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Immigrant, Arab-American, and Refugee Advocates Analyze President Trump’s Forthcoming Executive Orders on Immigrant and Refugee Policies

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A recording of today’s call is available here.

As the nation prepares for President Trump’s forthcoming Executive Orders on immigration and refugee policies, leaders from America’s Voice Education Fund, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Women’s Refugee Commission, National Immigration Law Center (NILC), South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC), and United We Dream gathered to offer their thoughts and perspectives.


A recording of today’s call is available here
Juan Escalante on Medium: “What Will You Do If Donald Trump Deports Me?”
Women’s Refugee Commission: “Detained or Deported: What About My Children?”
Women’s Refugee Commission: “Resources for Families Facing Deportation and Separation” 

Abed A. Ayoub, Esq., Legal and Policy Director of American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), said, “These actions by President Trump confirm fears by many that the divisive and bigoted rhetoric witnessed during the presidential campaign is already leading to devastating policies. The actions taken by Trump have nothing to do with national security – they are based off Islamophobia and xenophobia. We need to stand by the constitution. A safe America also stands by its constitution – not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s what makes us strong. We live up to our highest values, and we embrace others into our American melting pot as one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Marielena Hincapié, Executive Director of National Immigration Law Center, said “President Trump made a campaign out of demonizing immigrants and spreading lies – not alternative facts. Today, he is poised to use those lies as a cornerstone of public policy, and the consequences are devastating for all of us.”

Greisa Martinez, Advocacy Director of United We Dream Network, said, “Trump’s directives mark the start of his mass-deportation crusade and make clear that he will try to rule through race-based terror and criminalization. We call upon mayors, governors, superintendents and faith community leaders to reaffirm their commitment to sanctuary and create new sanctuaries of safety for immigrants, Muslims, black people and members of the LGBTQ community. We are asking Members of Congress – both Republicans or Democrats – to take action at the Capitol to oppose this agenda of mass deportation. We are #HereToStay and organized to win.”

Melanie Nezer, Vice President of Policy and Advocacy of HIAS, said, “Throughout our history, the United States has been a leader in refugee protection and a beacon of hope for persecuted people. But President Trump plans to close the doors on Syrian and other refugee families when they need our help the most. Refugees are more thoroughly vetted and screened than anyone else who comes to the United States. There are more refugees in the world now than at any time in recorded history, and there are wait lists across the country of Americans who want to welcome refugees. We should be doing more, not less, to offer safety and a new beginning to these families who lost everything and want nothing more than to live in peace.”

Katharina Obser, Senior Program Officer of the Migrant Rights and Justice Program, Women’s Refugee Commission, said, “WRC is extremely concerned about the impacts of the administration’s forthcoming executive orders on women, children, asylum seekers, and other vulnerable populations. Keeping asylum seekers out of the country does not make us safer, and it is not who we are as a country. Increasing immigration enforcement at our borders and in the United States will dramatically exacerbate the gaps and flaws in a system that is already severely lacking in accountability. These executive orders will also do nothing to relieve the humanitarian crisis in Central America. It will further destabilize the region and will essentially lock asylum seekers in a burning house. Lastly, expanding interior enforcement will terrorize many and tear apart families. WRC will plan to document the impact of these policies and call on the administration to do right by our immigrant and refugee communities.”

Christian Ramirez, Director of Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC),said, “Trump is now in a position to fulfill his reckless campaign promise to further militarize the borderlands and trample over the constitutional rights and quality of life of the tens of millions of people who live here. Expanding the size and power of security forces in the border areas—including the Border Patrol, which claims extraordinary legal authority up to 100 miles from our borders—will further erode the freedoms and rights of tens of millions of people who call southern border communities home.

“Trump’s fantasy of sealing the border with a wall is based fundamentally on racial and ethnic bias and is a colossal waste of tens of billions of US taxpayer dollars. The border wall is about political theater at the expense of civil liberties; it is not rational national security policy.

“Border communities are among the safest in the nation, and patrolling them with tens of thousands of heavily armed, poorly trained, unaccountable agents puts lives at risk. This will turn these communities into military zones.”

Suman Raghunathan, Executive Director of South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), said, “Today’s Executive Orders are a troubling, very detailed illustration that reinforces problematic views and stereotypes of Muslims and all who can be perceived as Muslim.  President Trump’s xenophobic rhetoric during the election is being born out into devastating policies just five days into his administration.  Our communities know all too well how those policies tear apart families and push us further away from our values as a nation to guarantee freedom and civil liberties for all.  Today’s announcements will continue to criminalize people of color based upon their religion and national origin and make us ALL less safe.  While the national political conversation has moved to bigotry and fear, SAALT stands ready in partnership with the 54 members of the National Coalition of South Asian Organizations nationwide. Together, we will forge a future driven by the guarantees that all Americans must treated equally, with the same rights and opportunities afforded to us all.  We will work to galvanize all South Asian Americans, and indeed all Americans, to take a stand against xenophobia and bigotry.  We will continue to call upon elected officials to stand up for the irreducible ideals of equality and against the xenophobic political rhetoric and policies of the Trump administration today.”

Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director of America’s Voice Education Fund, said “Donald Trump is wasting no time taking a wrecking ball to the Statue of Liberty. We know that he is moving forward with some of the ugliest anti-immigrant and anti-refugee policies that could ever have been dreamt up. This is a dramatic, radical and extreme assault on immigrants and the values of our country.”