Late Saturday morning, members of the Lafayette community gathered at La Scala Italian Restaurant to take a stand against the recent policies negatively affecting immigrants. In just a few hours, community members filled out over 800 postcards to state and national representatives asking them to support immigrants.
Unacceptable action has been taken against immigrants by the current administration. An executive order was signed to indefinitely suspend Syrian refugee admissions and limit other refugees from entering the United States. In addition, individuals from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia were banned from entering the U.S for 90 days. However, a Seattle federal judge suspended the executive order nationwide, and on February 9th, a federal appeals panel refused to reinstate the travel ban.
Yet immigrants are still not in the clear. This Tuesday, Senate Bill 423 (Enforcement of Immigration Laws) will be heard in the Corrections and Criminal Law Committee. The bill stops postsecondary education institutions with in-state campuses from preventing the government from obtaining or sharing information about the citizenship or immigration status of an individual. The bills would also prevent campuses in Indiana from adopting sanctuary policies.
Kirsten Serrano recognized a need to support immigrants in the community and has organized numerous events to do so, including Saturday’s postcard action event. “I formed Greater Lafayette Immigrant Allies right after the election”, said Serrano. “I knew there was going to be a great need to do advocacy and fellowship events for immigrants in our community”.
At La Scala, participants were provided with the names and addresses of representatives along with suggested messages, postcards, and stamps. The postcards were sent to several politicians including Congressman Todd Rokita and Senator Joe Donnelly. “We’ve done a couple postcard actions”, said Serrano. “This is our second big postcard action. Our goal today is to get 800 postcards filled out to state and national representatives”.
Greater Lafayette Immigrant Allies has also worked to reach out to students at Purdue. “There’s definitely an immigrant population on campus”, explains Serrano. “We’ve done some work with the Muslim community on campus”. It is vital that young people learn about issues like these that affect them and the country. “It’s imperative that you get involved”, explains Serrano. If you’re not resisting, you’re consenting, and what we’re consenting to is unacceptable.”
Serrano also emphasizes the importance of cooperation to make a difference saying, “One person can’t do it all. We have to work together.”
These efforts must also be continuous and persistent. “What matters is contacting the people that represent you in state, city, and national government”, said Serrano. “They are the people who are supposed to represent us. Those are the people who we need to reach out to, and complain to. And also say thank you for voting that way, we need to support them too”.
Greater Lafayette Immigrant Allies can be found on Facebook and on their website www.standingforgood.com.