Anti-immigrant activist Maria Espinoza unsuccessfully ran for Congress last year, but she’s heading to Washington anyway.
Espinoza’s group, The Remembrance Project (TRP), announced on March 7 that “it is moving its corporate headquarters to Washington, DC, just blocks from the House and Senate Office buildings.” Founded in 2009, TRP cynically capitalizes on tragedies suffered by families to advocate for anti-immigrant policies. In recent years, Espinoza and her group have increasingly become a prominent public face of the organized anti-immigrant movement.
Espinoza recently told VICE News about her plans establish a TRP presence in the capital, but no additional details were publicized before Tuesday.
The group’s decision to move is inspired by President Trump’s January 25 executive order that, among other things, called for the creation of an Office for Victims of Crimes Committed by Removable Aliens, or VOICE. Establishing such an office is one of TRP’s primary policy demands, with Espinoza asking both governors and recent presidential candidates to do so since 2015. Espinoza and several other TRP activists stood behind Trump at the ceremony where he signed the order. Specific details regarding VOICE and its operations remain scarce, but TRP’s move to Washington evidences Espinoza’s intention of supporting the office, no matter what form it takes.
“We felt it was imperative to have a strong presence in our nation’s Capitol, in order to rectify these terrible injustices,” Espinoza told Breitbart News yesterday. “Our families are being heard from a higher vantage point thanks to Donald Trump, and we plan to continue educating and raising awareness here in Washington.”
As Espinoza suggests, Trump and TRP had a mutually beneficial relationship during the presidential campaign. Espinoza and other TRP activists garnered significant media attention at Trump campaign events, boosting the group’s public profile. Meanwhile, Trump was able to use the stories of TRP activists to disingenuously justify his bigoted and extreme policy proposals.
The transformation of TRPs inaugural national conference into a de facto Trump campaign event last September is perhaps the most prominent example of this relationship. TRP’s new Beltway presence suggests the two parties won’t stop working together anytime soon.
The exact location of TRP’s capital office is not presently known. The group only provided a new Washington P.O. Box as an address in its announcement. However, it is possible the group may be sharing space with anti-immigrant group ProEnglish. In 2015, ProEnglish announced it had moved to a new office “in the heart of our nation’s capital.” ProEnglish operates as a project of U.S. Inc, the philanthropic foundation of white nationalist and founder of the organized anti-immigrant movement John Tanton. Tax documents show TRP received $57,000 from U.S. Inc. between 2014 and 2015.
Regardless of the specific location, TRP’s new D.C. office further indicate that the Trump administration has nativist allies both inside the White House and right down the road.