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Immigrant Communities Respond to Executive Actions Banning Refugees and Attacking Sanctuary Cities

By Manny Gonzales

The Forum joined immigration advocates from across Illinois who gathered today in Chicago to protest Donald Trump’s executive orders targeting sanctuary cities, banning refugees from specific war torn countries and directing federal resources for construction of his promised border wall.

While these executive actions were signed under the auspices of protecting the United States from violent threats, they are nothing more than racist policies fueling xenophobia and Islamophobia resulting in our nation’s current political climate.

“Worst of all, we know immigrant families across the country are in a deep state of fear and sadness,” said Julian Lazalde, Civic Engagement Manager at the Forum.

Trump's promise to attack sanctuary cities would punish Chicago for not forcing local law 

enforcement to adhere with federal immigration enforcement policies of racially profiling immigrants and breaking up immigrant families.  While it cannot prevent raids, the sanctuary city policy in Chicago is an important protection for immigrant communities, and has been a cornerstone of city policy since its introduction by Mayor Harold Washington in the 1980s.

“These executive actions remind us of the horrible days of special registration after 9/11,” said Harem Abudayyeh of the Arab American Action Network.

Nearly a dozen organizations from across the state have banned together to voice their contempt for these executive orders.

Jude Ssempungu, board member of the United African Organization, called on organizations serving vulnerable communities and likeminded Americans to stick together in this frightening time.

“More than ever, we need unity,” Seempungu said. “We’re not going to retreat. We’re going to remain committed.”

The Forum reiterates our commitment to ensure that immigrants living the United States are recognized as valuable and contributing members of society with equal access to equity and prosperity, regardless of their country of origin or current immigration status.