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Communities Across Ohio and Midwest Rally Behind Immigrant Neighbors In Face of Trump Attacks

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Throughout the country, the Trump Administration and an “unshackled” ICE and CBP are seeking to detain and deport immigrants who have lived here for decades, with U.S. citizen children and deep ties to America.

In the face of this costly and chaotic mass deportation vision, Americans have gone out of their way to rally behind immigrant neighbors, underscoring that the vast majority of the public wants to legalize, not deport, undocumented immigrants.

Support for immigrant families separated by Trump’s policies

In Columbus, Ohio, Virginia Nunes Gutierrez –  the daughter of Venezuelan immigrants, a community health worker, and an employee of Ohio State University – is doing her part to cajole support for immigrant Ohioan families separated by Trump’s cruel immigration policies. As reported by Esther Honig of NPR affiliate WOSU:

“By using a private Facebook group and WhatsApp, an encrypted messaging service, she can safely connect with other undocumented individuals to warn of a potential ICE presence, or to distribute resources. She’s also developed an online community where people can donate resources, and a cache of trustworthy immigration lawyers.

At this point, Nunes Gutierrez says the network came together organically, but the group hopes to establish it further by hiring someone to the role of community deportation advocate. Such a position will put undocumented populations in touch with possible resources, she hopes.

“It’s being that frontline person for people that are afraid to get out there, that are really afraid for their wellbeing,” Nunes Gutierrez says.”’

Communities rally behind immigrant neighbors in Midwest

As South Bend, IN Mayor Pete Buttigieg reminds us in a new Huffington Post opinion piece, “it’s not just Americans in New York or Los Angeles who believe that we need a more humane and rational [immigration] system. People in communities like Granger, Indiana are rarely heard from on cable networks. But they too believe it is wrong to deport friends and neighbors who do no harm and much good. Plenty of people in red states believe we must reject the politics of scapegoating and its devastating impact on millions—including American citizens.”

In West Frankfort, IL, a recent New York Times story, “He’s a Local Pillar in a Trump Town. Now He Could Be Deported” highlighted the case of Carlos Hernandez, a popular longtime resident and father in pro-Trump Illinois coal country picked up by ICE and scheduled for deportation, before community outcry helped to secure his release from detention:

As Victor Arana, a lawyer for Mr. Hernandez, began pressing in court to seek release for Mr. Hernandez on bond until his case can be heard, the community has rallied around him, writing pleas for leniency to the officials who will decide his fate.

Tom Jordan, the mayor of West Frankfort, wrote that Mr. Hernandez was a ‘great asset’ to the city who ‘doesn’t ask for anything in return.’ The fire chief described him as ‘a man of great character.’ The letters have piled up — from the county prosecutor, the former postmaster, the car dealer, the Rotary Club president. In his note, Richard Glodich, the athletic director at Frankfort Community High School, wrote, ‘As a grandson of immigrants, I am all for immigration reform, but this time you have arrested a GOOD MAN that should be used as a role model for other immigrants.’

…Tim Grigsby, who owns a local printing shop and considers Mr. Hernandez one of his closest friends, has been helping to lead the efforts to bring Mr. Hernandez back to West Frankfort. He said he had always known that Mr. Hernandez did a lot around town. But he said that even he did not grasp the scope of it all until the letters started flowing in.