It’s been about a year and four months since Trump took office. Since then, a lot has changed.

Among other things, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has seen several severe threats, placing nearly 788,000 immigrant youth in a state of constant political limbo and uncertainty; a wave of punitive executive actions have passed criminalizing immigrants, extending detention, and curtailing basic protections of vulnerable immigrant populations, including detained pregnant women; and communities along the southern border are now confronting the threat of a border wall and increased militarization along the border.

It feels like every other day Trump issues a new policy, statement, or tweet that overtakes the news cycle and that fuels all sorts of speculation and, for many, panic.

Most recently, over the Easter weekend, Trump took to Twitter to lash out against the caravan of refugees currently making their way to the United States through Mexico. Targeting the caravan and criticizing a policy popularly known as “catch and release,” which curtails indefinite detention by allowing some immigrants to fight their cases from outside detention, Trump threatened (once more) there would be no more “DACA deal.”

But beyond the headlines and the tweets, how has Trump actually impacted residents and communities in the Rio Grande Valley?

That’s the question that the Voices of the Valley on Trump, a panel organized by the University of Texas at the Rio Grande Valley’s Department of Philosophy, will seek to explore.

The panel will feature the perspectives of a variety of immigration, legal, and media advocates, including from La Union del Pueblo Unido (LUPE), the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights, and Neta. Dr. Mariana Alessandri, a UTRGV Assistant Professor of Philosophy, will moderate.

Alessandri shared with me that panel would aim to move beyond speculation and into the “hard data,” as well as provide students and audience members with concrete information on immigration trends and changes in the Rio Grande Valley since Trump’s inauguration. It will also pose the question of the role that residents play in their communities and these changes.

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Although Alessandri believes that the data speaks for itself, she says it’s ultimately up to each individual to make their “own conclusions.”What: Voices of the Valley on Trump
When: April 24, 2018, 12:15 PM
Where: Education complex EEDUC 1.102