First, it’s important how we frame this conversation. Unless you are a member of a native tribe, you or your ancestors are/were an immigrant to this country. If you are white, more than likely some of your ancestors were involved in the theft of native lands and the massive genocide that took place on this continent.
So, the only people who should have a right to pass executive orders about immigration are native people.
Second, since money seems to be the only thing that influences some people, a paper based in the UK reported that decreasing immigration rates leads to a decrease in economic gain, while a different paper based on global figures indicated that an increase in immigration can lead to greater economic benefits.
Here are frequently asked questions answered by the Economic Policy Institute, a nonpartisan, non-profit that seeks to ensure rigorous research into economic policy. It shows that the overall impact of immigration is essentially net-zero on the positive side.
Likely, though, if you’re reading this blog, you don’t need convincing that the recent executive order reducing the number of immigrants, specifically from Muslim-majority countries, is a bad thing. Nor do you need convincing that the massive deportations promised on the campaign trail will not happen on our watch.
It’s important to note, that such deportations, if they should be kicked into gear violate the constitution. Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the ACLU, pointed out that a deportation machine on the level that the dung-beetle promised would “shred the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable search and seizures”.
So with this in mind, what practical steps can we take to combat the executive order policies and protect current immigrants living in the United States?
1. Call your reps. The executive order still requires appropriation of funding from Congress. So, this means continue calling your Senators and Representatives and tell them not to appropriate funds to the increased border patrol. I’m still going to call my reps even though I’ve been severely disappointed by the lack of resistance to the cabinet nominees thus far. (For peeps in Oakland that’s Dianne Feinstein 202-224-3841; Kamala Harris 202-224-3553; Barbara Lee 202-225-2661)
2.Support the ACLU. The ACLU have currently filed suit against a certain someone regarding certain financial documents. If you have the means, you can donate to support this fight. Call and be sure that immigrant rights and the aforementioned constitutional deviances are kept in mind. (it’s telling me deviances isn’t a word… isn’t it? Language is a moving target.) There are plenty of local ACLU offices as well that you can support and get involved with. Northern California’s office is right on Drumm Street! That’s near where I work!
3. Find your local USCIS Office. There are two in my area, one in Oakland and one in SF. I don’t know why exactly I think this is important, but if the time comes to protest or to physically stand in the way, I know where I’m headed.
4. Stay vigilant. Probably the most important and most nebulous. SF has been a sanctuary city for quite some time and thankfully our mayor made a statement saying we would remain that way, but I’m not so sure I trust politicians anymore. So I am ready to call and protest if I see wavering on this stance. In general, get to know the immigration stance in your surrounding area, it may, unfortunately be obvious. Here is a HuffPost article about what to do if you witness a deportation. BUT LET’S MAKE SURE IT DOESN’T COME TO THAT.
This is only the beginning of my thoughts. If you have more concrete actions we can take, please feel free to comment. I’m still collecting my thoughts on how to combat the targeting of Muslim countries and how best to support Syrian refugees.
In general, if you are an immigrant, I am here to support you however I can.