A rally is scheduled in Chicago on January 14, less than a week before the inauguration, as part of a national day of action. The gathering is intended to promote the interests of undocumented immigrants, Muslims, and refugees, three groups that may be impacted when Trump takes office.
At the protest, groups who support undocumented immigrants will commit to upholding "resistance policies" in defiance of the new President. They vow to uphold Obama's current policies, especially the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program. They also plan to do what they can to hinder collaboration between local law enforcement and immigration officials seeking to deport anyone who is not authorized to be in the US.
Advocates also want to raise awareness about increasing numbers of "hate crimes" targeting Muslims. They want to see "safe spaces" created in public institutions as a haven for Muslims, refugees, and immigrants.
The rally will begin at 10 a.m. in front of the Chicago Teachers Union headquarters, of all places.
Labor groups are also likely to be in attendance to support the cause.
I think the rally is more a tactic to show open defiance of Trump than to really demonstrate support for a particular group. I don't expect anything to come of it, except that Trump will probably be more vocal about calling for "federal intervention" in Chicago. He made a statement recently saying that something needed to be done about the violence. Now we're just reminding him that's the tip of the iceberg.
I think we have to be extremely careful putting groups together and claiming they all have something in common and encouraging a victim mentality. We use euphemisms and generalizations. We say "immigrant' rather than calling a spade a spade and saying "illegal immigrant."
Legal immigrants don't need an advocate to help them fight deportation. They have gone through the proper channels to be here. Let's not make it sound like all immigrants are at risk.
As for Muslims, yes, we should raise awareness if they are being targeted. This should not be happening, but it is misguided to put that cause on the same platform as protecting illegals.
Likewise with refugees if they are here legally. Trump may seek to deport them, and in all likelihood that may be a better solution. If we can find a safer place for them to go, closer to their homeland, that might be a practical option. I'm not against having refugees here, but if the government doesn't have the resources to see that they're properly vetted, then we are not equipped to handle a considerable influx of asylum-seekers.
Furthermore, it's not likely we have the social service infrastructure to help them long-term. It would be better for organizations that assist refugees to collaborate and see if they could set up temporary shelter for them nearer their homelands.
What exactly do they mean by "safe spaces?" Has that become a popular term because of the "bubbles" created on college campuses to shield students from views they disagree with? Protesters want these groups to have places where they can receive emotional support.
And where would that be? There are some non-profit groups seeking to assist Muslims and refugees. Where and how would we be able to carve out public space for this purpose, unless a facility was already designated for it?
At this rally, organizers would do better to empower Muslims and refugees to improve their lives rather than portraying them as weak, vulnerable victims.
Defying federal agencies directed to enforce the law is a mistake. Unfortunately, the mayor has also taken this stance. Advocates for the undocumented in Chicago and other sanctuary cities are misguided. They shouldn't be surprised if the federal government denies funding for social programs or ultimately comes in to override their efforts to resist immigration authorities.
After the media attention dies down, this protest will become like the countless others that have taken place over the last year or two. Soon enough, people will find some other reason to take to the streets.
I hope this protest culture becomes less prevalent in the coming years. While protests have their place, they're becoming overutilized. Attention is being sought for the wrong causes, or with wrong motives.
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