Community members at the town hall forum in Jersey City, N.J. on Jan. 29, 2017.

More than 50 community members attended a town hall forum on Jan. 29, 2017 at the Philippine Community Center in Jersey City, N.J., aimed at tackling the impacts of the Trump Administration on the Filipino community.

The town hall forum was held a couple of days after President Donald Trump signed a series of anti-immigrant executive orders.

Jersey City Council President Rolando Lavarro, Jr. spoke at the forum.

He said in part, “As he did on the campaign, Trump continues to appeal to the worst in us, sowing fear and divisiveness. Trump’s executive orders unfairly target Muslims, and are an affront to Jersey City and our incredibly diverse community. We will resist and fight the hatred bigotry coming out of D.C. We will stand with and protect our immigrant family in Jersey City and throughout the nation.”

Nick Cordero, chairperson of Migrante New Jersey, a Filipino immigrant workers’ organization, in his opening remarks said, “The recent executive orders by Trump are an attack on all immigrants. The past few days have further shown the gravity of the threat that all migrant and immigrant communities are facing. It is in that context that we call on the Filipino community to come together, take a stand and link arms with other vulnerable communities to fight against what we believe is a rising fascist state.”

Maricar Taino, President of the Philippine-American New Jersey Jaycees, said: “It is important because it is when we, as a community with leaders and fellow Filipinos come closer together, unified, informed, engaged, equip and support one another of concerns and issues and committing for a sustainable solutions and development.”

The town hall forum tackled the impacts on health, reproductive rights, public education and immigration.

Jersey City Council President Rolando Lavarro, Jr. speaks at the town hall forum.

Atty. Cristina Godinez of the Migrant Center at the Church of St. Francis of Assisi spoke about Donald Trump’s controversial executive orders.

“The two EOs are just the beginning. They are un-American not just because they go against the proud history of the U.S. as a nation of immigrants. These EOs pose a national security risk because they drive the undocumented deeper into the shadows. Non-citizens who had or will have any encounter with law enforcement — no matter how minor — are at risk. The EO’s language is so broad that this Trump dragnet will potentially capture TNTs, those who are here as tourists, students or temporary workers, and even green card holders — most of whom are peaceful, productive members of our communities,” said Godinez.

Godinez also discussed the possible impact on the Filipino community.

“The chilling effect on the Filipino-American community will be palpable because among those who will be affected will be someone’s parent, child, spouse, friend or neighbor. We need to prepare and strengthen our local communities now,” Godinez ended.

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