US President Trump
US President Donald Trump holds up Executive Orders he signed in the Hall of Heroes at

At the end of last year, we issued a statement on the heels of Trumps election with regards to the climate of fear and harassment that had manifested in immigrant communities countrywide after the election of President Donald J. Trump. Since then, the situation for both documented and undocumented immigrants escalated due to increased enforcement of immigration laws and new executive orders. The January executive orders on immigration by President Trump’s administration have left many shocked, dismayed, fearful and confused about the orders and how they impact our community. 

As migrants from Malawi, the executive orders impact our community. Even though the media is focused on the Executive Order _Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States__ or (“__Muslim_ ban”) and how this disproportionately impacts Muslims, what’s often left out of these mainstream narratives is that all black immigrants will bear the brunt of this. Although this executive order mentioned Libya, Somalia, and Sudan specifically, the on-going practice of profiling in the law enforcement and immigration systems mean all African immigrants are at greater risk. Although this portion of the executive orders has been suspended temporarily, it is important to understand that the executive orders had a broader agenda on immigration reforms beyond a “Muslim ban” which target all immigrants. This means that other parts of the executive orders on immigration are still in
effect and apply to immigrants and migrants regardless of faith or country of origin.

The Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI) has prepared a memo summarizing the executive orders and the ways which they impact immigrant communities which we have attached to this email but is also on their website.
Some pertinent information we would like to highlight reprinted from the document are that it includes:

* DETENTION OF NON-CITIZENS APPREHENDED ON SUSPICION OF VIOLATING _ANY _FEDERAL OR STATE LAW pending proceedings regarding those violations. These violations are not limited to immigration related offenses such as border crossing or immigration fraud; they also include state and federal criminal offenses. HENCE, THIS PROVISION WILL ALSO AFFECT GREEN CARD HOLDERS ACCUSED OF A DEPORTABLE OFFENSE UNDER THE ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION REFORM AND IMMIGRANT RESPONSIBILITY ACT OF 1996 (one of the
laws commonly referred to as “the 1996 laws”)
* EXPANDED ENFORCEMENT PRIORITIES.  Prioritize removal (deportation) of non-citizens who:

(b) Have BEEN CHARGED WITH ANY CRIMINAL OFFENSE, where such charge has not been resolved;
(d) Have engaged in fraud or willful misrepresentation in connection with any official matter or application before a governmental agency;
(e) Have abused any program related to receipt of public benefits;
(f) Are subject to a final order of removal, but who have not compliedwith their legal obligation to depart the United States; or
(g) In the judgment of an immigration officer, otherwise pose a risk to public safety or national security.

Like previous administrations, this administration is entitled to establish immigration enforcement priorities. Nonetheless, the new enforcement priorities are egregiously broad. In its broadest interpretation, ALL  ONCITIZENS THAT HAVE COMMITTED ANY ELEMENT OF A CRIMINAL OFFENSE, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THEY ACTUALLY FACE CRIMINALCHARGES, ARE AN ENFORCEMENT PRIORITY.

These provisions are troublesome as public defenders have become adept at assisting their clients with avoiding convictions for deportable offenses. We expect that this provision will face constitutional challenges as it raises significantdue process concerns.

We encourage you to read their full document [1] because we think it is important that you read first-hand information and share accurate and useful information about immigration. This is whether we are dealing
with lingering impacts of President Obama’s record deportations, the recent executive orders on immigration, or future changes in the immigration system as President Trump has stated that they are considering issuing new executive orders on immigration. In the backdrop of much uncertainty, we are asking the community to remain calm, yet vigilant. In response, we have compiled some information from advocacy organizations and legal advisors that we encourage you to read and take any necessary recommendations to ensure you are prepared in the event of
an immigration emergency. As you are aware, in the past few days ICE has increased roundups or raids of undocumented immigrants nationwide, including our area where people have been detained and are at an
increased risk of being deported.

As such, BAJI and Okay Africa have teamed up to deliver advice in the form of a Public Service Announcement video regarding the executive orders and what to do in a situation where your status is questioned.Please view the video here

Lastly, we have also attached information from the National Immigration Law Center [2] on what you can do to be prepared in advance of an immigration emergency. We encourage you to read the informationorg and get familiar with it regardless of your own current immigration status in case you may be of assistance to others. We also encourage you to share this information amongst your family, friends and networks.

As a reminder, whilst we would like Malawians to remain vigilant and informed, we remind you that having this information and being prepared alone, IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR LEGAL ADVICE. Whilst we will continue to
update the community on important information via our list serve, social media sties, or through workshops, we encourage you to always seek professional advice from an immigration attorney with follow-up questions or when faced with an immigration emergency.


Malawi Washington Association Executive Board

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