deferred action

Trump reverses promise to "immediately terminate" Obama's executive amnesty

Despite his pledge to #forgottenAmericans, @realDonaldTrump has issued more than 100,000 work permits to foreign workers in U.S. illegally.

Last night, his administration expressed its intention to issue more.

Three days ago, acting ICE director, Thomas D. Homan told the House Appropriations committee that regarding enforcement, "no population is off the table" and deportation orders would no longer be ignored. "I don't know where else in the American justice system any other agency is told to ignore a judge's ruling," he said.

Last night, however, DHS announced that it will continue to honor President Obama's 2012 executive amnesty (DACA), saying that "DACA recipients will continue to be eligible" for the program and "No work permits will be terminated prior to their current expiration dates."

"Trump Will Allow 'Dreamers' to Stay in U.S., Reversing Campaign Promise" - New York Times
"Trump won't alter status of current Dreamers" - Politico

In a speech last August @realDonaldTrump pledged to "immediately terminate President Obama's two illegal executive amnesties": DACA and DAPA.

Instead of ending DACA, DHS announced that it was officially rescinding Obama's 2014 executive amnesty (DAPA), which had never been enacted.

"Trump scraps Obama-era program protecting undocumented parents" - McClatchy

Meanwhile, the Trump administration continues to implement the active executive amnesty. Last month, Trump's nominee to lead U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services told Congress he expected the Trump administration to continue to issue work permits through DACA:

"I'm aware that both the president and Secretary Kelly have stated publicly and reiterated that the DACA program is to remain in place...

"...If confirmed, I would see my role to administer that program well, as it stands."

In his inauguration speech, @realDonaldTrump pledged that "Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families."

Two of every 5 Millennials of all ethnicities under age 30 with no college degree have no job of any kind. But Trump and Obama's DACA program grants work permits to people in the U.S. illegally who came to the U.S. before age 16 and were born after June 14, 1981.

Politico reports:

"One prominent Democrat said he'd extracted a promise not to alter the current protections for so-called Dreamers.

"'I'm grateful that President Trump has decided to keep the DACA program in place,' Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois said on the Senate floor Thursday. 'Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Nominee Francis Cissna have promised me personally and publicly that they will maintain the existing guidelines for the DACA program. I appreciate the commitment and intend to hold them to it.'

"Since Trump took office, renewal of expiring DACA permits appears to have continued as normal. More than 17,000 new approvals took place between January and March and more than 107,000 existing DACA recipients had their work permits renewed for an additional two years."

Trump scraps Obama policy that protected immigrant parents from deportation

An Obama-era immigration program intended to protect parents of U.S. citizens and legal residents from deportation has been formally cancelled, fulfilling a key campaign promise from President Trump, the Homeland Security Department announced late Thursday.

Homeland Security John Kelly formally revoked a policy memo that created the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans program...

The program to protect parents was announced by President Obama in November 2014 but was never fully launched because it was blocked by a federal court, according to Reuters.

It was intended to keep the immigrant parents safe from deportation and provide them with a renewable work permit good for two years, but it was blocked by a federal judge in Texas...

Republicans decried the effort as “backdoor amnesty” and argued that Obama overstepped his authority...

The protection program for parents, like the one for young immigrants, was created with a policy memo during the Obama administration...

Revoking the memo and ending the stalled program fulfill a key campaign promise by Trump....

...As of March 31, about 787,000 young immigrants have been approved for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, according to government data.

Arrests of immigrants in the interior of the country have increased under the Trump administration, but deportations are slightly down as fewer people have been caught crossing the Mexican border into the United States illegally.

Trump has made immigration enforcement a top priority and has vowed to continue a crackdown...

Reuters reported that Trump previously said that his administration was considering different options.

“They shouldn’t be very worried,” Trump told ABC News in January, referring to DACA recipients. “I do have a big heart. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Next OFIR meeting - Saturday, June 24 at 2:00pm

Alert date: 
2017-06-15
Alert body: 

Mark your calendar and invite a friend to join you Saturday, June 24th at 2:00pm for OFIR's next meeting at the Best Western Mill Creek Inn, across from Costco in Salem, OR.

Things are heating up in the Oregon Legislature as time is running short and so many things are yet unresolved.  OFIR has invited Representatives Greg Barreto and Mike Nearman to join us.  Your questions are welcome and encouraged as time allows!

Initiative Petition #22  - to overturn Oregon's Sanctuary Statute ORS 181A.820 is now in the hands of the Attorney General, awaiting a ballot title.  Perhaps by meeting day, we will have a ballot title.

OFIR has been closely monitoring HB 3464 and it's particularly troubling legislation.  Read the press release.  The bill has now advanced to the House Floor and OFIR members are encouraged to phone or email their Representatives and encourage them to vote no on this terrible bill.

As usual, our agenda is packed with the most up-to-date information regarding recent immigration issues here in Oregon and across the country.

 


 

No apologies: ICE chief says illegal immigrants should live in fear of deportation

Illegal immigrants should be living in fear of being deported, the chief of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Tuesday, pushing back against a growing sentiment among Democrats on Capitol Hill and activists across the country who have complained about agents enforcing the laws on the books.

Thomas D. Homan, acting director at ICE, said anyone in the country without authorization can be arrested and those who have been ordered deported by judges must be removed if laws are to have meaning.
 
His comments marked a major shift for an agency that President Obama forbade from enforcing the law when it came to more than 9 million of the country's estimated 11 million illegal immigrants. Unshackled from Mr. Obama's strictures, agents have dramatically increased the number of arrests.
Advocacy groups are enraged and demand leniency for traumatized immigrants.
 
Mr. Homan makes no apologies.  "If you're in this country illegally and you committed a crime by being in this country, you should be uncomfortable, you should look over your shoulder. You need to be worried,  Mr. Homan testified to the House Appropriations Committee. No population is off the table."
 
The Trump administration is asking for significant boosts in spending for both border and interior enforcement, but it is meeting resistance from Democrats who oppose a crackdown.  Democrats will not accept a penny of funding for a new deportation force or a border wall,” said Rep. Nita M. Lowey of New York, the ranking Democrat on the committee.
 
Border Patrol acting Chief Carla Provost defended the 74 miles of fencing that President Trump wants to erect next year, saying the wall will plug holes where illegal activity is still a problem in San Diego and parts of Texas.
 
She said the southwestern border is at medium risk of penetration and needs the wall to assist. She said construction on the 74 miles would start in either March or April.
 
Mr. Homan, meanwhile, said he needs a major infusion of detention beds to hold the larger population of illegal immigrants, now that his agents have been unshackled from the restrictions under Mr. Obama.
 
He said the number of countries refusing to take back their deportees has been cut in half, while the number of jurisdictions looking to have their police and sheriff's deputies trained to process illegal immigrants in their jails has nearly doubled and will likely triple by the end of the year.
 
In addition, some 400,000 illegal immigrants ordered removed by judges but who were ignored under the Obama administration are now back on the list of priorities.
 
All of that means more illegal immigrants to be detained in preparation for deportation.
 
Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, Maryland Democrat, told Mr. Homan not to try deporting drunken drivers.  DWI or traffic is not really considered to be the type of people that are hurting our country,  he said.
Mr. Homan, though, said drunken driving sounds like a public safety risk.  "They should be removed," he said.
 
Mr. Homan said anyone in the country without authorization is a target for enforcement.  "We shouldn't wait for them to become a criminal," he said.
 
That angered immigrant rights advocates, who said it showed antipathy toward illegal immigrants.
 
"Wow. How revealing," said Frank Sharry, executive director at America's Voice. "Homan makes it clear that the ICE strategy is to indiscriminately target the entire undocumented population in America and to intentionally spread fear throughout millions of deeply rooted families."  He called Mr. Homan's testimony extremist.
 
Mr. Homan pushed back against such criticism. He said his agents are enforcing the laws as written and no other branch of law enforcement faces the abusive questions his employees do.
 
He said the illegal immigrants deserve the blame for separating families. When a U.S. citizen commits a crime and goes to jail, he said, the police who catch him aren't blamed for keeping him from his family.
 
Mr. Homan said the increased risk of enforcement is part of the reason illegal immigration across the southwestern border is at its lowest level in decades.
Democrats, though, said his officers need to show more discretion.
 
Ms. Lowey raised the case of a 19-year-old man in New York who was arrested on the day of his high school prom, which she said sent the wrong signal.
She said the man had kept out of trouble and was arrested while waiting at a bus stop for school.
 
Mr. Homen defended the arrest as valid. He said the young man committed a crime when he sneaked across the border and ignored an immigration judge's order to be removed.
 
"He lost his case, and because we don't like the results of that case we forget about it?'   Mr. Homan asked Ms. Lowey.  "I don't know where else in the American justice system any other agency is told to ignore a judge's ruling."

OFIR to host CIS policy director on heels of hate group designation

Oregonians for Immigration Reform, an organization that calls for an end to illegal immigration, will host the Center for Immigration Studies policy director in its general membership meeting this Saturday.

Jessica Vaughan will discuss sanctuary policies that are being developed in the face of President Donald Trump's immigration orders, and the implications of those orders, which has included targeted deportations of undocumented immigrants in Oregon.

Vaughan's speaking engagement comes a little over a month after the Southern Poverty Law Center designated the Center for Immigration Studies as a hate group, specifically labeling it as anti-immigrant. The law center said the group was dubbed a hate group because it shares content by "white nationalists, Holocaust deniers and material from explicitly racist websites."

Cynthia Kendoll, president of OFIR, said the designation by the Southern Poverty Law Center "means nothing to me. I think that any time a group is being successful and is making good points and providing education, they’re designated as a hate group.

"I think SPLC has gone off the rails."

Kendoll, who met Vaughan while attending a tour of the United States-Mexico border as part of the El Paso National Sheriff's Border School, said the hate group designation proves CIS is doing useful work and should be considered a "badge of honor."

Some local civil rights organizations, however, said Vaughan's attendance merely adds fuel to the testy political climate in Oregon.

"It's particularly troubling because we see a rise in hate crimes here in Oregon with the hateful rhetoric that they and Trump have publicly stated," said Andrea Williams, executive director of immigrant rights organization Causa Oregon.

Kendoll said OFIR is commonly referred to as an anti-immigrant group as well, but said that moniker doesn't describe the organization's values and objectives.

Instead, Kendoll said, OFIR is concerned about the consequences of legal and illegal immigration. OFIR's focus has shifted from its initial focus of "unfettered, unchecked" immigration and its impact on issues like traffic, urban sprawl and water usage, and expanded its scope to include impacts on issues like crime, school overcrowding and use of entitlement programs.

She said OFIR is nonpartisan its goal to explore immigration's impacts, and it invites speakers of different backgrounds to speak at membership meetings.

"We're not policy setters. All we're doing is simply giving people the opportunity to learn about what's going on," Kendoll said.

One of OFIR's more high-profile guests, Kendoll said, was former sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, Joe Arpaio.

Arpaio was the keynote speaker at a rally on the Oregon State Capitol steps in 2015 and discussed immigration, gun laws and crime policy. He was accused of violating Latino civil rights in a racial-profiling lawsuit in 2013 for pulling over Latinos over suspicion of being undocumented. The Department of Justice subsequently filed a criminal contempt of court charge against Arpaio for continuing to detain suspected undocumented immigrants without probable cause.

Williams said OFIR's history of giving people like Arpaio and Vaughan a platform invites the community to spread negativity amongst its undocumented immigrant neighbors.

But Kendoll said Vaughan's visit is merely showcasing her decades-long work examining the impact of immigration in the United States.

If you go

Who: Jessica Vaughan, Director of Policy Studies at the Center for Immigration Studies

What: Oregonians for Immigration Reform's General Membership meeting

When: Saturday, April 8, 2017 at 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: Best Western Mill Creek Inn at 3125 Ryan Drive SE, Salem

The event is free. Guests will be asked to sign in upon arriving.

More than 80 arrested in Pacific Northwest ICE operation targeting criminal aliens, illegal re-entrants, immigration fugitives

SEATTLE – A previously deported Mexican national charged with child rape, who was recently released by local authorities despite an immigration detainer, is among the 84 foreign nationals arrested during a three-day operation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Alaska, Oregon and Washington targeting at-large criminal aliens, illegal re-entrants and immigration fugitives.

Of those arrested during the enforcement action, which ended Monday, 60 had criminal histories, including prior convictions for sex crimes, drug offenses and domestic violence. In addition to the pending child rape charge, the Mexican national referenced above had prior convictions for assault, domestic violence, and immoral communications with a minor. Others taken into custody during the operation included:

·         A Russian national felon arrested in Portland whose criminal record includes a prior conviction for possession of methamphetamine; and

·         A previously deported Mexican national with pr­­ior convictions for domestic violence and assault.

CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS*

Driving under the influence

19

Weapon offense

1

Assault

7

Stolen property

1

Larceny

4

Dangerous drugs

1

Domestic violence

3

Lewd or lascivious acts with minor

1

Sex Assault

2

Damage property

1

Larceny from building

2

Drug trafficking

1

Cocaine possession

2

Sex assault carnal abuse

1

Possession of weapon

2

Marijuana possession

1

Amphetamine possession

2

Illegal entry

1

Fraud

1

Traffic offense other

1

Violation of a court order

1

Cocaine sell

1

Heroin possession

1

Meth possession

1

Indecent liberty with a minor

1

Forgery

1

*Note: criminal aliens with multiple prior convictions are categorized based on their most serious conviction.

 

The operation, conducted by ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), targeted criminal aliens who pose a public safety threat and individuals who have violated our nation’s immigration laws, including those who re-entered the country after being deported and immigration fugitives ordered deported by federal immigration judges.

Some of the individuals arrested during the enforcement action will be presented for federal prosecution for re-entry after deportation, a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Those not being criminally prosecuted will be processed for removal from the country. Individuals who have outstanding orders of deportation, or who returned to the United States illegally after being deported, are subject to immediate removal from the country.

“This operation highlights our commitment to promoting public safety through the pursuit of targeted criminals residing in the U.S. illegally,” said Bryan Wilcox, acting field office director for Seattle ERO. “Our officers will continue in their efforts to create safer communities by identifying and removing those not willing to comply with U.S. laws.”

Last week’s arrestees (77 men and 7 women) included nationals from 12 countries – Mexico (64); Guatemala (8); Honduras (2); El Salvador (1); United Kingdom (1); Cambodia (1); Brazil (1); Laos (1); Philippines (2); Western Samoa (1); Myanmar (1); and Russia (1).

King County accounted for the largest number of arrests during the operation, but ERO personnel conducted enforcement actions in a total of 20 communities.

COUNTY ARREST TOTALS

King

19

Lincoln

3

Washington

13

Thurston

2

Snohomish

9

Grant

2

Multnomah

7

Whatcom

2

Lane

4

Chelan

2

Anchorage

4

Mason

1

Adams

3

Clatsop

1

Benton

3

Umatilla

1

Cowlitz

3

Wasco

1

Clark

3

Deschutes

1

 

ICE deportation officers carry out targeted enforcement operations every day in locations around the country as part of the agency’s ongoing efforts to protect the nation, uphold public safety, and protect the integrity of our immigration laws and border controls. These operations involve existing, established Fugitive Operations Teams

During such enforcement operations ICE officers frequently encounter additional suspects who may be in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws. Those persons will be evaluated on a case by case basis and, when appropriate, arrested by ICE.

# ICE #

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security.
ICE is a 21st century law enforcement agency with broad responsibilities for a number of key homeland security priorities.

For more information, visit: www.ICE.gov.  To report suspicious activity, call 1-866-347-2423.

Rights groups say Portland area 'Dreamer' picked up by ICE

Rodriguez Dominguez, 25, is connected to Portland and Gresham. He was reportedly taken from his Portland home Sunday morning after entering DUI diversion program last December.


A coalition of civil rights groups is accusing U.S. Immigrations and Custom Enforcement of arresting a 25-year-old immigrant in the Portland area early Sunday.

The Portland Tribune could not immedialtey confirm the claim with ICE.

According to a Sunday afternoon press release, Rodriguez Dominguez, 25, was arrested by ICE agents at his home in Southeast Portland. The release says Dominguez has been been part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program since 2013. They are known as "Dreamers."

The release was issued by the ACLU of Oregon, CAUSA, and the Latino Network. It says Dominguez entered a diversion program for Driving Under the Influence in December and quickly completed most of its requirments.

In December 2016, Francisco entered into a DUI diversion program. He quickly completed nearly all of the requirements of this program, attended all his court dates and required meetings.

"Despite Francisco's best efforts to make good on his mistake, ICE has taken the position that even a misdemeanor DUI eligible for diversion is enough to end DACA status. This policy is tearing apart his family, our communities, and does nothing to keep us safer." Andrea Williams, executive director of Causa Oregon, an Oregon immigrant rights organization, said in the release.

"His family said it was terrifying and they didn't know what to do. ICE agents were banging on the door. They didn't have a warrant, and were told they couldn't come in, but they wouldn't stop banging on the door," Stephen Manning, a local immigration lawyer who talked with the family, said in the release.

According to the release, Dominguez arrived in the United States at the age of five from Morelia Michoacan, Mexico. He has lived in the Portland metro area since then and attended Glenfair Elementary School, H.B. Lee Middle School, Reynolds High School, and Mt. Hood Community College to study information technology.

The release says Dominguez works for Latino Network, a community organization, where he coordinates a food pantry for low income families at Reynolds Middle School in partnership with the Oregon Food Bank and Multnomah County SUN Community Schools initiative. He also coaches a soccer team at Glenfair Elementary.

"Everyone loves Francisco. I don't know how we will tell the kids, families, and school staff he works with about this. They are going to be heartbroken to hear he has been taken away," the release quotes Carmen Rubio from the Latino Network as saying.

"We were shocked to learn that Francisco had been picked up this morning. A judge had already determined that he wasn't a danger to the community or a flight risk. So, why is ICE showing up at his house early on Sunday morning? These kind of brutal tactics do not keep us safe. It just makes people scared to live their lives and pushes immigrant communities further into the shadows." ACLU Legal Director Mat dos Santos said in the release.

To read a previous Portland Tribune story on the issue, visit portlandtribune.com/pt/9-news/350750-229960-ice-in-the-city.

 

 


 

Guest Speaker Jessica Vaughn at OFIR meeting Saturday, April 8

Alert date: 
2017-04-01
Alert body: 
SAVE THE DATE for OFIR's next General Membership meeting - Saturday, April 8 from 2 - 4 pm..
 
We are very fortunate to have as our special guest speaker, Jessica Vaughan, Director of Policy Studies at the Center for Immigration Studies.  She specializes in issues related to immigration law enforcement.
 
Ms. Vaughn recently testified before the House immigration subcommittee on the state of immigration law enforcement and actions needed to restore the integrity of our immigration laws. Lack of enforcement has imposed enormous costs on American communities, including compromised national security, public safety threats, lost job opportunities, stagnant wages, and higher tax bills due to an increased demand for social services.  Read her full statement here.
 
Some of her recent reports are: ICE Deportations Hit 10-Year Low, Tackling Sanctuaries, Immigration 'Law and Order' Starts at State Department. Jessica is a frequent guest on many news programs, so you might already be familiar with her work.
 
See her biography here.
 
The OFIR meeting will be held at the Best Western Mill Creek Inn in Salem, 3125 Ryan Dr SE, just west of I-5 Exit 253, across from Costco.  
Time: 2 p.m., Saturday, April 8, 2017.
 
Driving directions to Best Western Mill Creek Inn: 
 
From I-5, take exit 253, which is the intersection of I-5 and State roads 22 and Business 99E. Go West on 22 (Mission St.) a short distance to Hawthorne Ave. (Costco will be on your right), Turn R on Hawthorne Ave. to the first left, which is Ryan Drive. Turn left on Ryan Drive, by Denny’s Restaurant, and proceed to Mill Creek Inn just beyond.
 
Everyone is welcome, there is no admission charge and there is plenty of free parking!

Forest Grove won't be a sanctuary city for undocumented immigrants

The mayor thought declaring Forest Grove a "sanctuary city" would be a no-brainer.

About a quarter of the Washington County city's 21,000 residents are Latino...

"They play a significant role in the culture of this community," Truax said.

But Monday night, in a tie vote that has divided the community, the council decided it wouldn't be a sanctuary city....

Councilors said they worried the term is too polarizing. President Donald Trump has vowed to withhold federal funding from sanctuary cities...

Sanctuary cities have been around since the 1980s and use a variety of tactics to shield undocumented immigrants. Some prevent local law enforcement officers from asking about the immigration status of residents. Others refuse to hold suspected undocumented immigrants past their scheduled release dates.

After Trump won the presidency in November, dozens of officials across the country voted to declare sanctuary.

Oregon is, by practice, a sanctuary state. A state law prevents local police officers from inquiring about anyone's immigration status if they have not committed a crime. Still, some Oregon cities and counties have passed symbolic resolutions...

Last year, then Mayor-elect Ted Wheeler said Portland will remain a sanctuary city under his tenure. In December, Corvallis declared itself a sanctuary city. And Beaverton's council unanimously passed a sanctuary city resolution...

Washington County activists want others to follow suit. In January, a crowd rallied outside a Hillsboro City Council meeting to demand that city declare sanctuary....

"I think it would have given all of our residents the opportunity to know Forest Grove is an open and accepting community that honors diversity," Truax said.

The mayor drafted a resolution defining "sanctuary city" as one that is safe for residents, regardless of their immigration status, one that ensures undocumented immigrants can call police or fire crews for help without fear of being deported.

About 150 people packed a Jan. 9 public hearing. Six people opposed the resolution. Thirty-four people supported the idea. Most said they wanted the city to use the word "sanctuary" in its resolution.

"When cities declare that they're sanctuaries, those people know for a fact that they are welcome there, that they won't be torn away from their families...

Since then, 53 more people have sent in supportive comments, while two people wrote to oppose the resolution.

"When I see that kind of imbalance between those in favor and those opposed, to me my vote was a no-brainer," Truax said.

Other councilors agonized.

"This is the hardest decision that I have ever had to make," said Ron Thompson, who has spent 15 years on the council.

Thompson said he wants to make the city a better place for minorities. He has worked to add low-income housing for migrant workers. But he also worried approving the resolution might cause residents to revolt and vote down a public safety levy that pays for nearly a quarter of the town's police and fire bureaus.

"I don't want the sanctuary thing to split our community so that we are not working together to make improvements," Thompson said.

Timothy Rippe, a retiree who joined the council in November, said he knows Forest Grove residents have experienced "real fear, real vulnerability" following Trump's election...

Ultimately, Rippe decided he had to vote against declaring sanctuary. The label is too polarizing, he said, and Forest Grove can't risk losing any federal money. Other vulnerable residents depend on the dollars, he said.

According to staff reports -- printed in both English and Spanish -- Forest Grove will receive about $4 million in federal aid this year. The city is expecting $325,000 for a senior center kitchen remodel, $240,000 for sewer work and $3.6 million for road improvements.

Rippe worried especially about the money earmarked for the senior center. Meals on Wheels plans to use the kitchen, he said, to deliver food to the elderly.

"I just don't see how we can morally say one group is more important than another group," Rippe said. "We all have parents and grandparents who are getting older and more vulnerable. To jeopardize their well-being is not taking care of the entire community."

Matthew Vandehey, a new councilor who voted against Truax's proposal, said he worried declaring sanctuary would have given undocumented immigrants "a false sense of security."

"Throughout history, both church and political sanctuary offered immunity to arrest," Vandehey said. "That is how it can be interpreted, but that is not what the city can provide."

If federal immigration agents want to raid Forest Grove, local officials won't be able to stop residents from being deported.

Bridget Cooke, executive director of Adelante Mujeres, said people at her Latino community nonprofit are "saddened but not disheartened.

"We were hoping for a shout out of support, instead we got a whisper," Cooke said. "But we can work with that."

Truax said he is "deeply disappointed" and unsure of what to do next.

"A 3-3 tie is almost worse than a no vote," Truax said. "It really leaves us in a quandary."

Only a few hours after the meeting, Truax said he'd already heard from many angry residents on both sides.

"Make no mistake: When I talk to people who share with me disappointment right now, I say I share their disappointment," Truax said. "We will struggle on. The arc of justice, as Dr. King says, bends. But it takes time."

Sen. Wyden and state representatives pledge to protect undocumented immigrants at Oregon capitol

Around 600 Oregon protesters rallied around the state capitol in Salem on Jan. 14, showing support for elected representatives and organizers vowing to protect undocumented immigrants and their families.

Residents from across Oregon filled the Oregon State Capitol fountain grounds at 2:00 p.m. They cheered to speeches from U.S. Senator Wyden, state and district representatives, along with immigrant’s rights advocates. The leaders expressed defiance to President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign promises, which includes to overturn Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and deport 11 million undocumented immigrants.

“[Trump]’s policies lack empathy, lack compassion. They lack the understanding that undocumented workers and their families are key components of the American economy — and that they are Americans,” U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden said to the crowd, alongside a Spanish translator. Wyden told the Emerald that he will support the Bridge Act, a bipartisan legislation introduced to U.S. Senate last month to allow those receiving DACA to remain in the United States. DACA protects young undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children from deportation, and provides them with temporary work permits.

Jeff Stone, Executive Director of Oregon Association of Nurseries, cited a report his group, along with business and civic leaders, released. According to the report, immigrants make up 10 percent of Oregon’s population and contributed $24.4 billion in taxes and earn 9 percent of state earnings.

“You are important,” Stone said. “In America, every immigrant class has come to our country and made it better. And one of our most enduring symbols — the statue of liberty — embodies the great torch of freedom that welcomes the world to our shores.”

The crowd became especially animated when newly-elected Oregon House of Representatives leader Teresa Alonso Leon was introduced. She became the first immigrant Latina to be elected to Oregon State Legislature.

The daughter of migrant workers, Leon described picking berries during summers to support her family. She eventually became the first person in her family to graduate from college, which she said was due to her hard-work, but not without the “kindness of dedicated educators.” One of Leon’s campaign goals was for increased college affordability.

“I remember years ago standing on these same steps as a young girl for the first time. When I was here then, I didn’t see anyone who looked like me,” Leon said in front of the capitol building. “Now, just days ago, my young niece Emma, was able to watch her tia be sworn in as state representative, and it brought tears to my eyes.” She said that Emma now aspires to be the first Latina president of the United States.

Fatima Preciado was the last speaker. Preciado is a DACA recipient, who was brought to America from Apatzingan, Mexico.

“As a four-year-old crossing the border, I did not understand the complexity, risk and sacrifice my parents were making by bringing me to this country,” Preciado said. “But now that I understand, I am not ashamed.”

Preciado was named 2016 Oregon Youth of the Year by Oregon’s Boys & Girls Clubs in her senior year, and then became the first in her family to attend a four-year university. But that could be taken away from her, if President-elect Trump follows through with his talk of repealing DACA.

“The threat is real and we need our state leaders to protect us from Trump’s dangerous and inhumane policies,” Preciado said.

The crowd then marched around the capitol — where two protestors held a banner with an image of the Statue of Liberty. It read “No Human Being is Illegal.”

Around 600 people from across Oregon rallied at the Oregon State Capitol, before marching around it. (Andrew Field / Emerald)

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