Posted by Joan Hanna on February 09, 2017 in Blog

From California to New Jersey, and places in between, like Michigan, local governments are standing for immigrants and refugees.  

IMG_4559.PNG.pngFahim Abedrabbo was elected in November to the Clifton, New Jersey Board of Education. (BOE) Because Clifton is a diverse, ethnically and religiously rich city, Abedrabbo wanted support the city’s children, regardless of immigration status so he introduced a resolution to that effect. “There has been a [U.S.] law protecting student identities and we as the BOE have an obligation to protect our kids, no matter who asks. Our number one [priority] are the children, and this resolution reaffirms our dedication and advocacy for our children that live in the City of Clifton. It is unfortunate that we come to a time that we must reaffirm something like this to protect our kids... Our residents and especially our students are a family.” The resolution passed 7-0, with one abstention and one absence. Abedrabbo was proud of the Clifton BOE’s action. “In my opinion, if someone comes ringing [at] your doorbell to question your kids, you stand up.” In the New Jersey legislature, a similar resolution, SCR 134, was also passed last week to maintain the state’s protection of undocumented students and families, especially in academic “safe zones.”

16683131_10101567690103460_584353830_n.jpgThe Santa Ana City Council in California has taken a public stand against the Trump Administration as well. Over the past few weeks, councilmembers unanimously passed an ordinance affirming its status as a sanctuary city.  On Tuesday, the council voted 4-2 in favor of a resolution denouncing President Trump’s Executive Orders which promised to defund sanctuary cities and instituted a Muslim Ban. Community members enthusiastically participated and voiced their support for the resolution, including Rashad Al-Dabbagh, a community organizer, activist and founder of the Arab American Civic Council. "In the past two weeks, there has been chaos during President Trump's bigoted executive orders. Dozens of immigrants and refugees were detained at LAX simply because of their national origin. I commend the Santa Ana City Council for doing the right thing by standing for those most vulnerable in our communities and voting to support a resolution condemning Trump's Muslim ban. We will continue to resist and urge other cities to do the same to reject bigotry and protect our rights and freedoms.” Al-Dabbagh was joined by other Arab Americans and American Muslims in this call.

abdullah.jpgIn Michigan, newly elected State Representative Abdullah Hammoud introduced House Resolution 18 in support of immigrants and refugees. In the resolution, Hammoud urges Congress and the Michigan Legislature to halt policies that lead to discrimination, profiling and marginalization. Part of HR 18 reads, “The President of the United States recently signed an executive order that threatens the constitutional rights of Michigan residents. This order disrupts the state of Michigan’s reputation as a welcoming and tolerant people, and its broad and ambiguous deportation priorities may have a harmful impact on those that pose no threat to our communities, including immigrants who have been charged, but not yet convicted, of a crime. Moreover, this policy invites local law enforcement to unconstitutionally profile residents based on race and religion.” In a statement, Hammoud commented that policies like the Trump Administration’s Muslim Ban “[goes] against the principles of inclusion and diversity that America claims to stand for.” Forty Democratic representatives co-sponsored the resolution, along with Republican representative, Martin Howrylak. Hammoud is asking for public support to get a committee hearing and vote on the resolution.

These efforts prove that our community can make real change when we raise our voices. If you’re interested in having your community stand for immigrants, refugees and against the Muslim ban we have draft language you can use.