Families are already being wrecked by Donald Trump's anti-immigrant agenda. A woman seeking domestic abuse protection was even detained by ICE agents, who may have been tipped off by her abuser. But immigration activists are fighting back, and they are asking the rest of us to step up.
Weeks into his time in office, Donald Trump has already begun to put his anti-immigrant agenda into action, from ordering up the wall on the Mexican border paid for by American taxpayers, to his unconstitutional Muslim ban, to a ramped-up deportation force conducting raids across the country.
While agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) insist that they are only targeting “criminals,” the reality is that many others are being caught up in these raids. As the Washington Post notes, Trump “substantially broadened the scope of who the Department of Homeland Security can target to include those with minor offenses or no convictions at all.”
That change in policy resulted in an especially egregious arrest in Texas, where an undocumented woman seeking a protective order against her abusive boyfriend was met at the El Paso County courthouse by ICE agents — who were possibly acting on a tip provided to them from her abuser.
“This is really unprecedented,” El Paso County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal told The Washington Post.
It was the first time in her 23 years at the courthouse, Bernal said, that she can remember ICE agents making their presence known during a protective order hearing.
The woman had a prior criminal record and had been previously deported, but, according to Bernal, had no current outstanding state warrants.
“It really was a stunning event,” Bernal said. “It has an incredible chilling effect for all undocumented victims of any crime in our community.”
Rachel Maddow detailed what is happening in these raids and “enforcement actions,” and the impact they are having on immigrant communities, noting that in less than one week, “more than 680 people have been rounded up in immigration raids, in at least 11 states,” and contrary to ICE’s assessments, “people in immigrant communities [are] saying they know what routine looks like, and this is not routine.”
But in a hopeful sign, and in another branch of the growing resistance, Maddow described a new network, launched by the immigration rights organization United We Dream, called #HereToStay, calling on allies to pledge to show up in person to protect immigrants from deportations.
Cristina Jiminez, a co-founder of United We Dream, joined Maddow to discuss the urgent need for this powerful new movement, and for others to commit to support immigrants on the ground and against Trump.
MADDOW: They launched this new network before midnight last Thursday, again it’s called Here to Stay. Tonight, United We Dream says more than 24,000 people have signed up as part of this network, pledging to bodily stand up for immigrants in their communities. Joining us now is Cristina Jiminez, she’s a community organizer and co-founder of United We Dream. Ms. Jiminez, thanks very much for being here, really appreciate your time tonight.
JIMINEZ: Thanks for having me, Rachel.
MADDOW: So, let me ask if I explained that right. It wasn’t a lengthy explanation, but that’s what I understand in terms of how you’re approaching this tactically and what this network is for. Did I basically get it right?
JIMINEZ: Yes, you got it. This is a network of allies, folks all across the country who are committing to join us in this moment to protect immigrants from deportation. What we are seeing right now is the direct result from Trump’s executive orders. This is Trump’s America, where no one is safe. If you are an immigrant, or if you look like an immigrant like myself, you’re at risk, and no one is safe.
MADDOW: What are you asking people to do? Are you asking for demonstrations, or for civil disobedience, or direct action? We’ve seen some very dramatic action earlier this week in Arizona — or late last week in Arizona, with people actually chaining themselves to the wheels of a van that was taking away one woman, whose case had become a real cause célèbre in the Phoenix area. What are you asking people to pledge to do?
JIMINEZ: What we’re asking people — and we’ve already seen it, Rachel — what we’re asking people is, when we know a family or someone in our community is in danger of being deported or ICE agents are around in your neighborhood: Show up. Show up to people’s homes. Provide sanctuary in your church. Show up when people have to show up to court or when they have to do an ICE check-in. So, for example, just today, Jeanette, who is an immigrant woman that was supposed to show up to an ICE check-in, actually took sanctuary in Colorado, and thousands of people showed up with her and have opened the church and are supporting her so that she doesn’t get deported. Similarly, Daniel, who is a DACA recipient actually, was detained by ICE on Friday. He is still in detention in Seattle, Washington. And we’ve had hundreds of people that already showed up and that have committed now to have an action, a rally outside of the detention center over the weekend as well.
So, we are already seeing this, and what we are seeing is that people are really eager and interested, because they are against what Trump is trying to do in our country. This is not what America is about, and people want to join us in stopping these deportations and saying we are here, to show up to ensure that immigrants are here to stay. And, you know, everybody watching right now, if you are against Trump and his agenda of hate and deporting people like me and my parents, this is a moment for you to show up. There’s no more time to be on the sidelines. And people can join the network by simply texting ‘Here to Stay’ to 877877, and you can join us in stopping deportations.
MADDOW: Cristina Jiminez, co-founder of United We Dream, which is starting up this Here to Stay campaign. Thanks for understanding — thanks for helping us to understand what you’re doing. Keep us apprised as to how this organizing effort goes. Please do.
JIMINEZ: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: Thanks a lot.
The raids and deportations are certain to continue, and likely to grow in scope and damage. Those of us who are safe from being targeted — by virtue of citizenship privilege, by our skin color, by our names — must put our allyship into direct action by keeping up the pressure on our elected officials, and by stepping up where and when immigrant communities need us.
Trump may be in the White House, but we can show his administration that the America they envision is not one we recognize, and not one we will sit idly by and allow to take hold.