Oregon activists react to Trump’s executive orders

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Oregon activists react to Trump’s executive orders

6:06 p.m. PT Jan. 31, 2017

Opponents of President Trump’s executive orders concerning immigrants and refugees plan to rally at the Oregon State Capitol on Wednesday.

“We will demand that the Governor and the State Legislature take immediate actions to defend and protect immigrants and refugees in Oregon,” said rally organizers from Voz Hispana, an immigrants rights organization. “Oregon will not become a cog in the Trump deportation machine.”

Last Friday, President Trump suspended the U.S. refugee program for 120 days, banned all immigrants from seven Muslim countries — Syria, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, and Libya — for 90 days, and ordered his administration to develop “extreme vetting” measures for immigrants from those countries to keep “radical Islamic terrorists” out of the United States, as reported by USA Today.

A protest against the orders was held at the Portland International Airport Sunday.

Steve and Cindy Spinnett went with signs reading, “Thank you, President Trump.”

“We wanted to be an encouragement to President Trump for keeping his promises to the American people,” Steve said.

At first, Steve said he and his wife ran into resistance from some protesters, but as they spoke to them, they found common ground.

“We told them they were sincere and we’re glad to see them out there expressing their beliefs,” he said. “We then warmed up to each other. We agreed that loving one another was more important than our disagreements politically.”

Doug and Anya Holcomb, founders of Salem for Refugees, said they are going to continue to provide services for locals impacted by the actions.

“In the coming days, our focus will be on caring for the refugees who are already in Salem, advocating for the 65.3 million people across the globe who have been forced to flee their homes, educating our community about the global refugee crisis, and preparing our city to welcome the refugees who will be coming when resettlement begins again,” the two activists said in a statement.

According to the Oregon Department of Human Services, more than 64,000 refugees have resettled in Oregon since 1975. Most of these refugees initially settle in the greater Portland metro area.

Currently, the most common refugee groups arriving in Oregon are from, Cuba, Burma, Bhutan, Iran, Iraq, and Somalia.

As for immigrants, Oregon is home to more than 391,000 immigrants, making about 10 percent of all Oregonians “foreign-born.”

More than 11 million immigrants are estimated to be living in the United States illegally, according to the PEW Research Center and Migration Policy Institute.

By comparison, in 2014, around 47 percent, or 20 million, of all U.S. immigrants were naturalized U.S. citizens. The remaining 53 percent, or 22.4 million, included lawful permanent residents, unauthorized immigrants, and legal residents on temporary visas, such as students and temporary workers.

Jim Ludwick, communications director for Oregonians for Immigration Reform, said the organization saw the president’s actions as a hopeful sign of Trump keeping his promises.

“We were hopeful that President Trump will come out and build the wall, and we think he will,” he said.

Oregonians for Immigration Reform, Ludwick said, is not against all immigration; rather, it is in favor of stricter background checks and a lower volume of people brought in each year.

“We need to make sure the people who come in are the people they say they are,” he said.

Aside from violent attacks, he said the country isn’t able to sustain much more than 230,000 legal immigrants a year.

“We aren’t able to sustain (the number of people now), environmentally, socially, financially or politically,” he said.

He said multiple U.S. Presidents in the past, including Carter and Clinton, placed travel and immigration bans on certain areas.

“This is not a new thing — there are just new players,” he said.

Contact Natalie Pate at npate@StatesmanJournal.com, 503-399-6745, or follow her on Twitter @Nataliempate and Facebook at www.Facebook.com/nataliepatejournalist

 

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Natalie Pate

Natalie Pate is the education reporter for the Statesman Journal in Salem, Oregon. Natalie has previously worked for organizations and publications such as Direct Relief International, Waging Non-Violence, and Amnesty International USA. She has had stories published with USA Today, Associated Press and Ozy, among others. Natalie earned her B.A. in Politics and French and Francophone Studies (FFS) from Willamette University. During her studies, she wrote a Politics thesis titled, "No One is Dying: How and Why the U.S. Federal Government Avoids Executing Prisoners on Federal Death Row" and an FFS thesis, in French, on cannibalism in the 16th and 17th centuries. Natalie is a journalist, performer, traveler, fiction writer and more. She is working to publish her dystopian novella, "Choice," which follows a man during 24 hours in solitary confinement for allegedly committing murder. For more information on Natalie visit www.about.me/natalie_pate, like her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/nataliepatejournalist, or follow Natalie on Twitter (@Nataliempate) or Tumblr (Nataliempate blog "In the Shoes of a Journalist"). Her reporting with the Statesman Journal can also be found at www.StatesmanJournal.com.

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