Sunday’s San Francisco Chronicle had an above-the-fold front-pager with the print title “As Trump era nears, immigrants seek advice.” Of course, the subject is illegal aliens looking for an angle, not “immigrants” who are law-abiding people and don’t need to scam the system.
Unsurprisingly, the loyal friend of job-thieving foreigners — Catholic Charities — is leading the help brigade.
Senior Salazar does not approve of President-elect Trump, calling him “heartless” — in Spanish of course, since he is a moocher here only for the dollars, not to assimilate and become an American. Salazar claims he is “contributing” to America by “paying rent” — although he has actually stolen a citizen’s job.
Funny how these newspaper scribblers are always interested in the opinions of foreign lawbreakers. I can’t remember similar concern with the feelings of Kate Steinle’s parents regarding San Francisco’s decision to keep its sanctuary policy even after their daughter was shot dead by a five-times-deported alien criminal.
(Interestingly, the Chron did report a few days ago that some residents of the ultra-liberal city have a strain of NIMBY: SF supports immigrants — just not into our neighborhoods. Oops, even San Franciscans are not so devoted to diversity after all!)
Maybe President Trump will figure out that a good judo move might be to push for a journalist employment visa, since that is the only major jobs category not facing immigrant replacements. That strategy would strain the liberal values of reporters, which are probably not so deep when their jobs are the ones threatened by foreign diversity.
Immigrants seek guidance as Trump era nears, San Francisco Chronicle, December 17, 2016
Efrain Salazar, looking tired and down, sat in the waiting room of a drop-in immigration clinic on a recent afternoon because he couldn’t wait any longer.
His sister, a U.S. citizen, applied for permanent residency for Salazar, an immigrant from Mexico living in San Francisco illegally, in the late 1990s. He’s moved around a lot since then and taken a lot of different jobs, and he never bothered to find out where he was in the line for a green card. Until now.
“I’m wondering where I am in the process,” said the 63-year-old Potrero Hill resident, who works as a prep cook in a Marina neighborhood restaurant.
One person prompted Salazar’s sudden interest: President-elect Donald Trump. Salazar is one of many immigrants without documentation who are anxious about their fates under the Trump administration and are turning to drop-in immigration clinics for legal advice.
“The way he acts is not the way a president should act,” Salazar said as he waited. “He’s heartless.” Like the others interviewed at the clinic, he spoke in Spanish through an interpreter. “We came here to work, we’re paying rent, we’re contributing. Why is he discriminating so much against us?”
There are at least two dozen legal organizations that offer immigration assistance in San Francisco, and many of them run drop-in clinics in which a lawyer or an immigration counselor sits ready to help whoever walks in the door at little to no cost. Anecdotally, the clinics report more clients and a big increase in fear and anxiety since Trump’s election.
That was certainly the case at the nondescript offices of Catholic Charities at Eddy and Gough streets the other day. Salazar and 14 other immigrants showed up in the morning and scored the 15 available slots for the weekly clinic, while others were turned away. The lucky ones were told to come back that afternoon to wait for time with Beltrand Arellano, an immigration counselor and the only person offering legal guidance at the clinic that day.
“Even people here legally are anxious — asking, ‘Well, can they take it away?’” Arellano said. “I wasn’t getting those questions before Trump was elected.”
Nothing yet has changed about the country’s confusing immigration system, but the fear level certainly has.
Trump has pledged to immediately deport 2 million to 3 million immigrants who’ve had contact with the criminal justice system, to strip all federal funding from sanctuary cities that shield immigrants who lack documentation, and to build a wall along the Mexican border and compel Mexico to pay for it.
Already, drop-in clinics, including Catholic Charities, have quit processing applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, created by President Obama to protect immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children. Trump is widely expected to kill the program, and the application process cannot be completed before his inauguration next month.
If the immigrants who visit the clinic have some other case for obtaining legal residency, they’ll be advised on how to proceed. If there’s no legal way for them to remain in the country, they’re told that too. In that case, it’s like the meeting never happened, with no records kept and no notification to federal authorities.
Angela Chan is the policy director and a senior staff attorney at Asian Law Caucus, which runs a twice-a-month immigration clinic that attracts people from all over Northern California, some of whom drive hours for advice. She said their lawyers are telling immigrants to know their rights, including their right to remain silent if Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents try to speak to them and the right to refuse a search unless the agent has a warrant.
“We’re not going to tell them to self-deport, nothing like that,” Chan said. “It really is a time for communities to fight back and resist as much as possible.”
Back in the Catholic Charities waiting room, Milka Quiroga said she’s worried that all immigrants without documentation will be targeted by the Trump administration, even those like her, a 35-year-old Santa Rosa mother of two. She works as a nurse in a convalescent hospital.
She arrived from Bolivia legally with a student visa years ago, but it has long since expired. Her husband was granted political asylum and has since become a U.S. citizen. She visited the clinic to find out how to apply for citizenship through marriage. She said earning her citizenship is essential because her children are U.S. citizens by birth and she fears the family could be split up.
“I want to become a citizen right now,” she said. “I’m afraid with the new government, we don’t know what’s going to change. (Trump) says he will start with people who have criminal charges, but he could keep on going.”
Katherine Medina is a 29-year-old immigrant from Colombia who’s perfectly legal — she’s here on a tourist visa. It’s good for six months, and she said she refuses to overstay it. Medina’s husband is a legal U.S. resident, and she was finding out what her options were to remain here legally, too.
Unlike many others in the clinic waiting room, she was optimistic about Trump.
“American people have explained to me that he’s not racist, he just can’t talk or express himself,” she said. “I have faith that he’s going to be a good president because he’s a businessman.”
Finally, Salazar, the cook who’s been waiting for his green card for decades, was called to Arellano’s office. Arellano was able to determine that Mexicans whose U.S. citizen siblings had petitioned for their green cards on or before May 8, 1997, have been notified they’re eligible for a green card.
That includes Salazar, whose sister applied before then and who was sent a letter notifying him he qualifies for a green card. He never received the letter, but now his wait can end.