Standing Up for Immigrants and Refugees


Yes, we can. That’s the message from dozens of people and organizations across the country. We can stand up to Trump’s racist and cruel anti-immigration policies. We can use imagination to find ways to resist and ways to speak out, as we work toward the defeat of this administration in 2020.

Minnesota’s Teacher of the Year joined the Kentucky Teacher of the Year in refusing to go to the White House ceremony because of Trump’s immigration policies:

“My frustrations with the current administration are the messages and actions and policies and words that are shared about the population of students that I work with,” said [Minnesota Teacher of the Year Kelly D.] Holstine, who teaches immigrant children.

“It impacts and it hurts them, and it hurts them both in their hearts and in the world because they then have to deal with the fallout of all of that discrimination,” she said. “I cannot implicitly support people who hate my kids and who talk about them in the ways they talk about them.”

Hennepin County Sheriff Dave Hutchinson campaigned on a promise of ending cooperation with ICE. He hasn’t done so yet, but says he is “still working on the legalities of doing so.”

Minneapolis has taken steps to support immigrants and refugees, including the recent move to implement  municipal IDs, as well as its long-standing separation ordinance and placing the list of rights in Spanish in the backs of squad cars.

Driver’s Licenses For All passed the Minnesota House, though its ultimate fate remains uncertain to be decided in conference committee negotiations on the transportation omnibus bill.

In Seattle, King County announced that it would try to ban flights carrying detained immigrants from King County International Airport. Now the three companies that are “fixed base operators” at the field have said they won’t service ICE flights, effectively ending all such flights.

Local court systems are pushing back against ICE efforts to arrest immigrants inside courthouses. Prosecutors in Massachusetts joined a suit to stop such arrests:

“Prosecutors in Massachusetts sued Monday to block federal authorities from making arrests at courthouses of people suspected of being in the country illegally, arguing the practice is making it harder for them to hold defendants accountable and get justice for victims.

“The top prosecutors for Suffolk County, which includes Boston, and Middlesex County say in the lawsuit joined by public defenders and others that some cases are grinding to a halt because witnesses, victims or defendants are too afraid to come to courts staked out by immigration agents.

New York state court administrators issued new regulations in mid-April, in an attempt to curtail ICE activities inside New York courthouses.

Across the country, local communities act to welcome and support immigrants and refugees. From Rochester, Minnesota:

“There are a lot of compassionate, well-intentioned people in this community, and many organizations — whether they are business or faith communities or nonprofits — are extremely involved in supporting new Americans,” he said. That overarching ethic infuses the community as a whole, Budimlic believes, making Rochester stand out as a place where migrants largely feel welcome.

“That welcoming impulse isn’t entirely altruistic, he adds. Supporting newcomers has had a positive economic impact on the region: “That openness has benefited both the community and the workforce here. I think our leaders, both city and county, have understood that and continue to be involved in creating opportunities that welcome people from around the world. Our economy benefits from that.”

From sanctuary congregations to welcoming communities to individuals opening their homes to migrants or traveling to the border to help in shelters, the examples of people across the country standing up for immigrants and refugees inspires hope and a renewed commitment to act—and to vote out this administration in 2020.


About Mary Turck

News Day, written by Mary Turck, analyzes, summarizes, links to, and comments on reports from news media around the world, with particular attention to immigration, education, and journalism. Fragments, also written by Mary Turck, has fiction, poetry and some creative non-fiction. Mary Turck edited TC Daily Planet,, from 2007-2014, and edited the award-winning Connection to the Americas and AMERICAS.ORG, in its pre-2008 version. She is also a recovering attorney and the author of many books for young people (and a few for adults), mostly focusing on historical and social issues.
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