On February 18, Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly signed sweeping new guidelines that direct Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection to aggressively detain and deport illegal immigrants inside the United States and at the border. Previously these agencies focused their work on finding and deporting those who posed a threat to the community – violent criminals or those with terrorist ties. Now the agencies are indiscriminately arresting and deporting anyone they suspect cannot provide proof they are American citizens.
The agencies are hiring thousands of additional enforcement agents and enlisting local law enforcement to help make arrests. Immigrant families who work and live among us are now living in fear of going about their daily lives. ICE agents appear to be openly embracing indiscriminate sweeps of work places, schools, courts and hospitals.
Joanne Lin, senior legislative counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union, said due process, human decency, and common sense are treated as inconvenient obstacles on the path to mass deportation. The Trump administration is intent on inflicting cruelty on millions of immigrant families across the country. Now is the time to make the human connections and provide the real supports that bind us to our fellow citizens, regardless of their legal status, ethnicity, religion, or economic status.
Act Now to Support Immigrants and Undocumented Individuals
Call your Senators AND Representative – tell them you support bi-partisan, meaningful and comprehensive immigration reform, not a “police state” approach. Insist that they find ways for Congress to block the Administration’s plans. Reaffirm your support for DACA (see MWR Vol.1, No.6) Find your Representatives’ phone numbers here and see our updated recommendations on How to Make a Political Phone Call
- Think about your own interactions with and connections to potentially vulnerable immigrants. Reach out to them personally. Tell them you “have their back,” go shopping for them if they are fearful of being out in general society at this moment, organize a carpool to help their kids get to school safely…or think of another way to show your concern and support.
- If you don’t know anyone to help directly, then support churches and other organizations that are helping during this stressful time. Some are providing sanctuary at great risk. Donate your time and/or money to support them as well as agencies that provide legal assistance and financial support to those caught up in raids.
- Speak up and resist the inaccurate narratives that immigrants either “hurt the economy” or are dangerous. The facts are clear: immigrants are a net benefit to our economy at all levels and immigrants have lower crime rates than U.S. born individuals. Police efforts like those now underway can actually make us LESS safe by reducing trust between peace officers and the community.
- The Hard Ask: Call your governor and ask - Since the Trump administration is attempting to shift immigration enforcement to the states, what steps will the Governor take to protect our immigrant community from President Trump’s aggressive deportation program?