University Democrats rally outside Governor’s Mansion, call to end refugee rejection

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Photo Credit: Jack Myer | Daily Texan Staff

University Democrats gathered outside of the Governor’s Mansion on Sunday in protest of the governor’s decision to reject the resettlement of refugees in Texas.

This decision would make Texas the only state to reject refugee resettlement. A federal judge has temporarily blocked the Trump administration policy that allowed Gov. Greg Abbott to reject refugee resettlement, but University Democrats saw the need for a call to action, communication director Alex Evans said.

“It’s important for us as people, who feel like we are doing the right thing and are on the right side of history, to show solidarity … and to show refugees that even if our state government is against them, we are not,” Plan II honors freshman Evans said.

About 12 people showed up to chant “Texas is refuge” and share personal stories and stories of family members who immigrated or sought refuge. 

Dominic Selvera, candidate for Travis County attorney, said while the organized rally was not big, it was important. He said Greta Thunberg, a youth climate activist, set an example of how a small protest can have an impact.

“It can feel like sometimes you’re alone in the journey to fight for the things that matter, but all it takes is really a small group to make a difference,” Selvera said. 

Selvera said he has seen in his work as a defense attorney how not having citizenship can cause people to live with the constant threat of deportation. 

“It’s really easy for people going through their everyday lives just to not think about what other people are going through,” Selvera said. 

Wendy Rodriguez, communication and leadership junior, said she attended the rally because both her parents are immigrants.

“It’s really upsetting that, in this day and age, such hate and such division has infiltrated our leaders,” Rodriguez said. “Everyone should have a chance to come here.”

 

University Democrats president Alex Meed said he would like to see the government to rescind the executive order, but he doesn’t have faith that it will happen.

Meed, a public affairs graduate student, said this gathering would not only send a message to the governor but also lay the groundwork for more organizing.

“If nothing else, we sort of centered ourselves to sort of remind ourselves why we’re out here, why we’re fighting this fight — this very arduous fight — to give ourselves a better society,” Meed said.