Top 5 Things to Know for Immigrants and Refugees About 2016 Election Results
1. It's OK to mourn. And critical to provide space, time and togetherness for healing.
This is a devastating blow to impacted communities who already live in fear of discrimination, abuse, xenophobia, anti-Muslim sentiment, and deportation. It is healthy and important to take the time to mourn this loss with your family and community. Many people may not know how to process their anxiety over the election results. Faith communities in particular can help provide a safe space for healing. Open your congregation, home, neighborhood, school, etc. as a place where individuals can voice their emotions, fears, concerns, and hopes. The ministry of presence, listening and solidarity are critical to helping us find wholeness, calm and resolve to defend the rights of those currently targeted.
2. The struggle to win dignity and rights for everyone in our communities takes time.
Social change is incremental and only comes through a long-fought, hard struggle. There are always set backs along the journey and we must continue to organize together to build a stronger movement for immigrants’ and refugees’ rights. This loss is not the end of our struggle though and we as a community of immigrants, refugees and partners remain committed to continuing our work to ensure everyone is treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. Talking with your community, identifying your long term and short term goals, and working together to win results that impact people’s lives is an essential next step. One way to get started is to do more civic engagement work, sharing our stories, building stronger relationship with local elected officials and pro-immigrant groups and asking your town, city, and/or county to declare themselves welcoming of refugees and immigrants. Right now we need these welcoming resolutions more than ever, and many localities are seeking ways to promote healing and inclusion.
3. How did Trump win?
Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, meaning that more than half of all votes were cast for Hillary Clinton for President and Tim Kaine for Vice President. However, she lost the Electoral College (a system embedded in the U.S. Constitution in which candidates win a certain number of votes per state). Donald Trump won enough Electoral College votes (270 votes is threshold to win), which means that he won the election, even though Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. Young people, minorities, many new Americans and individuals in major urban areas voted overwhelmingly for Clinton. Trump’s message on trade injustice, bringing manufacturing jobs back, and excluding immigrants seemed to resonate with rural midwest parts of the country. The Democratic turnout was low, simply not enough people voted.
4. If I’m an immigrant or refugee, how could this affect me?
It depends on your status and your case, but everyone should make sure to educate themselves and their community on knowing your rights. If you have an open or pending case, reach out to your attorney or other legal representation to understand all options. Here’s a list of refugee resettlement offices by state and a map of immigration legal service providers. If you have a green card or U.S. citizenship, you hopefully will not need to worry about your case being in jeopardy. Right now, there are a lot of questions surrounding what policies President-elect Trump could actually introduce, pass, and sign into law. However, given his campaign proposals regarding the refugee resettlement program, immigration, and some discriminatory proposals, we are suggesting that all individuals with questions or concerns on their case reach out to their legal representation or seek assistance through an immigrants’ rights organization such as NILC. In the
meantime, refugee resettlement agencies and other service providers will continue to serve refugees to ensure they are in the best position to thrive. We will continue to support welcoming communities for all newcomers to show solidarity and affirm that refugees and immigrants are a vital and valued part of our society.
5. What can I do?
Now is the time to take action. Sign up for CWS action alerts. Educate your community about their rights and use the United We Dream hotl ine (1-844-363-1423) t o report rights violations. Engage more leaders in your community. Join together and take action against unjust immigration policies and anti-Muslim sentiment. Start a protection network to help stop racial profiling or deportations. When we take action and stand together, we can stop negative legislation at the national level while working to create welcoming communities and supporting policies that benefit your community in your state, county, and city. You can contact Rev. Noel Andersen if you are ready to move forward on grassroots action and organizing at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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