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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Immigrant activists vow to continue the fight, despite Trump's win

From the left: Dong Yoon Kim, Genie Nguyen, Leni Gonzalez, Lenka Mendoza, and Edgar Aranda-Yanoc. 
“We will continue to push forward our immigrant families’ voices to stand up for our rights and fight back against hate and fear,” said Dong Yoon Kim, program director of the National Korean American Service and Education Consortium (NAKASEC) at a media briefing Nov. 9 at the organization’s office in Annandale.

Several leaders of immigrant rights organizations participated in the briefing, the day after Donald Trump was elected president of the United States, to reassure people facing an uncertain future that “we’re here for them,” Kim said.

During his campaign, Trump and his followers called for mass deportations, closed borders, and stronger vetting for foreigners seeking to enter the country. Trump referred to undocumented immigrants from Mexico as criminals and rapists and said he would build a wall along the Mexican border.

“Last night I was saddened that anger and fear seemed to triumph,” said Edgar Aranda-Yanoc, chair of the Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations. He vowed to push back against hate and defend the rights of immigrant communities.

“The United States is a nation of immigrants who have helped built it into the great nation that it is, and we will demand that it recognize our contributions and welcome us as so many have been done before,” he said.

Aranda-Yanoc does not think Trump will succeed in carrying out his threat to deport 11 million people, calling that a campaign promise rather than a realistic plan.

“We have to keep fighting to protect what we have,” he said. “This is a nation of laws.” He urged immigrants to attend a “Know Your Rights” forum Oct. 15, 7 p.m., at United Culmore Methodist Church.

“Standing in solidarity with leaders of all ethnic communities, Voice of Vietnamese Americans solemnly urges the newly elected president to uphold our American values: that of liberty and justice for all,” said President Genie Nguyen.

Nguyen, who came to the United States as a refugee from Vietnam in 1975, urged Trump to “embrace immigrants and refugees who are risking their lives to reach freedom.”

“We have come out of the shadows of fear and hate. We are not going back into the shadows,” said Lenka Mendoza of Dreamers’ Mothers in Action.

Following the election of Trump, “the fight might be more difficult, but it is not impossible,” Mendoza said. “Now is the time to stay united, be educated on your rights, and move forward together.”

“A true leader builds bridges,” said Leni Gonzalez, chair of the Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights, who urged Trump to push for a path to citizenship. “Not moving forward with comprehensive immigration reform will only continue to polarize our country and divide our nation.”

“America is already great. Immigrants make it greater. We have to continue to have hope,” she said. “We have a voice and we will use it, especially for those who can’t speak for themselves.” 


  1. I voted for Hillary, but I am 100% certain that my illustrious 19th century immigrant forebearers did not have groups sitting them down and telling them to stay put no matter what, as they have RIGHTS! NOPE! They were hard workers, entrepreneurs, as most immigrants are today, but if things didn't work out, they died or went back to the homeland. No safety nets. No benefits. Comparing modern immigration to yesteryear is damn insulting.

    1. Yeah! Everyone hates it when people tell them they have rights! that's total crap! now time to send that 10 year old back to the lathe for his 18 hour shift. Man, those 19th century factories had it RIGHT.

  2. Following up the previous commenter, I find the statement made by Edgar Aranda-Yanoc who is advocating for immigrants - including undocumented immigrants - that America is a "nation of laws" both incredibly obtuse and insulting.

    1. We are a nation of laws when the law we are referring to is on our side.

  3. We will also continue to fight for BOUNDARIES, yes, effective boundaries at our borders. Not closed borders, mind you, but regulated borders. Get ready for four years of enforcing the rule of law. It is coming to your neighborhood.

  4. Today's immigrants come here and don't want to learn the English language or live by our culture. They want to establish here what they left behind. They want US to give, give, give. Shameful !

  5. Have you ever lived in another country? It's so unbelievably emotionally & logistically difficult. You get homesick, you can't communicate, the foods are different, you get treated with suspicion... It's only natural to seek out comfort in the familiar. All the immigrants I've met are very friendly when you approach them with a smile and some understanding. This whole idea that anyone is trying to recreate their home country in the US is a misunderstanding.
    That said, I do wish I could read the signs in downtown Annandale. But I guess that's just lost business for them.

  6. I am a first generation 'minority' immigrant. My family came here legally, following the laws of the land. We love this country, adapted to the way of life here. It is a slap to the face of all immigrants when people come here ILLEGALLY. Liberals need to stop coddling people who broke the law. Common sense, this nation can't sustain 'taking in' every person. We need controlled and managed immigration.