A year ago we protested against Trump’s xenophobia and bigotry. That fight is more important

One year ago, Donald Trump ordered a blanket and unconstitutional Muslim ban. Just a week after his inauguration, this ban sent chills through many American communities and left us wondering if an American president’s compass would truly try to lead the nation in such a direction.

One year later, we have our answer: an unequivocal yes. Our identity as a nation of immigrants, with a compassionate and fair approach to the huddled masses, is in peril. We must continue the fight, and work against Trump’s policies that stem from bigotry and a courtship of the most divisive among us.

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In January 2017, Trump’s rushed, poorly-drafted order against immigrants led to massive confusion and global backlash. Thousands of people poured into airports across the country in protest. That weekend, I arrived at Dulles International Airport in Virginia to join a crowd of more than 200 protestors and lawyers.

I met so many alarmed Americans – parents, siblings, friends -- all pleading for information about travelers lost in this Orwellian maze. Refugees, immigrants and tourists alike were turned away at airports, detained in interrogation rooms and denied access to counsel. They were suddenly and without warning barred from entering the United States – for many their home country – and left in legal limbo.

By the time I left Dulles that day, the crowd had swelled to well over 500. This was just a week after the Women’s March became one of the largest demonstrations in American history – I was so proud of our country on both occasions. The immediate, massive resistance to policies which simply aren’t American was a beacon of light in a dark time.

Eventually, the Muslim ban was halted by multiple federal courts due to constitutional concerns, forcing the Trump administration to reissue an updated ban which also ran afoul of the courts, prompting a third version, which awaits consideration before the Supreme Court.

Throughout the presidential campaign and the transition, many questioned whether Donald Trump would change once in office. Would he tone down the rhetoric? Would he stop tweeting? Did he possess the capacity to be the president of all Americans?

If those questions weren’t laid to rest with the first Muslim ban, they certainly now are. In addition to the repeated xenophobic efforts against Muslims, we have seen our ostensible leader do the following:

  • Weigh in on a fatal Charlottesville rally last summer, led by white nationalists – including neo-Nazis and members of the KKK – by stating that there were “very fine people on both sides.”
  • A month later, when black NFL players engaged in peaceful protest to decry violence against African Americans and unfair treatment by our criminal justice system, tweet that the players were showing “disrespect to our flag & country.”
  • Earlier this month, refer to Haiti, El Salvador and African nations as “shithole countries” during an Oval Office meeting with legislators on immigration policy.

By no means is this a comprehensive list of Donald Trump’s bigoted remarks and actions. Nor is there a way to measure the damage inflicted by such words and the Trump-era policies that are following.

Today the central fight in Congress is the battle to protect Dreamers. President TrumpDonald John TrumpBrennan fires new shot at Trump: ‘He’s drunk on power’ Trump aides discussed using security clearance revocations to distract from negative stories: report Trump tried to dissuade Melania from 'Be Best' anti-bullying campaign: report MORE’s decision to end DACA last year created a cloud over the lives of 800,000 young people who grew up in this country and made so many contributions to it. It is difficult to credit Trump’s promises that no harm will come to them, given his repeated sabotage of bipartisan deals to help Dreamers.

The beginning of the president’s first year in office was marked with his attempt to ban many Muslims from entering the country. Now his second year has begun with a concerted push to deport, potentially, millions of people. Donald Trump is not going to change, and it is up to those of us who oppose bigotry to take him at his word, and fight.

Beyer represents Virginia's 8th District.