On Wednesday, Jan. 25, President Donald Trump fulfilled one of his most controversial campaign promises by signing an executive order that threatened to cut federal grants for cities and counties with policies that protect undocumented immigrants.
The next day, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez effectively stripped the county of its “sanctuary” status by ordering county jails to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The county jails of Miami-Dade will now have to comply with federal detention requests by detaining inmates who reside in the country illegally — something that the county had refused to do since 2013.
By kowtowing to President Trump’s draconian immigration policies, Gimenez, the son of a family of ranchers that fled from disaster following the Cuban Revolution, has marred Miami’s decades-long reputation of welcoming immigrants.
As a Venezuelan-born immigrant, I couldn’t be more disappointed in my mayor. His actions are a painful betrayal to thousands of helpless families that are now at greater risk of being torn apart. The president’s executive orders on immigration are a stain on our democracy, effectively trampling on the rights of those who have fought to escape corruption to guarantee their children a brighter future.
Many have already taken to the streets of Miami to protest the mayor’s decision. As a passionate yet introverted writer, my idea of an effective protest is a protest of words. It’s why I write for this paper so often and it’s why I’ve chosen to write to Mayor Gimenez himself. Below is an excerpt of the letter I’ll be sending to his office:
“I was dismayed and appalled by the mayor’s decision to support Trump’s policies less than a day after the executive order was signed. Certainly he must realize that local governments are not obligated to meddle with federal immigration affairs. Therefore, an executive order that bullies cities and counties into doing the federal government’s work would undermine the autonomy of local governments and violate the Tenth Amendment.
“Many public officials have openly defied President Trump’s clear overreach of power. The livelihoods of thousands of families are on the line. Mayor Gimenez should not allow the city of Miami to be cowed into silence.”
If you feel like reaching out to local public officials but are either reluctant or too busy to march, contacting them directly is the next best option. Speak (or write) with an open mind and heart. You might just be the one who can inspire great change. Speak up, speak loud and don’t hold back.
Israel Aragon is a sophomore majoring in psychology.
Featured image courtesy Flickr user Mark Oliver