Oregon activists react to Trump's executive orders
Opponents of President Trump's executive orders concerning immigrants and refugees plan to rally at the Oregon State Capitol on Wednesday.
"We will demand that the Governor and the State Legislature take immediate actions to defend and protect immigrants and refugees in Oregon," said rally organizers from Voz Hispana, an immigrants rights organization. "Oregon will not become a cog in the Trump deportation machine."
Last Friday, President Trump suspended the U.S. refugee program for 120 days, banned all immigrants from seven Muslim countries — Syria, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, and Libya — for 90 days, and ordered his administration to develop "extreme vetting" measures for immigrants from those countries to keep "radical Islamic terrorists" out of the United States, as reported by USA Today.
A protest against the orders was held at the Portland International Airport Sunday.
Steve and Cindy Spinnett went with signs reading, "Thank you, President Trump."
"We wanted to be an encouragement to President Trump for keeping his promises to the American people," Steve said.
At first, Steve said he and his wife ran into resistance from some protesters, but as they spoke to them, they found common ground.
"We told them they were sincere and we're glad to see them out there expressing their beliefs," he said. "We then warmed up to each other. We agreed that loving one another was more important than our disagreements politically."
Doug and Anya Holcomb, founders of Salem for Refugees, said they are going to continue to provide services for locals impacted by the actions.
"In the coming days, our focus will be on caring for the refugees who are already in Salem, advocating for the 65.3 million people across the globe who have been forced to flee their homes, educating our community about the global refugee crisis, and preparing our city to welcome the refugees who will be coming when resettlement begins again," the two activists said in a statement.
According to the Oregon Department of Human Services, more than 64,000 refugees have resettled in Oregon since 1975. Most of these refugees initially settle in the greater Portland metro area.
Currently, the most common refugee groups arriving in Oregon are from, Cuba, Burma, Bhutan, Iran, Iraq, and Somalia.
As for immigrants, Oregon is home to more than 391,000 immigrants, making about 10 percent of all Oregonians "foreign-born."
More than 11 million immigrants are estimated to be living in the United States illegally, according to the PEW Research Center and Migration Policy Institute.
By comparison, in 2014, around 47 percent, or 20 million, of all U.S. immigrants were naturalized U.S. citizens. The remaining 53 percent, or 22.4 million, included lawful permanent residents, unauthorized immigrants, and legal residents on temporary visas, such as students and temporary workers.
Jim Ludwick, communications director for Oregonians for Immigration Reform, said the organization saw the president's actions as a hopeful sign of Trump keeping his promises.
"We were hopeful that President Trump will come out and build the wall, and we think he will," he said.
Oregonians for Immigration Reform, Ludwick said, is not against all immigration; rather, it is in favor of stricter background checks and a lower volume of people brought in each year.
"We need to make sure the people who come in are the people they say they are," he said.
Aside from violent attacks, he said the country isn't able to sustain much more than 230,000 legal immigrants a year.
"We aren't able to sustain (the number of people now), environmentally, socially, financially or politically," he said.
He said multiple U.S. Presidents in the past, including Carter and Clinton, placed travel and immigration bans on certain areas.
"This is not a new thing — there are just new players," he said.
Rally at the Capitol
Voz Hispana, an immigrants rights organization, is a hosting rally on the front steps of the Oregon State Capitol.
• Where: Oregon State Capitol, 900 Court St NE
• When: Wednesday, Feb. 1 at 1 p.m.
"Welcoming Our New Neighbors" meeting
The “Welcoming Our New Neighbors” meetings discuss ways to assist incoming refugees in the Salem area. The events are organized by Catholic Charities, Salem for Refugees and the Salem Leadership Foundation, among others.
• Where: Salem Alliance Church, 555 Gaines St NE
• When: Monday, Feb. 6 at 12 p.m.
Event at Willamette Heritage Center
Toc Soneoulay-Gillespie, director of Refugee Resettlement for Catholic Charities of Oregon, will discuss both the state and national refugee programs and their challenges in 2017.
She will be joined by Doug and Anya Holcomb, co-directors of Salem for Refugees, and a representative of the refugee population, to explain the Salem-area program to members of the Salem City Club and the public on Feb. 3.
• Where: Willamette Heritage Center, 1313 Mill St SE
• When: Friday, Feb. 3 at 11:30 a.m.
• Cost: $15 per person