Diaspora News

Immigrant rights activists call for stronger action amid assaults

WHILE another federal court has ruled as unconstitutional the “Muslim ban” imposed by the Trump administration on immigrants coming from Islamic countries, the development hardly compensate for a deluge of assaults against the rights of immigrants communities in the US.

Immigrant advocates told a national tele-conference for ethnic media that the country’s immigration appear to be leaning towards a previously obscure “nativist” ideology.

Sameera Hafiz. Image © opportunityagenda.org

One of the advocates, Sameera Hafiz, a lawyer from the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, pointed out that as US Senate was debating the future of the Deferment of Action on Childhood Arrival (DACA), “the reality is that any (proposed) DACA proposals go hand in hand with eliminating the diversity visa program, severely curtailing the family immigration program and expansive border enforcement measures – far beyond what we think about when we think about border security.”

Aside from this, Hafiz said the legislative debate only distracted the people to the other offenses that the Trump administration is doing to the Dreamers, their families and their supporters both in the public and private sectors.

Some 800,000 young people who were brought here in the US when they were children were adversely affected when Trump trashed the DACA program instituted by former President Barack Obama.

Angelica Salas Image © CHIRLA

Another advocate, Angelica Salas, director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), added that the Trump administration was working to mold the US legal immigration towards a direction that conform to the so-called “a white nationalist agenda (whereby) certain individuals are not qualified to come into the United States based on their country of birth and their religion.”

Our clients being deported from Los Angeles had been in the country more than 25 years. With the crippling of various legal channels like the Central American minors program, the separation of children from parents, the ending of diversity vistas,” Salas narrated.

Meanwhile, lawyer Zahra Billoo, executive director of the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), hailed the decision by the Fourth Circuit which joined a chorus of courts across the country who have said that the Muslim ban is unconstitutional.

Zahra Billoo. Image © CAIR

Billoo quoted a Georgetown University estimate that 60,000 people had been impacted in their efforts to get an education or see their families.

Billoo said that “what’s legal doesn’t always align with what’s moral,” citing the Japanese internment during World War II as among the events that the court ruled as legal even if they were unjust.

In a 9-4 vote, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, after examining statements made by Trump and other administration officials, as well as the presidential proclamation imposing the ban, ruled that the policy “second-guesses our nation’s dedication to religious freedom and tolerance.”

Last December, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals also found that Trump exceeded the scope of his authority with the latest ban.

The 4th Circuit court upheld a ruling by a federal judge in Maryland who issued an injunction barring enforcement of the ban against people from Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen who have bona fide relationships with people in the US.

The national telebriefing for ethnic media sponsored by Ready California, a collaborative cross-sector effort led by the Immigrant Legal Resource Center.

Abner Galino
The author is a poet and a writer. He was a cultural worker before he became a reporter for Tinig ng Masa and Malaya Midday Edition during the Marcos regime. He later became a reporter of People's Tonight shortly after 1986 EDSA Revolution. He went on to become its Chief of Reporters, City Editor and News Editor. He retired after 15 years in the Journal Group of Publications. He now writes for Weekend Balita and the US Asian Post (USAP), weekly Filipino-American newspapers based in Los Angeles, California.

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