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Immigration and Science Marches: What You Need to Know

Women's_March_Topeka,_KS_2017_(32072049010)

To be America or not to be America. If, in order to protect America, we turn America into something it isn’t, how are we protecting America?

That is the question we’re facing in the lead-up to three mass demonstrations: the March for Science on April 22, the People’s Climate March on April 29, and the Immigrants and Workers March on May 1.

The science and immigration marches have more in common than meets the eye.

The Trump administration’s recent budget proposes investing $2.6 billion into the border wall and “tactical infrastructure” such as security cameras. At the same time, it slashes $2.6 billion from the Environmental Protection Agency. The budget allots $1.5 billion to building new immigration detention facilities and funding the mass deportation machine. It cuts $1.7 from the Department of Energy, including $900 million from the Office of Science, which supports research in climate change, physics, energy and biology.

The marches for science, climate and immigrants call for creating policy based on promoting our values, not stoking our fears. They are also all marches for policy based on evidence and reality, not on “alternative facts” about immigrants and science.

The budget also infamously cuts $1.2 billion from after-school and summer programs that benefit the most vulnerable students, including immigrants and people of color. And it eliminates about $1 billion from various arts, humanities and cultural programs. Meanwhile, it increases military spending by $54 billion.

The trends are clear. This administration is heaping huge amounts of money on defending the country from grossly exaggerated threats (“Make no mistake, we are in fact a nation under attack,” said Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly in a recent speech, seemingly lumping together undocumented immigrants, rapists, drug dealers, transnational criminal organizations, and terrorists.)

At the same time, they’re taking funds away from everything that makes the nation worth defending: diversity, discovery, progress, fundamental human rights, immigrant contributions, science, art, culture, and the education of future generations.

The marches for science, climate and immigrants call for creating policy based on promoting our values, not stoking our fears. They are also all marches for policy based on evidence and reality, not on “alternative facts” about immigrants and science.

We’ve seen what happens when policies are based on alternative facts. When laying down his hardline immigration policies recently, Attorney General Jeff Sessions ignored the evidence that immigrants commit fewer crimes than native-born citizens. Instead, he conjured rare instances of undocumented immigrants committing severe crimes: “How else can we look the parents and loved ones of Kate Steinle, Grant Ronnebeck and so many others in eye and say we are doing everything possible to prevent such tragedies from ever occurring again?”

Sessions also announced recently that he was disbanding the nonpartisan National Commission on Forensic Science (made up of scientists) and returning the control of forensic science to law enforcement. Sessions ignored evidence from a panel of experts that showed this move could lead to even more false accusations in the criminal justice industry. This disastrous decision will disproportionately affect those most targeted by law enforcement: communities of color.

The Trump administration’s denial of the evidence for climate change and its rollback of the Clean Power Plan will adversely affect everyone on the planet. But it will hit poorer nations and communities of color – which are disproportionately impacted by air pollution – hardest. “Communities of color, low income communities, and indigenous communities stand to benefit from the implementation of the Clean Power Plan,” says Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr., President and CEO of Hip Hop Caucus. “If it is rescinded it will have significant public health impacts on our most vulnerable communities.”

The Trump administration’s policies present so many threats to American values and progress, the resistance must come from numerous fronts. Here’s what you need to know about the upcoming marches:

March for Science (April 22): In addition to the demonstration in Washington, D.C., there are 605 satellite marches around the world. You can also attend virtually. According to the organization’s website, “the March for Science champions robustly funded and publicly communicated science as a pillar of human freedom and prosperity. We unite as a diverse, nonpartisan group to call for science that upholds the common good and for political leaders and policy makers to enact evidence based policies in the public interest.” Discover more and find your local march here.

People’s Climate March (April 29): The People’s Climate Movement, which is hosting the march for climate, jobs and justice, is “a broad-based ground-breaking coalition of more than 50 faith-based, labor unions, indigenous, civil rights and environmental justice groups working together to build bold solutions that tackle climate change, rooted in economic and racial justice.” There will be a central march in Washington, D.C., plus hundreds of sister marches around the world. Find your local demonstration and more information here.

Immigrants and Workers March (May 1): Much like Day without Immigrants, this movement asks immigrants to stay home from work and close up businesses. (Immigrants run about a fifth of the country’s small businesses.) According to Reform Immigration for America, “We want Congress to stop funding the Trump administration’s mass deportation forces. Congress shouldn’t give the Trump administration any money for additional ICE agents, border patrol agents, detention beds, or a border wall. Congress must not give the Trump administration more resources to terrorize immigrant families and hurt the economy for all working people.” There will be demonstrations in Washington, D.C., New York City, Phoenix, and several other cities.