President-elect Donald Trump's hard-line stance on immigration—which includes the pledge to deport millions of undocumented men and women and/or cancel amnesties granted by President Barack Obama—could affect thousands of Idahoans.
Boise-based immigration attorney Maria Andrade, who opened Andrade Legal in 2001, has hosted a series of conversations regarding those concerns since Trump's election on Nov. 8.
"The idea that there were people we care about, at home, feeling scared in that moment with nowhere to go—that was unacceptable," Andrade said. "We wanted to make sure people could at least get their questions answered."
According to Andrade, the people she has spoken with say they have been targeted based on religion, asked about whether citizenship can be revoked (it can't) and discussed worries about personal safety—many people have experienced harassment spurred by rhetoric in the election.
Boise-based Centro de Comunidad y Justicia, a Latino-focused nonprofit, has hosted similar discussions with immigrants around Idaho. During a recent meeting in Caldwell, one immediate concern was the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, Obama's executive order granting temporary stays of deportation to nearly 800,000 immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. Though the future of DACA is uncertain, Centro Director Sam Byrd reminded attendees there is bipartisan support for a congressional bill to maintain those protections. Changing immigration legislation will take time, he said, and there are lawyers and lawmakers ready to fight for immigrants' rights.
Meanwhile, Byrd is helping people prepare for the incoming Trump presidency by encouraging families to plan for worst case scenarios, offering legal help and reminding them of their constitutional rights—regardless of immigration status—in the face of detainment or intimidation.
"What we don't know is what is going to happen," Byrd. "But knowledge is power. If you know your rights, you're better suited to defend them."