quantified.

Biden, like any Vice President, is put in the position of having to defend his president, but also himself as the future president. This isn’t a bad thing, Biden must distinguish himself from his predecessor but if the shadow of Obama’s legacy is buying him goodwill, it might be difficult to undermine that administration’s stances.

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