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Office Hours: Advocates Analyze Trump’s First 100 Days on Immigration and Refugee Policy

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A recording of today’s call is available here.

On a press call today, litigators and advocates reflected on Trump’s first 100 days in office, offering their perspectives on the key topics of the day: the radicalism of the Trump/Sessions/Kelly deportation strategy; the case of Juan Manuel Montes; litigation related to the Muslim and refugee ban; efforts by cities to prioritize the public safety of all, rather than collaborate with Trump’s deportation dragnet; efforts to mobilize support for immigrants and refugees; the challenges facing refugee assistance and resettlement; the Administration’s efforts to target Somalis and other populations from unstable countries; and more. A recording of today’s call is available here.

For more information, see America’s Voice Education Fund’s new report: “Trump’s First 100 Days: Yes, We Have a Deportation Force Carrying Out Mass Deportation.”

Matt Adams, Legal Director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, said:

These initial actions challenging the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant activities are critical in the struggle to ensure that the United States lives up to its constitutional promise of equal protection under the law. The Trump administration seeks to divide our communities, pitting citizens against immigrants. The response must be equally strong, making clear that this President will not be permitted to tear communities apart based on religion, national origin or political affiliation.

Nisha Agarwal, New York City Commissioner of Immigrant Affairs, said:

In 100 days we have seen the true colors of the Trump White House: hateful rhetoric, discriminatory policies, and the promise to do more of the same. Xenophobia in Washington will not change who we are in New York City – which has always been and will remain the ultimate city of immigrants. Cities must vigilantly oppose policies that seek to undermine our communities and jeopardize their safety and success. Mayor de Blasio is standing with the forty percent of NYC residents that are foreign born – at the airport and in courts, in schools and the legislature, in the streets and within our communities every day.

Greisa Martinez Rosas, Advocacy Director of United We Dream (UWD), said:

I am undocumented and, in spite of it all, I am unafraid and here to stay. The DACA program has changed my life and the lives of nearly 800,000 people. It has made our country stronger. In his first days in office, Trump has behaved as we worried he would. He has signed Executive Orders that label all undocumented people as targets. A young woman waiting for her DACA was locked away in a detention center after speaking out a press conference. Mothers and fathers have been deported away from their children. In the last couple of days we’ve seen DHS lie about deporting Juan Manuel. People all over the world are coming together and demanding justice for Juan. Every day, UWD is contacted by more people wanting to get involved and fight back. A growing sanctuary city movement is unfolding. Just this week Hyattsville, Maryland announced that they will create a space for immigrants to stay safe. From coast to coast there is urgency and growing power that we will fight back. We will not allow Trump to throw us back into the shadows.

Ignacia Rodriguez, Immigration Policy Advocate, National Immigration Law Center, said:

Thus far, DHS has responded with half-truths and partial answers to our request for answers in the Juan Manuel Montes case. After initially denying they had any record of Juan Manuel’s current DACA status, they now admit that Juan Manuel was right and had been issued DACA until 2018. Their current efforts to discredit this brave young man are, sadly, something that communities of color have experienced for years,we will not allow our pursuit of the truth to be railroaded by side stories about our client that have nothing to do with the case at hand.

Jen Smyers, Director of Policy and Advocacy for Church World Service’s Immigration and Refugee Program, said:

As we’ve continued to see over the last 100 days, including Attorney General Sessions’ most recent comments disparaging the Hawaii federal district court and judges who won’t let them have their way with the U.S. Constitution, the Administration is doubling down on their plan to institute a refugee and Muslim ban. Despite the injunction of the executive order, the administration is keeping refugee admissions artificially low, which will mean that more than 50,000 refugees who are already approved by the Department of Homeland Security will not be able to find safety this year. Seventy-percent of these individuals are seeking to reunite with families here in the United States. We continue to stand with refugees, immigrants, and the American people, who have rejected these policies of fear and division and want to see America lead by example on the global stage.

Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice Education Fund, said:

The Trump Administration has launched an unprecedented attack on the American idea that we should welcome immigrants and refugees, and build a stronger country in the process. They are using the cover story of ‘bad hombres’ as a smokescreen for a strategy that declares open season on each and every undocumented immigrant in America. But our collective fight back has been strong – in the courts, in the streets, in the cities, in Congress and in the court of public opinion. We’ve already suffered too many casualties in this war on immigrants, but we are going to fight every day to defend the American idea, and we are confident the vast majority of the American people are behind us.