During January and February, Equal Voice Action Executive Director Henry A. J. Ramos visited EVA members, partners, and allies for immigration policy-focused exchanges in Phoenix and Yuma, AZ, and Los Angeles, CA. Talks with leaders and activists in these locations echoed field observations and concerns shared by advocates late last year during allied EVA field visits to Albuquerque, NM and El Paso, Harlingen, and McAllen, TX.
In all these places, large immigrant communities have been increasingly under duress owing to Trump Administration policies focused on identifying and repatriating millions of undocumented individuals in the region. Ostensibly, allied Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids that have been recently deployed in these communities are designed to apprehend and expel violent criminals, but, as highlighted in a recent EVA opinion piece in the Huffington Post, fully one-quarter of those apprehended in the most recent raids were not persons convicted of any crime.
Indeed, immigrant and refugee law advocates across the Southwest are experiencing heightened concern among affected immigrant individuals and families because the new administration’s recent framing of its immigration policy effectively subjects to deportation as many as 8 million of the current estimated more than 11 million undocumented individuals presently residing in the U.S.
On Tuesday, February 14, EVA hosted a well-subscribed virtual discussion on Immigrant and Refugee Rights in the Trump Era involving many of the nation’s leading immigrant and refugee rights advocates. The exchange surfaced growing need for these advocates and other social justice leaders to join forces on the levels of strategic response, community education and mobilization, and public communications.
EVA will continue to organize and report on these important issues in the weeks and months to come. As we further examine the landscape, we invite related commentaries and articles by our members, friends, and allies. Please send us your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will periodically share your ideas and suggestions with our larger network.