November 4: What to expect the day after the Election and what it can mean for our immigrant communities.

Things to remember while you’re anxiously watching election results:

The Election will not be over on Election Day

With so many more voters voting by mail here and across the nation, because of the pandemic, it could take days or even weeks to count every vote.  This is something Washington voters are used to, but most of the country isn’t.  This delay could be further prolonged due to recounts in close elections, litigation between the political parties and other factors.  It’s even possible that one of the candidates could prematurely claim victory, when they actually didn’t win, and that could get very confusing.  Bottom line: every vote needs to be counted.

We will be faced with one of the following scenarios.

Scenario X – Joe Biden wins the election.  If this happens, get ready.  Significant immigration reform is back on the national agenda, especially if the Republican Party loses control of the US Senate.  Biden will also have the opportunity to overturn all of the President’s anti-immigrant executive actions and reform the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies.  Bottom line: Biden will do this, only if the movement – including us – makes him do it.

Scenario Y – Donald Trump says he won the election, when he didn’t.  If this happens, the appropriate response in a democracy is peaceful mass protest. It’s time to fill the streets.

Scenario Z – Donald Trump wins the election.  If this happens, get ready.  Things could get worse, especially if the Supreme Court (including newest Justice Amy Coney Barrett) defers to the President’s executive power.  Bottom line: We’ll continue to organize, build power for significant wins – like the $40 million WA COVID-91 Immigrant Relief Fund – and support each other until the next opportunity to elect a new President.

Whatever the outcome of the Presidential Election, our work to organize and build power in immigrant and refugee communities will continue.  We’ll need each other, so ready yourself for whatever may come.  

Don’t be afraid. Be prepared.

Members of our communities have expressed concerns about violence around the elections and what may be a prolonged vote-counting process.  Specifically, folks have raised fears over potential intimidation of voters in immigrant and refugee communities, over violent backlash from frustrated White supremacists in the event of a Biden lead or victory, and over the possibility of emboldened nativist activism in the event of a Trump lead or victory.  Folks may also recall that following the 2016 election, some immigrants (legal permanent, undocumented, etc.) stayed home from work and school out of fear that they could be deported by the new President, and much of this hit immigrant children particularly hard.

Bottomline: Don’t be afraid. Be prepared.

As the old saying goes, “Democracy isn’t a spectator sport.” The best way to build a community where all of us can thrive, is to take responsibility for shaping the future we envision where all of us belong.

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