MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Later this week, President Trump is expected to announce his new refugee ban, after an appeals court put the first one on hold.
Meanwhile, immigrant communities in the Twin Cities are bracing for widespread deportations under a new policy announced by the president last week.
Supporters have cheered the president’s policies on immigrants and refugees, which led to widespread protests around the country, including one Monday evening in Minneapolis. Dozens of protesters are expected to march from Peavey Plaza about 10 blocks down to Minneapolis city hall.
President Trump and his supporters insist that his policies do not differ significantly from those of the Obama administration, which deported a record 3 million people. But the president’s critics point to protests like these and the impact on immigrants who are legally in the US as evidence of a new climate of intolerance.
Esteban Rivera is a successful Twin Cities immigration attorney. A naturalized U.S. citizen since 2011, the native of Ecuador says he — like many legal immigrants — are now carrying their U.S. passport cards at all times.
“I look Latino, I have an accent in English and it’s possible they can stop me,” he said. “It’s really, really, worrisome and troublesome.”
Rivera says he and other Twin Cities immigration attorneys have been overwhelmed with anxious phone calls.
“People are very worried that their case is going to be denied, or they’re not going to be able to renew,” he said.
Rivera has been preparing power-of-attorney forms for undocumented workers who fear they will be deported and who want to make sure their U.S.-born children are taken care of.
“The two parents are illegally here in the United States, so they are very worried if they get taken, what is going to happen to the U.S. citizen children,” he said.
At NewPublica — the leading Twin Cities Hispanic print and internet news media company — web traffic has spiked to 50,000 visits a month with immigration-related stories leading the way.
“Those stories are getting three or four times the traffic they would have gotten,” longtime NewPublica CEO Alberto Monserrate said.
Monserrate says in these tense times, he and his staff feel an added responsibility.
“We have to balance between not creating panic — because there are a lot of rumors that are not based on fact, and there is a lot of fear in the community,” he said.
President Trump and his supporters have been quick to dismiss the protests around the country as being led by “professional protesters.”
Protesters in Minnesota and around the country say that’s ridiculous. Activists say to expect more protests when the president rolls out his revised refugee ban, which will focus on the same seven mostly-Muslim nations. The president is expected to announce that plan later this week.