What You Can Do About Immigration and Refugees

resistencia frazier

Photo by Joe Frazier, used under Creative Commons license https://www.flickr.com/photos/146781514@N05/ https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

I recently got an email from someone who had heard me give a presentation on immigration myths and realities. They wanted to know what they could do. Maybe someone reading this also wants to know what they can do about the relentlessly anti-immigrant actions of this administration. Here’s what I wrote in response:

Basically, I would identify three ways to get involved, and they are complementary, not separate.

First, stay informed. So much happens every week that it is difficult to keep up with the latest developments. Just in the past ten days, for example, we have seen several major events:

  • The Supreme Court overruled the Trump administration effort to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Instead of implementing the decision and allowing DACA applications and processing to resume, the administration threatened a second attempt to end DACA, and a spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security issued a statement basically defying the Supreme Court and saying that the court’s decision “has no basis in law.”
  • Trump issued a presidential proclamation extending current limits on legal, family-based immigration to December 31, and imposing new limits on temporary work visas for highly skilled workers (e.g., engineers, scientists), cultural exchanges, and intra-company transfers.
  • A federal judge ordered the release of at least 124 children now held in detention centers with their parents, saying that “The [family residential centers] are ‘on fire’ and there is no more time for half measures.”

One good way to stay informed is to follow the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota Facebook page, which links to the most important news items every day.

Second, take action. I recommend Ten Things You Can Do to Support Immigrants and Refugees, and also the Action Network page of the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota, which is regularly updated with specific action items.

Third, volunteer. Volunteering means getting involved with concrete actions to help individuals. Here are four places to look for volunteer opportunities:

  • Navigate/Unidos MN—contact at eam@navigatemn.org / 301.1459
  • CLUES—volunteer teaching/tutoring opportunities
  • Immigration Court Watch of the Advocates for Human Rights—this may be on hold until courts reopen. Even then, I expect that opportunities for public observation will be limited by COVID-19 restrictions, but this is a good opportunity to keep in mind for the more distant future.
  • Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota—various and changing volunteer opportunities posted on this page.

(All of these organizations could also use financial contributions, if you have more money than time/ability to volunteer.)

Hope this is useful to someone!

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, www.tcdailyplanet.net, 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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