As the Trump administration continues its relentless efforts to keep out and kick out immigrants and refugees, the American public and even some state and local policymakers in the red parts of America. If the Trump administration’s relentless immigration focus has forced a national referendum about the value and contributions of immigrants in America then, by many measures, the public is becoming more pro-immigrant (see this good assessment by Bloomberg columnist Frank Wilkinson).
Just over the past few days, some important contrasts have been on display between the Trump Administration’s anti-immigrant efforts and the related pushback from American public and state and local policymakers, even in deeply red states.
- North Dakota county decides to keep their doors open to refugees after Trump/Stephen Miller “opt-out” policy: One county in deeply Republican North Dakota voted on whether it will stop accepting refugees. It was the first county to do so since Trump signed an executive order making it possible. On Monday night, more than 500 county residents flooded into a middle-school cafeteria in Bismarck, and gave four hours of impassioned testimonies on North Dakota’s long history of welcoming immigrants. Ultimately, the commission voted 3-2 to keep its doors open to refugees.
- Doctors seeking to help kids placed in prolonged detention by Trump: The story of Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez highlighted how the Trump policy of keeping minors in detention facilities combined with the culture of impunity at CBP has led to ten known migrants who died in their custody this year. Many doctors are intent to provide medical care to those in need in detention are being turned away. In the most recent case, a group of doctors went to the Chula Vista border facility to give flu shots to migrants, but were turned away at the gates. The doctors vow to protest outside the facility until they are allowed in to vaccinate the migrants.
- Isabel Bueso medical deferred action granted. After Ken Cuccinelli led the effort to end medical deferred action, the powerful pushback led by directly affected patients such as Isabel Bueso, who faced deportation to Guatemala, led USCIS to back down. Now, there is good news to report: Isabel will be allowed to remain in the United States for at least two more years as she receives treatment for a rare genetic disorder. After Bueso’s story sparked public outrage, USCIS “reopened more than 400 deferred-action cases awaiting renewal.”
- Utah embracing idea that DACA recipients can become lawyers – in contrast to Trump efforts to end DACA and subject DREAMers to fewer opportunities and potential deportation, the country as a whole, key business voices, and states and localities have been standing up for Dreamers and the benefits of DACA. The most recent example comes from Utah, where the state Supreme Court is moving toward allowing DREAMers to apply for acceptance to the Utah State Bar. On Monday the court said it “possesses the constitutional authority to govern the practice of law,” and will “move forward on the petition for a rule change.”
- In Connecticut, teachers made sure a student detained by ICE didn’t fall behind in schoolwork — When 18-year-old Mario Aguilar appeared in court after being involved in a traffic accident, he left in ICE custody. For days, the school thought he had gone missing. After locating Aguilar, teachers sent him his schoolwork, along with handwritten letters, to make sure he doesn’t fall behind or feel forgotten. Students and staff have rallied around Aguilar — showing up in support at his court dates and sending letters petitioning his release.