Update: This was written AND scheduleD before the immigration ban executive order, the protests that followed, the Federal stay of the order, and all that . In light of this weekend’s events, this issue is even scarier than it was at first look. -YANA
Last week, the president signed a new executive order named “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States“. I live tweeted a reading of it, performing a cursory analysis from a layperson’s point of view. The order is broad, aggressive, and very, very scary.
My friends are afraid of being deported, and they’re right to be afraid.
My foreign friends are afraid of vising America for any reason, and they’re right, too.
A friend I’ll call Michael (most definitely not the real name) wrote me after my live tweeting, expressing his fears and feelings. With Michael’s permission, I share his words with you.
On January 25th President Trump issued an Executive Order called “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States”. This order seeks to rid the US of undocumented aliens, however, the way that it is written it is so broad in scope that it encompasses all immigrants who have not (for whatever reason) become US citizens.
I have lived in the United States for more than half of my adult life. It is where I consider home. It is where my wife, children, and dogs live also. I have a green card (permanent residence) but have never gotten citizenship.
In a dissection David Leopold (an immigration lawyer and former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association) writes on the Huffington Post that there is such broad scope in the Executive Order language that it could easily be used to deport someone simply convicted of a crime (no matter the crime), who have been charged with a crime (not even convicted), or who have broken a law (even with no charges filed). It even allows the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers to deport someone for no reason at all.
There is no gray area here. Anybody who is here on a visa waiver, who has a visa, or is a permanent resident is at risk for deportation, with no opportunity to get that decision overturned. Basically, if you are not a citizen then you effectively have no right to stay under this administration’s new rule.
What does that mean for me individually?
I’m a white male from a western European country. I am in the lowest risk group, but I have an immense level of fear that I could lose literally everything that matters to me by being summarily removed from the country with no recourse for appeal.
This goes further, right now I do not feel as if I could return to the country of my birth for fear of not being let back into the country, I do not feel as though I could take a vacation out of the country, not even a trip over the Canadian border to catch a game of hockey, or for a cruise to Alaska.
In the build up to the election I had a significant level of fear that should Trump win that a situation like this could come to pass. I have all the paperwork in hand to apply for citizenship. I will file that paperwork within the next week because I do not want to lose the life that I have worked hard for, and so that I can have a voice and a vote in the next round of elections in an effort to put this ugliness behind us and become a country that once more cares about people’s rights.
What you can do
This is YANA (Jen) again. I simply don’t know yet. I don’t know how to fight executive orders. I don’t yet know who to call.
I DO know that we’re going to have to fight hard for our rights to vote, to get these people out of power. We’re going to have to fight hard for marginalized groups – black and Hispanic and poor voters, primarily – for their right and their ability to vote. I’ll be talking more about that in the near future.
In the meantime, what do we do? I’m all ears.