Immigrants and refugees are facing some ugly battles on both the state and federal level. The newest round of executive orders from Donald Trump shows a continued interest in anti-immigrant policies, while state policymakers seem intent to likewise press xenophobic policies.
This has culminated in multiple protests from immigrants, their families and supporters. Most recently a group gathered outside the ICE office in Atlanta, posting to the event:
“We all recognize that we must stand together and reject this agenda in all its forms. From the immigration ban that isolates communities to the broken window policies that hunt down peaceful community members, Georgians recognize the broad policies that make up this harmful agenda and will work to oppose them.”
Nationally, Donald Trump revised executive orders “temporarily” suspending the U.S. refugee program and banning entry to the U.S. by anyone from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen (Iraq has been given a bit of a break). The original version was thrown out by courts, and his administration is hoping the more palatable language will help them survive a new round of challenges in court.
Regardless of the “improved” language, the discriminatory intent stays the same: this is a Muslim ban, part of a disturbing, xenophobic agenda.
And so the impact of the anti-refugee, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant executive order is much the same. Refugee agencies have seen their budgets cut and are struggling to support their existing clients. Families wonder if it will be possible for international trips to attend weddings and visit grandchildren.
At the state level, two different anti-immigrant measures — creating branded, “scarlet letter” driver’s licenses — have been successfully stalled, but two more measures remain active.
Rep. Earl Ehrhart, who is pushing a disturbing measure to silence rape and sexual assault survivors on college campuses, is behind another measure to make college campuses less safe for undocumented students. This bill penalizes private colleges that choose the completely legal option of supporting undocumented students. It has already passed out of the House and has a hearing in the Senate on Monday afternoon.
The other measure causing trouble for immigrants is a bill to create a registry of undocumented immigrants that go through the criminal justice system. Unsurprisingly, there is a false narrative of threat being promoted by supporters and a blindness to the real danger this creates for immigrants.
Only last month, a U.S. citizen was swept up in the most recent round of raids by ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement). Elizabeth Hernandez-Carrillo, a Lilburn resident and daughter of a U.S. Marine, spent a month in an immigrant detention facility, separated from her family.
This all does not bode well. It’s clear that immigrants and refugees in this country are going to continue to be targeted by anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, anti-refugee, anti-“other” policies on both the federal and state level.