A Year in Review: We Keep Resisting

Shahana
Shahana Hanif, Associate Editor

It has been a year since the presidential election set the record straight, if there was any doubt, that anti-immigrant, anti-Black, and Islamophobic sentiments are being embraced in order to return to a “better America.” Moreover, we witnessed targeted, aggressive and cruel immigration policies by the Trump administration. Despite this hostile political climate, immigrant communities and allies across the United States continued to organize and mobilize through effective direct actions and activism to reclaim immigrants’ right to live, study, work, and build families. From what we have observed, when impacted communities organize and take leadership, supported by legal advocates and other allies there can be victories.

Here are some of the anti-immigration actions ordered by Trump, supported by his administration, voters, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents and some of the resistance tactics, campaigns, and groups pushing back on those harmful policies. Let us know about your campaigns and resistance tools, so we can lift up your work.

Targeting of Activists

NYC-based immigrant rights activists #JeanMontrevil (Jan. 3rd, 2018) and #RaviRagbir were detained (Jan. 11th, 2018), a direct attempt by ICE to silence the immigrant justice movement. In a matter of days, New Sanctuary Coalition co-founder Jean Montrevil was deported to Haiti after living in the US for over 30 years.

To fight this attack, on the morning of Ravi Ragbir’s check-in with ICE New Sanctuary Coalition members and allies gathered in mass outside of 26 Federal Plaza to demonstrate community power through a silent march and prayer. Hundreds of activists, elected officials, and faith-leaders rallied after he was detained and quickly moved to a detention center in Florida. On January 29th, 2018, Ravi was released and is back in his NYC home after federal Judge Katherine B. Forrest ordered that he be released from custody, There is, and ought to be in this great country, the freedom to say goodbye.” Thank you Judge Forrest. People power wins!

ravi-ragbir
Description: Ravi Ragbir, center, arrives for his annual check-in with ICE agents in New York. Photo by: Mark Lennihan/AP

Muslim Ban

In the first iteration of the Muslim Ban (Jan. 27, 2017), Trump ordered a 90-day executive order suspending refugee entry from Muslim majority countries Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen in an effort to protect national security. “I’m establishing new vetting measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America. Don’t want them here.”

Protesters showed up in airports across the US to show immigrant resilience committed to defending one another while lawyers provided pro-bono and multilingual legal support to those detained and traveling.  Taxi drivers in New York City part of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance engaged in an one hour strike at the airport. As a result of mass rallying against the #MuslimBan and ACLU’s lawsuit, Federal Judge Ann Donnelly granted an emergency stay to those detained in airports.

Activists Hold March And Rally Protesting Trump Administration Travel Ban
Description: Activist holds a poster that reads “No Ban, No Wall, No Raids” at rally during a protest against the Trump administration’s proposed travel ban. Photo by: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The in-effect order was revised in March 2017 with Iraq no longer on the travel ban list. Additionally, Muslim Ban 2.0 made clear that if individuals from the six countries lack a “credible claim of bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States,” they won’t be allowed in.

Federal Judge Derrick K. Watson in Hawaii ruled the travel ban unconstitutional and granted a temporary restraining order against its implementation.

In its third iteration, the travel ban targets travelers from Syria, Libya, Iran, Yemen, Chad, Somalia, North Korea and Venezuela.

The fight for #NoMuslimBanEver continues. Follow the New York Immigration Coalition, DC Justice for Muslims Coalition, DRUM, and https://www.nomuslimbanever.com/ to stay updated and in the loop on actions pertaining to the Muslim Ban.

Rescinding DACA

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was a special program put in place during the Obama administration (2012) to protect eligible undocumented people, recognized as DREAMers, from being deported. The program was granted after years of advocacy and organizing by immigrant rights groups to gain status for undocumented young people to travel and work in the US. 800,000 DACA recipients are impacted by this repeal. DACA was rescinded on September 5th, 2017 and will officially expire on March 5th, 2018.

undocumented-unafraid-daca-dreamers-protest
Description: Protestors march in a rally to save DACA. Photo by: Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

Countless community organizations and city agencies organized DACA renewal clinics to cover the costs of renewal applications to be submitted by October 5th, 2017. Earlier this month on January 9th, 2018 a California federal court ordered that the administration continue to accept DACA renewals.

Trump Ends TPS

Trump ended the issuing of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for El Salvador on January 8th, 2018. TPS was created for refugees who’ve had to escape ongoing war, natural disasters, and other catastrophes in their home countries. The repeal of TPS is a dangerous move and will send communities who’ve built homes in the US back to threatening climates and living conditions. Countries soon to be impacted are Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

To stay updated on ways to contribute to the resistance efforts to protect TPS, follow #SaveTPS on Twitter and other social media, Alianza Americas, Support TPS for Nepal, Adhikaar, and sign the petition to Renew TPS for Nepal: actionnetwork.org.

Workplace Raids

A week after a lawsuit was filed by Washington state against Motel 6 for its discrimination against guests with Latino-sounding names by routinely sharing this information with ICE, on January 10th, 2018 ICE agents raided the 7-Eleven franchise across the US arresting 21 undocumented workers in an attempt to implement Trump’s crackdown on immigrants.

We know that deportations will continue to be intensified through workplace raids as a means to repress the voices of undocumented immigrants. Workers rights organizers are focused on informing undocumented laborers their rights in the workplace. “In a moment where Trump and ICE are doing everything they can to harm our communities, we are equipping our community with the tools they need to protect themselves and their families. Our communities are here to stay,” Cristobal Gutierrez, employment legal advocate at Make the Road New York. As seen in the case of Motel 6, it is important to note that not only are activists organizing to protect communities, states, judges, and elected officials are also a crucial part of the resistance.

Our communities continue to be targets of the unjust policies and aggressive attacks. It is hard to say what will be next in the Trump administration’s attempt to subdue and separate immigrant lives and families. However, the resistance is strong and creative, with participation from countless fighters. Resisting is our responsibility.

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