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Related Categories: U.S. | Immigrant Rights
Immigrants Feel Broaden Risk During Fires
by Ryan Gopar
Friday Nov 15th, 2019 3:36 PM
This is an opinion piece on the anxiety endured by the immigrant population. While referencing events in northern California, the climate of fear is throughout all of the United States. This piece is meant to raise awareness of and for immigrants, in relation to the Public Charge Rules.
Fleeing from fires and seeking refuge exasperates anxiety for immigrants. Immigrants documents or not, fear exposure to ICE and risks of deportation for themselves and their families. The Kincade fire is now 100% contained and the path towards normalcy begins. The fire forced many residents of Sonoma County to evacuate their homes, either finding a place to stay with family or head to a local shelter. Karen Fies, Department Director for Sonoma County’s Human Services Department, expressed that the Tubbs Fire in 2017 showed the reluctance of immigrants to seek evacuation with local shelters. It was that previously experienced anxiety which lead to the Press Democrat report that shelters would accept all evacuees regardless of immigration status. ICE did not have access to the shelters, yet fear of detainment while seeking aid persisted. The anxiety of entering an evacuation center needs to be addressed. The fire’s containment does not lessen the fear immigrants continue to live with on a daily basis.

Prior to the Fires, The Washington Post reported on Federal judges partly blocking The Trump’s administration “public charge” rule in California, Texas, and New York. Along with Washington, Illinois and Maryland district courts have ordered its rule cannot be enforced. The “public charge” rule would essentially make immigrants ineligible for green cards if they are considered a burden to the government and using public benefits. These changes would make disqualify immigrants from receiving assistance from programs such as Medicaid, SNAP, TANF, or federal housing vouchers.

The Trump’s administration has launched a brazen attack against low income immigrants. Misinformation has spread as many families needing assistance and how do qualify become scared to seek it. California’s high cost of living is unarguable as more companies make the news donating to assist the housing crisis. Yet while money is being pledged the need for supplemental aid for all California’s persist. Immigrants in California and across the nation, however fear seeking aid routing to work harder then ever seeking to legally attain their green cards and hoping to become US citizens.

Trump’s administration misinformation has spread creates a climate of fear within the immigrant population, which is amplified by the chaos of devastating fires. Immigrants are individuals who are not fully dependent on the government, but at times need some assistance. We must continue to work against these unlawful rulings. Immigrants are entitled to human rights and we must ensure they are aware of them, represented, and fight alongside them.
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