Pro-im­mi­grant ac­tivists to re­sist Trump poli­cies Many fear loom­ing crack­down

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY STEPHEN DINAN

Im­mi­grant rights ac­tivists vowed Wed­nes­day to re­sist Pres­i­dent-elect Donald Trump, la­beled the fed­eral im­mi­gra­tion sys­tem racist and called on lo­cal­i­ties across the na­tion to adopt “sanc­tu­ary” poli­cies and refuse to co­op­er­ate with agents try­ing to de­port il­le­gal im­mi­grants.

Some groups said they’ll make the best use of the next two months to try to shield as many il­le­gal im­mi­grants as pos­si­ble, but said real “ter­ror” is spreading through­out their com­mu­ni­ties over the loom­ing change from Pres­i­dent Obama’s le­nient poli­cies to Mr. Trump’s prom­ise of a crack­down.

Per­haps more than any other com­mu­nity, His­panic and im­mi­grant lead­ers took Mr. Trump’s vic­tory hard, say­ing they were sin­gled out as tar­gets in the Repub­li­can’s “racist” cam­paign rhetoric.

Now, rather than ad­vanc­ing their agenda under the ban­ner of Hil­lary Clin­ton, they’re pre­par­ing for a bruis­ing strug­gle just to de­fend the gains they made under Pres­i­dent Obama, who dur­ing his ten­ure halted de­por­ta­tions for most of the 12 mil­lion il­le­gal im­mi­grants in the U.S. and granted ten­ta­tive le­gal sta­tus to more than 700,000 so­called Dream­ers.

“Im­mi­grants are declar­ing a state of ur­gency and re­silience. Over the com­ing weeks our fam­i­lies and com­mu­nity members will need to tap into the in­cred­i­ble strength that brought us to this coun­try and which we use to sur­vive,” said Cristina Jimenez, co-founder of United We Dream, an ad­vo­cacy group.

Af­ter vow­ing to turn out Hispanics in huge num­bers to de­feat Mr. Trump, ad­vo­cates were left Wed­nes­day morn­ing won­der­ing what went wrong and ques­tion­ing the value of exit polling that ac­tu­ally showed Mr. Trump im­prov­ing in terms of His­panic vot­ers over Mitt Rom­ney four years ago, win­ning nearly 3 in 10.

Some ad­vo­cates dis­puted the exit polls, say­ing ded­i­cated sur­veys of Lati­nos found Mr. Trump win­ning less than 1 in 5, and say­ing that turnout was up in many His­panic-dom­i­nated re­gions.

Still, Hispanics did not prove to be the bul­wark Demo­cratic nom­i­nee Hil­lary Clin­ton had hoped for, dent­ing the com­mu­nity’s claims that it’s the most im­por­tant de­mo­graphic in elec­tions.

Mr. Trump will be chal­lenged to de­liver on many of his im­mi­gra­tion pol­icy prom­ises.

Asked about build­ing Mr. Trump’s bor­der wall, Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell de­murred Wed­nes­day, com­mit­ting only to en­hanc­ing bor­der se­cu­rity in gen­eral.

Mex­ico, which Mr. Trump has said will end up pay­ing for the wall in one way or an­other, sig­naled it still has no in­ten­tion of be­ing forced to pony up.

Tripling the num­ber of de­por­ta­tion agents, mean­while, will cost money that Congress will have to find in an al­ready tight bud­get.

But Mr. Trump could quickly can­cel some of Mr. Obama’s le­nient poli­cies on il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion and could re­store pro­grams that en­cour­age state and lo­cal po­lice to co­op­er­ate on im­mi­gra­tion en­force­ment. He could also with­hold fed­eral grant money from sanc­tu­ary cities — a move that would likely force a num­ber of places with ex­ist­ing poli­cies to re­think, and could stop fu­ture cities from adopt­ing new poli­cies.

For now some lo­cal­i­ties were still talk­ing tough, with Seat­tle’s mayor vow­ing in the wake of the elec­tion to main­tain that city’s sanc­tu­ary pol­icy, which pro­hibits re­port­ing il­le­gal im­mi­grants to fed­eral au­thor­i­ties.

Im­mi­grant rights ac­tivists had been hop­ing for dif­fer­ent news out of the elec­tion, in which Mrs. Clin­ton had promised not only to main­tain Mr. Obama’s ap­proach but to ex­pand his de­por­ta­tion amnesty to mil­lions more peo­ple and to grant tax­payer-funded lawyers to many of those fac­ing de­por­ta­tion.

The switch from hope to fear was dev­as­tat­ing.

“To­day we face the tough re­al­ity that Donald Trump will be the next pres­i­dent of the United States, and mil­lions of im­mi­grants, Mus­lims, women and members of the LGBTQ com­mu­nity are scared of what the next four years will look like for our coun­try and how this will af­fect them and their fam­i­lies,” said Ce­sar J. Blanco, head of the Latino Vic­tory Fund.

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