As you no doubt have seen, President Trump in his first week of office has taken executive action to restrict access to health care; target and detain immigrant, undocumented, Native American, and Muslim communities; threaten jurisdictions who have taken action to protect community members who are targeted; and silence expression (even in agencies like the EPA). More detailed information about these orders (actually issued or in draft form) is below.
These threats and discrimination have also been active here at the University of Washington, where in the past week we have witnessed a surge of events that create a hostile and dangerous working and studying environment. We’ve received multiple reports of unacceptable targeting harassment, and are calling on the University of Washington administration to take immediate action to respond, and to ensure that campus is an inclusive and welcoming place. Our members have been taking action in various forms — protests, marches, press conferences, and more — and we have also filed a grievance to demand the University ensure our contractual right to a safe, harassment-free campus.
We are also preparing our next steps to take action on campus and beyond. In addition to publicly and vociferously opposing Trump’s divisive policy actions, we are organizing in coalition with campus and community groups to push for resources, support and protection for those who are most vulnerable to these orders and to threats or targeting on campus. Here’s how you can get involved:
Meet with other UAW members on Wednesday, February 1st to strategize with the International Solidarity Work Group about our campaign to push for additional resources to assist students and workers facing hardship. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info;
Join our Hate Watch Working Group by emailing email@example.com. We’ll send out details about our next meeting in the coming week to discuss ways to counter discrimination and hostility nationally and at UW;
Tell our Hate Watch Working Group about your stories so we can take immediate and long-term action to help members who are experiencing problems:
- What are you experiencing if/when these executive orders are implemented
- What have you seen/experienced on campus that is creating or contributing to hostile environment?
- Who else is taking action (so we can continue to broaden our coalition)?;
Attend our next monthly membership meeting on Thursday, February 9th at 5:30 p.m. in Sieg 134 to finalize our plans;
Get support: Are you are experiencing discrimination, threats, harassment, targeting or hostility? Do you have questions or concerns about your visa or work authorization? Contact us immediately at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More Information on Executive Orders
Below is an outlined description of some of the executive orders that are particularly concerning.
Executive Order: Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States has been signed and will strip federal funding from “sanctuary states and cities harbor illegal immigrants”. This order also discusses how state and local law enforcement should “perform the functions of an immigration officer in the interior of the United States to the maximum extent permitted by law.” At a press conference yesterday afternoon Seattle City Mayor, Ed Murray, issued a statement that highlighted what Seattle officials and leaders were prepared to do to protect its most vulnerable communities.
Executive Order: Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements has been signed and will “allocate all sources of Federal funds for the planning, designing, and constructing of a physical wall along the southern border” between the United States and Mexico. It will allow for the funding and building of more detention centers for detainment of undocumented people, and a tripling in the size of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE).
Executive Order: Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals is currently in draft form and if signed, would legitimize policies that would stop the issuance of visas to individuals that have citizenship from “countries of particular concern”. The order has a framework that seeks to address national security concerns by targeting Yemen, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan, and Somalia that are “areas of concern” or deemed as state sponsors of terrorism. This executive order seems to be inspired by or in relation to the National Security Entry-Exit Registration Systems, which was enacted President George W. Bush on September 10, 2002. The NSEERS affected mostly people of Arab and African descent who identify as Muslim.
Trump has also targeted the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S Department of Agriculture by “prohibiting scientists from talking to the press and performing outreach via news pages and social media”. Senator of Washington state’s 42nd district and director of Trump’s transition team at the EPA, Doug Ericksen, said that he believes the ban will be lifted by the end of this week. In addition, the Trump administration has frozen grants and contracts within the EPA.
Trump signed a “Presidential Memorandum Regarding Construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline”which would effectively expedite the process of the construction and operation of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). This comes after millions of people across the country, including many UAW 4121 members have protested its construction which would be build right above the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. He also signed a directive order to expedite environmental reviews and Approvals For High Priority Infrastructure Projects. Our Local has been taking action to support Standing Rock protectors for several months, and passed a resolution to that effect at our November membership meeting.