Letter from the Publisher: One year after the presidential election, where do we go from here?

In the early morning on Nov. 8, 2016, I and my team were talking to voters at different polling stations in Westside, Eastside and Williamsville. That day, everyone was waiting to hear who would be the 45th President of United States of America.

I personally was very excited about the election because it was my first time covering the USA presidential elections. In all the interviews we did at polling stations, most of all voters were expecting Hillary Clinton to be elected. But the next morning, many people were disappointed to hear that Donald Trump won and would be the next president.

On the morning of Nov. 9, I interviewed a refugee woman from Africa. She couldn’t speak—only cry. “I voted for Hillary Clinton and I was very disappointed,” she said. “I can’t believe Trump will run this country….I hope he won’t send us back in our country.”

On Jan. 20 of this year, Inauguration Day, President Trump said, in his inaugural address, “We are one nation—and their pain is our pain. Their dreams are our dreams; and their success will be our success. We share one heart, one home, and one glorious destiny.”

However, a week later, President Trump signed an executive order stopping all refugee admissions and barring travel from seven Muslim-majority countries titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” In the months that followed, the Trump administration enacted more anti-refugee and immigrant policies including ending DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). Despite Trump’s inauguration speech promises, many refugees and immigrants stopped feeling comfortable living in this country.

And now, one year after President Trump was elected, his administration has made things even worse, especially for those who were seeking asylum or intending to come to the U.S. Many of the families expected to settle here were denied to entry. Many others were deported back to their countries of origin.

Not only has his policies affected refugees or immigrants, but they have affected some of the employees working for different organizations and businesses. People were fired and others quit because of low numbers of the people seeking their help. “We lost many colleagues after election. We used to host between 20 and 25 families a one month, but today it is very hard to host even one family in one month,” said a friend of mine working for one resettlement agency located in Buffalo.

The president should think about the history of this country and how much of its success is owed to immigrants. And of course, today, immigrants and refugees are still making a huge and positive impact in the country. What do we do as a country when many feel proud about being here and welcomed, while others feel rejected and threatened with deportation? It is not the time to judge people by their religion, country, or their past, but instead what they can offer right now to improve this country. I hope President Trump keeps this in mind and becomes more reasonable about his immigrant and refugee policies as his second year in office approaches.

Thank you.

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