As they say in sports, a good defense is a good offense.
So it's enlightening to see a wide array of groups ranging from churches, civic organizations, schools, veterans, politicos and plain community people taking a united front as D-Day approaches and Donald Trump is sworn in as president.
Hey, Donald, you want to mess with the lives of millions of undocumented immigrants who contribute and support this country?
"Bring it on!" says the resistance.
"We have all heard the insults, we have all heard the lies and we have all heard the threats," said California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Paramount, referring to Trump's tough campaign talk against undocumented immigrants. "If you want to get to them, you have to go through us."
Some Republicans were quick to react.
“Today, Democrats stole a page out of President-elect Trump’s campaign playbook and pushed a rhetorical, divisive agenda designed to inflame tensions many of us seek to soothe," Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes of Yucca Valley wrote in a press release.
"California has the highest poverty rate in the nation, our roads our crumbling, and the cost of housing is double the national average. The campaign is over and it’s time to come together and move forward as Californians.”
It is true that Trump is now speaking out of the other side of his mouth, indicating that maybe he won't try to deport or make life miserable for all 11 million undocumented immigrants, which is what he told his supporters over and over again on the campaign trail.
Referring to young undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers who were given temporary deportation protection and work permits through an executive order by President Obama, Trump told Time magazine there might be a way to accommodate them.
"We’re going to work something out that’s going to make people happy and proud,” Trump told the magazine. “They got brought here at a very young age, they’ve worked here, they’ve gone to school here. Some were good students. Some have wonderful jobs. And they’re in never-never land because they don’t know what’s going to happen.”
People aren't buying the new Donald. And rightly so. In just a few weeks since the election, a slew of organizations are taking action.
Most encouraging is the position taken by higher education officials that run the University of California, California State University and California Community Colleges systems. The CCC Chancellor's Office issued the following guidelines for all its campuses Dec. 5:
• The Chancellor's Office will not release any personally identifiable student information, including any data related to immigration status, without a judicial warrant, subpoena or court order unless authorized by the student or required by law.
• The Chancellor's Office will not cooperate with any federal effort to create a registry of individuals based on any protected characteristics such as religion, national origin, race or sexual orientation.
• The Chancellor's Office will continue to advocate for educational opportunities for all students in the community college system, regardless of immigration status, at the state and federal level.
• District police departments should not detain, question or arrest any individual solely on the basis of (suspected) undocumented immigration status.
• Districts should not cooperate with any federal effort to create a registry of individuals based on any protected characteristics such as religion, national origin, race or sexual orientation.
And if immigration raids start happening, activists are urging people to use social media to alert the community. There must be an app for that.
According to the state Department of Education, Hispanic students make up 64 percent of all public school students in grades K-12 in Kern County and it's anybody's guess how many of these are undocumented. Many others either have a family member or know of someone who is undocumented.
That's why the issue hits home and religious groups realize that as well. Key among them is the Catholic Church, a traditional ally of undocumented immigrants.
Locally, the Diocese of Fresno is co-hosting a three-day event in Modesto from Feb. 16-19 titled "Meeting of Popular Movements." The purpose is to push for social justice between grassroots groups and the Church.
Immigration is high on the list, said Teresa Dominguez, spokesperson for the diocese, which includes Kern County. Also on board is the American GI Forum, a veterans organization initially started in 1948 to help Latino veterans obtain VA benefits.
Undoubtedly it will take a coalition of diverse groups to fight off attempts by Trump and his allies to try to roll back gains beneficial to immigrants. And in the long run, who knows? Maybe even Congress — remember those guys? — will see the light and craft a fair and humane immigration policy.
Happy New Year!
Contributing columnist Jose Gaspar is a reporter for KBAK/KBFX Eyewitness News. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. His work appears here every third Monday; the views expressed are his own.