Moriah Balingit reports:
“In a school cafeteria adorned with whimsical children’s artwork, the men and women hunched over thick packets of paper one recent night, fiddling with pen caps and rubbing their foreheads as they confronted a challenge: preparing for what happens if immigration agents show up at the door.
Some at this clinic in Northern Virginia were undocumented, and others had relatives in that situation. Some had legal status but were not permanent residents, and they wondered what shifts in federal immigration policy would mean for them and their relatives.
Juan Torres, a carpenter from Honduras and father of four, has temporary protected status, but he has family members who are undocumented.
“Of course, I was very worried, because the majority of my family doesn’t have documents, and at any moment they could be arrested or detained,” Torres said.
He was one of about two dozen people who came to William Ramsay Elementary School in Alexandria to learn about their rights while President Trump moves to tighten immigration enforcement and speed up deportations.
Recent arrests in Alexandria and elsewhere have heightened stress. A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement “sensitive location” policy restricts enforcement actions at schools and churches. But agents last month arrested homeless men who had just left a church warming shelter in nearby Fairfax County and a father in Los Angeles who had just dropped his daughter off at school.
With anxiety rising in immigrant communities, educators and parents are taking steps to allay fears. The PTA at Ramsay Elementary sponsored the March 22 clinic, supplying pizza and providing volunteers to care for children of those who came to hear from immigration lawyers and other experts.
About a quarter of Alexandria’s residents in 2010 were foreign-born, census data shows. Hundreds of unaccompanied minors, many of whom fled violence in Central America, have entered the United States in recent years without parents and landed in the city’s schools. Students in Alexandria hail from more than 130 countries. Hallways at Ramsay Elementary display dozens of flags to show international spirit.”
Try as they might, The Trump Administration is not going to be able to dislodge migrants from communities throughout the US. They will, however, succeed in generating massive resistance to their unrealistic, unneeded, and xenophobic policies. Sooner or later, either Congress must pass needed reforms giving some status and protection to migrants, or the resistance will eventually tie the already dysfunctional system into knots.