RAICES town meeting addresses fearful community

Diego Lopez

Since taking office, President Donald Trump has signed three executive orders containing language targeting undocumented immigrants, leaving many San Antonio residents confused and fearful.

“This whole ban thing is disturbing to me because America is founded on immigrants and that’s what makes us so great,” Alexis Gonzalez, sophomore medical humanities major said, “It’s concerning to me because my mom is from Mexico and only has a green card. So I know first hand that not all immigrants are a threat to this country.”

On Jan. 25, President Trump signed two executive orders: Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States and Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements. President Trump signed the Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States two days later on Jan. 27.

In addition, Republicans in Texas have also targeted undocumented immigrants and sanctuary cities by introducing the controversial Senate Bill 4 in the state legislature. Governor Greg Abbott cracked down on one sanctuary city, Austin, by blocking grant funds to Travis County.

“It’s caused a lot of confusion, a lot of anxiety and ultimately, a lot of fear in the communities impacted by these executive orders. Particularly, the immigrant community, the Hispanic community, and the Muslim community,” said Executive Director of RAICES Jonathan Ryan, after hosting their Executive Order Town Hall meeting at the Esperanza Peace & Justice Center, on Thursday, Feb. 2.

RAICES has been working with undocumented immigrants and their families by providing legal services for the past 30 years.

“We feel a responsibility in these times of change and uncertainty to be a source of correct, up to date, and valid information and interpretation of how that impacts everyone in their daily lives,” Ryan stated.

“Throughout much of my life I never been involved in politics because I never thought my voice mattered.” Sarah Faruq, UTSA alumni and public health student at UT Health Science Center, said, “Now the same thing is happening with people who believe their voices don’t matter, and they’re the ones being persecuted the most. They cannot speak out for themselves.”

Despite this town hall meeting and the one at the UTSA Downtown Campus on Jan. 26, many living in San Antonio and the rest of the nation remain concerned and confused about the future of the immigrant community.