By francisco aviles pino, Chispa
Over the weekend, my phone buzzed with calls and messages from family members and friends terrified by President Donald Trump’s impending Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) raids. I replied with numbers and resources in telling them to not worry. The real truth, though, is that I am worried as well. I always am. But with the years of organizing I’ve seen and multiple visits to therapists, I’ve learned that it is important to recognize what we’ve done and to realize we are never alone in this battle.
As immigrants, we’ve always had the power within us to combat white supremacy. Despite everything, we are here; now is an important time to remember that. Immigration raids have been a part of the history of this nation (Operation Wetback, anyone?) but with every passing decade we refine our methods of resistance. From finally ending the ICE contract in Santa Ana to recently harnessing the power of #IllegalTwitter to help free Valeria Suarez–an undocumented and queer organizer–incredible activists all over the country are showing us what is possible if we stay focused on what we can do together.
We can be careful but we can’t fall into the Trump Administration’s trap. The tweets and the headlines they create are all intended to keep people in the shadows. They are intended to sow fear and confusion. It’s ridiculous for Democrats to also allow the president to taunt a population this way. This administration does not have the resources to deport everyone nor do they have support from all the cities listed for the impending ICE raids to carry out a concerted effort.
What’s within our power is to be prepared for our community for any attack. We can combat this fear mongering through being organized, as the California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance notes in their Five Ways To Fight ICE Raids With Power Not Panic.
For us in Southern California, there are hotlines that are here to support in case we need them:
Orange County: 657-210-0157
Los Ángeles: 888-624-4752
Long Beach: 562-269-1083
San Bernandino: 909-361-4588
Remember, we’ve been here before. In the last decade alone, undocumented youth stood up for each other in a wave of activism that people are now realizing as important. As a community we also can’t pin one immigrant against each other for making mistakes or for not being young and a student. This is a call for all immigrants to be worthy of a just life.
In the future, we will remember this time as the moment when we were called to protect each other. If you’re undocumented, know just you also surviving and thriving is enough. Please take care of yourself, get off social media, and lean on those who love you. If you consider yourself an ally, find one of the many ways you can support and run with it. Long gone are also the days of movement shaming. We’re called to act but we are all called to do what we are able to do.
If you are in Orange County, attending a Know Your Rights session tonight at Latino Health Access in Santa Ana hosted by Resilience OC and the Public Law Center is one tangible thing to do. See you in the struggle.
Immigration Information Community Town Hall at Latino Health Access, 450 W. 4th Street, Santa Ana. 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Deport This! is a partnership between OC Weekly, Chispa and Orange County Immigrant Youth United. The column is a rebuttal of Donald Trump’s racist politics and his OC cheerleaders, who’ll no doubt get triggered every week with news and views by and about the undocumented community.