Resisting Trump and standing up for immigrants
© Aida Chavez

100 Days into President Donald Trump’s presidency, America has witnessed a dramatic shift on many fronts.  It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, that Trump is filling the swamp with the same hate induced agenda that we witnessed during his campaign.  And as a result, we are now witnessing firsthand aggressive shifts in policies that impact America’s standing abroad with our allies and here at home.  Radical efforts to take away healthcare from millions of Americans with the now failed attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, to the also now blocked Executive Orders that would have proven disastrous for America by banning Muslims, refugees, and travelers from entering the country.  Ongoing is the challenge to resist the Trump administration’s policy and rhetorical attacks on immigrant communities around the country.  With its anti-immigrant agenda, the administration has set loose the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Customs Border Patrol (CBP) agents to target immigrant families through raids, detentions and deportation with no oversight or accountability, policies that are unacceptable and unaligned with the values that make our country successful.

So far under the Trump Administration, immigration detainers have increased by seventy-five percent compared to this time last year.  According to a recent report, ICE agents have arrested more than 20,000 immigrants between January and mid-March, with the largest number of detentions in Southeast Texas in the Houston area and throughout Texas, including Dallas; Atlanta, Georgia and the Carolinas.

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Raids on immigrant families are escalating. DACA students are targeted, mothers who have lived and worked in the United States for decades are now being ripped away from their American born children, immigrants with legal status are unlawfully detained, and we have received numerous reports of ICE detentions at schools, court rooms, medical facilities, places of worship and other public sensitive locations.

Our actions to free detained individuals at JFK airport upon their return to the U.S., our efforts to speak out against building a divisive wall between the U.S. and Mexican border, our protest in solidarity in streets across the nation to protect civil rights and our liberties all serve as a window to the work that lies ahead if we are to ensure our American values are upheld. 

It is no secret that the Trump administration is declaring war on immigrants. Even further, the policies now put forth should serve as a wakeup call of the critical work that remains in our efforts to join in unity and stand in resistance as we demonstrate our collective power, resilience and strength of immigrants throughout America.  Keeping families together is an American value and any agenda to tear families apart should be defied with the urgency of now.

Our resistance to the policies put forth by this administration is about America’s working families, immigrant families, Muslims, and all communities that have been targeted by the hateful rhetoric that has been unleashed since last year’s election. Our unity displays the power of progressive ally organizations, churches, community based organizations, labor unions, environmental and LGBTQ organizations and allies, all committed to defeating the aggressive agenda that President TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff urges GOP colleagues to share private concerns about Trump publicly US-China trade talks draw criticism for lack of women in pictures Overnight Defense: Trump to leave 200 troops in Syria | Trump, Kim plan one-on-one meeting | Pentagon asks DHS to justify moving funds for border wall MORE has put forth to attack immigrant families around the nation.

Having come here, respectively, with our own families at relatively young ages, we cannot help but to take these anti-immigrant policies very personally.  In thinking about our own family histories here in America and hearing stories of individuals coming here from many other countries with only pennies in their pockets and the American promise of freedom and opportunity for all, is enough to motivate our recommitment to challenge any efforts that would deny this opportunity for equity and fairness to anyone hoping to achieve the American dream for themselves or their families.

Today, we will recommit our efforts to show President Trump and his supporters that immigrant families are just like any other American family.  We work hard to provide for our families.  We take pride in our children and want to ensure they have access to good education, health care, and opportunities to achieve.  We abide by the law, pay our taxes, and contribute to the success of America.  From restaurant workers to business owners, from students to elected officials, immigrants realize the value of working hard and doing our part.

This is a critical time for our country and the Trump administration must do a better job than the reckless behavior and hazardous policies put into place these first 100 days in office.  We owe it to the American people, clear and unequivocally, to protect the liberties of freedom and opportunity that we hold dear as a nation. 

Join us today and every day to support comprehensive immigration reform and support minority and women owned small businesses as we take a stand and share your own story to support a vibrant and diverse future for America.

Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.) was born in the Dominican Republic and came to the United States with his family when he was nine years old.  He is the first Dominican-American to serve in Congress. Espaillat is a member of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, and the House Select Committee on Small Business. Kica Matos is the Director of Immigrant Rights and Racial Justice at the Center for Community Change. She served as Deputy Mayor in the city of New Haven, where she oversaw the city's community programs and launched new programs and initiatives including included prisoner re-entry, youth and immigration integration. Matos was previously the Executive Director of JUNTA, New Haven's oldest Latino advocacy organization. 


The views expressed by this author are their own and are not the views of The Hill.