While schools, banks and government offices observe the holiday honoring our nation’s commanders-in-chief, President’s Day is, for most, lackluster. All that changed on Monday when thousands took to the streets in observance of “Not My President’s Day.”
The national protest against Donald Trump’s policies and the man himself was a cry for help. They want elected leaders to stop the president from enacting new laws which they say are unconstitutional, such as repealing Obamacare, travel bans against Muslims and mass deportation of illegal immigrants.
While the Trump Administration has promised to end the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and replace health care with something better, so far no specifics have been announced. Within days of Trump signing an executive order to ban entry into the U.S. by people in 7 Muslim countries, a federal judge in Seattle stopped it and issued a temporary restraining order.
The loudest protest has come from those opposing arrests and deportation of undocumented individuals, and California is one of the most affected states.
Last week, the Dept. of U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released details about raids of individuals in the U.S. illegally, which resulted in detainment of 161 people in Southern California. According to ICE, 95 people were arrested in Los Angeles County, 35 in Orange County, 13 in San Bernardino County, seven in Riverside County, six in Ventura County and five in Santa Barbara County.
Similar operations were conducted across the country, with more than 680 people arrested, according to federal authorities. The Department of Homeland Security followed Trump’s directive to remove immigrants who are here illegally and who pose a threat to public safety.
Mass deportation efforts have sparked fears among illegal immigrants. Although the raids by federal authorities are said to be aimed at criminals and those who violated immigration laws, not everyone detained fits those categories, some say.
“I am working with my constituents and the immigrant community to ensure they know their rights,” Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Commerce, said. “As this process moves forward, I will also ensure my constituents know what the next steps are, where applicable.”
American employers and landlords are feeling the effects of the raids. A local contractor who used to hire day laborers looking for work in front of Home Depot said men, fearing deportation, no longer congregate there. An apartment manager said two of his tenants moved suddenly, and their cell phones have been disconnected.
The bulk of those arrested were from Mexico. Others come from countries such as El Salvador, Guatemala, China, Nicaragua, Jamaica, Honduras, Belize, Philippines, Australia, Brazil, Israel and South Korea.
Affected immigrants are encouraged to call the toll-free hotline of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles at (888) 624-4752 for assistance and access to attorneys.