Things That Matter

A Group Of White Supremacist Unwittingly Raised More Than $36,000 To Help Undocumented People

White supremacists might be getting louder and mobilizing in larger numbers, but they’re not getting any smarter. On August 17, the alt-right group called the Proud Boys organized another rally, misleadingly called “End Domestic Terrorism” in the streets of downtown Portland, Oregon. Before “End Domestic Terrorism,” the last time the Proud Boys organized a “rally,” it turned into an outright brawl with Antifa (a left-wing Anti-Fascist group). So when the Proud Boys announced their follow-up August 17 rally as an attempt to bait and classify Antifa as a domestic terrorist organization, Portland police prepared by spending $2 million on preventative security measures. 

Meanwhile, Popular Mobilization (PopMob), a Portland-based coalition of anti-fascist groups, decided they would prepare by soliciting donations to help fight deportation based on the number of white supremacists who show up to the rally.

By showing up to their own rally, white supremacists raised $36,017.69 for undocumented immigrants thanks to the quick thinking of Popular Mobilization.

Credit: @letsgomathias / Twitter

PopMob said that donations “flooded in from all over the country, and even as far away as the UK, ranging from two cents to five dollars a fascist.” At 300 fascists, that means people donated between $6 to $1,500 each. PopMob said its fundraiser was “in direct opposition to the anti-immigration rhetoric of the far-right and the current administration that emboldens them, showcasing the resilience and strength of a community coming together against hate.” 

All the donations went to Causa, a Portland-based Latino Rights organization that helps defend undocumented people in deportation proceedings.

Credit: Causa Oregon / Facebook

Causa works to improve the lives of Latino immigrants and their families in Oregon through advocacy, coalition building, leadership development, and civic engagement. They call themselves “Oregon’s Latino immigrant rights organization,” and they’ve earned the name for all the work they do to coordinate legal representation for undocumented people. Their mission is “to create a world where all people have the opportunities and resources needed to thrive.”

That means that every fascist who showed up personally raised $120 to help fight the deportation of the very people they protest.

Credit: @QuotesGavin / Twitter

The founder of Proud Boys, Gavin McInnes, was legally advised to step down from his post after his involvement in the Charlottesville, Virginia “Unite the Right” rally that left one counter-protester dead. McInnes spends his podcast air time dehumanizing immigrants.

“It’s such a rape culture with these immigrants, I don’t even think these women see it as rape. They see it as just like having a teeth [sic] pulled. ‘It’s a Monday. I don’t really enjoy it,’ but that’s what you do,” Gavin McInnes said on Get Off My Lawn. “I wouldn’t be surprised if it doesn’t have the same trauma as it would for a middle-class white girl in the suburbs because it’s so entrenched into their culture.”

Some Latinos were scared to even go to work on the day of the rally.

Credit; @ThisisHans / Twitter

Thankfully, Portland police tricked the Proud Boys into crossing a bridge and then barricading it to put an entire body of water between the two sides. Officers confiscated several weapons on the day of the event, and wouldn’t allow flag poles in the crowd for fear of it being weaponized.

PopMob’s counter-protest fundraiser was inspired by the residents of Wunsiedel, Germany.

Credit: @ER_Bayern / Twitter

Neo-Nazis had been marching through their town every November for years. Usually, the town ignores the haters. Last November, the town flooded the streets to mockingly cheer the Neo-Nazis on. That’s because the town had pledged to donate ten euros for ever meter the Neo-Nazis marched to EXIT Deutschland, an anti-Nazi organization that helps folks escape white supremacist organizations. By the time the Neo-Nazis crossed the finish line, they were dazed and confused by the cheering, and the cheerful banner that notified them that, by marching, they had donated 10,000 euros to EXIT Deutschland.

You can participate in the cause and make a donation for every white supremacist who attended the alt-right rally.

Credit: @exitdeutschland / Twitter

This is the kind of counter-protest that might actually prevent future white supremacist rallies. If the Proud Boys know that, next time they show up in Portland, their presence might help even one undocumented person stay in the US of A, they might reconsider. Might as well put their presence to some good.

In the words of PopMob’s fundraiser itself, “Let’s take their hate and use it to fundraise for Causa so they can protect more immigrant families. Together we can build an Oregon that welcomes ALL Oregonians!”

READ: An Alleged White Supremacist Took The Life Of 6-Year-Old Steven Romero At California’s Garlic Festival And Our Hearts Ache

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Behind On Rent, Some Undocumented Residents Are Self-Evicting Rather Than Risking The Legal System

Things That Matter

Behind On Rent, Some Undocumented Residents Are Self-Evicting Rather Than Risking The Legal System

Brandon Bell / Getty Images

Eviction is a terrifying prospect. Even more so amid a global pandemic and economic uncertainty. Imagine losing your house – a place you’ve called home with your family for months or even years. Unfortunately, it’s a reality that millions are facing as the Coronavirus pandemic wreaks havoc on the global economy, millions are plunged into unemployment, and millions more struggle to make ends meet – including the most basic necessity of paying the rent.

Several cities and states have enacted temporary rent freezes or holds on evictions but landlords are still threatening their renters with evictions. Some of the most vulnerable communities – such as undocumented residents – are left feeling hopeless and with no where to turn since they may be afraid to seek legal help and have less access to government-funded resources. As a result, many undocumented residents are choosing to self-evict rather than risk going up against a hostile legal system.

A new report details how many undocumented migrants are choosing to self-evict instead of fighting back.

The Texas Tribune published a feature story on a hard-to-track aspect of the coronavirus pandemic: Undocumented immigrants are “self-evicting” from apartments, even while eviction moratoriums are in place, out of fear of retribution. 

“On paper, an undocumented tenant has the same rights as anyone else during the eviction process,” the report says. “But housing attorneys and tenant and immigration advocates say undocumented immigrants are frequently hesitant to exercise those options. Their fear of the legal system and lack of access to government-funded financial help prompt many to self-evict, or prematurely leave the property.”

In some cases, undocumented immigrants don’t qualify for certain government assistance programs that could help them keep up with rent or remain in their homes, the report says. In other cases, some are afraid to seek assistance because they don’t want to attract attention from immigration officials, according to the report.

Because of that, some undocumented immigrants choose to leave their homes even before a formal eviction is filed, turning to family members and community organizations for emergency housing. Immigrants have also lost their jobs at higher rates during the pandemic than other groups.

The legal system is a hostile one towards undocumented residents and help perpetuate fear in the community.

As the Coronavirus pandemic’s economic effects began to be felt across the country, many renters found temporary relief in eviction moratoriums, federal pandemic relief payments, unemployment checks and rental assistance programs. Undocumented migrants, though, either don’t qualify for such aid or are afraid that merely seeking it will alert immigration authorities to their presence in a country whose president has called some immigrants “animals,” makes racist remarks and consistently tries to create barriers for migrants.

Meanwhile, courthouses are intimidating places. And the mere idea that ICE officials are sometimes present in them (and they have indeed arrested undocumented immigrants who have shown up for court hearings that a unrelated to their immigration status) has left many too fearful to even attempt a legal challenge to a potential eviction.

For some, it’s also a language barrier as not all legal systems provide bilingual services.

In the report, Adriana Godines, of Dallas Area Interfaith, says that “When they want to ask for help from a nonprofit, and the staff only speaks English, they feel intimidated and don’t want to go on.” She adds “Even if I tell them that there will be no problem and they won’t ask for your Social Security, they prefer not to [ask for help].”

And even people who go to the justice of the peace courts, where eviction cases are heard, face similar hurdles.

“A lot of JP courts won’t have bilingual speakers,” said Lizbeth Parra-Davila, a housing fellow at the University of Texas School of Law. “Throughout Texas, that has been the case where I’ll call JP courts and they’ll say, ‘Yeah, we don’t have any Spanish speakers. We don’t have any Spanish interpreters.”

However, there are resources out there for undocumented residents facing evictions.

Credit: Bebeto Matthews / Getty Images

States from California to Connecticut have implemented varying degrees of aide to undocumented immigrants within their states. In Connecticut for example, the state has issued a $1 million fund aimed at supporting immigrants with rent payments. In California, the state is working to make unemployment benefits available to undocumented residents, which would go a long way in helping people pay their rent. The state has also launched a fund that provides up to $1,000 in financial assistance to undocumented residents in the state. You can learn more here.

NAKASEC’s Emergency Mutual Aid Fund will provide up to $500 in financial assistance, you can find the application here.

There are many other programs available to the community in states all across the country. Several resources are detailed further at InformedImmigrant.com.

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Trump Ignores Constitution To Target Undocumented Residents In 2020 Census Once Again

Things That Matter

Trump Ignores Constitution To Target Undocumented Residents In 2020 Census Once Again

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Despite losing his battle to put a citizenship question on the 2020 Census (the case made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court), Trump’s attack on undocumented residents isn’t over yet. This time, the president is targeting states who have large undocumented communities by excluding them from Congressional reapportionment. In particular, Trump wants to exclude them from the numbers used to determine how many seats in Congress each state will have for the next 10 years.

It’s a blatant attempt to subvert the constitutional requirement that the census conduct “an actual enumeration” of the “whole number of free persons” in the U.S. There have been legislative and regulatory tweaks over the years to accommodate unusual situations — omitting, say, foreign diplomats and their families in the country at the time of the count — but there is nothing in the Constitution that says people must be citizens to be counted for purposes of reapportionment

Trump targets undocumented residents once again in a new executive order.

Trump issued an executive order that calls for an unprecedented change to the constitutionally mandated count of every person living in the country. His directive instructs the U.S. Census Bureau to not count undocumented immigrants for purposes of apportioning seats in the House of Representatives, targeting states like California, Texas and New York with large communities of residents who lack a legal immigration status.

If enacted, however, the policy could have a seismic political impact, as states can gain or lose seats in the House every 10 years after the census, depending on how their populations compare to others. The census data is also used to allocate federal resources to states and local communities, however, Trump’s order doesn’t target this funding.

Dale Ho, an ACLU attorney who fought against Trump’s proposed citizenship question, signaled that a new lawsuit could be in the works against Tuesday’s directive. 

“The Constitution requires that everyone in the U.S. be counted in the census. President Trump can’t pick and choose. He tried to add a citizenship question to the census and lost in the Supreme Court,” Ho said in statement. “His latest attempt to weaponize the census for an attack on immigrant communities will be found unconstitutional. We’ll see him in court, and win, again.”

Congress represents all people in their states – not just citizens.

The U.S. has long counted non-citizens, including undocumented residents, for the purpose of congressional apportionment. The Constitution says that each state must have at least one representative, and that the apportionment of others should be based on an enumeration of the population.

Therefore, Trump’s authority to exclude unauthorized immigrants is expected to face court challenges, as it appears to be a direct attack on the constitution and the 14th Amendment.

Until the 14th Amendment was ratified in the 1860s, enslaved African Americans were counted as three-fifths of a person for congressional apportionment. American Indians “not taxed” were excluded until 1940.

The 14th Amendment also requires the enumeration of “the whole number of persons in each State.”

The new order comes after the Trump administration has repeatedly tried to change the 2020 Census.

Trump’s new order is part of an ongoing effort to exclude undocumented residents, and part of his campaign to fundamentally change how the government conducts its census every 10 years.

Late last year, the Trump administration proposed including a question on U.S. citizenship during the 2020 census. But its efforts do so, which it said were aimed at enforcing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, elicited a flurry of legal challenges that ended up at the Supreme Court, which blocked the administration from adding the question in time for the questionnaires to be printed.

During the litigation over the question, it was revealed that Thomas Hofeller, a now deceased conservative political operative, played a role in helping the administration craft the justification for the citizenship question addition, which he said in a 2015 study would allow officials to draw electoral maps advantageous to “Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites.”

Trump’s order could have a major impact on several states’ representation in Congress.

Several U.S. states have large undocumented residents populations and many of them regularly vote Democratic. This order, if enacted, would have a major effect on congressional representation and would shift political power away from reliably blue states to reliably red states.

Two of the states losing electoral votes — California and New York — are reliably Democratic. Two states gaining — Alabama and Ohio — usually vote Republican.

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