As many celebrate Valentine’s Day, 25-year-old Mexican immigrant Felipe Molina will kiss his boyfriend goodbye before heading to ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations office in Charlotte, North Carolina. According to Fusion, Molina received a removal notice on Christmas Eve, even though the Fourth Circuit of Appeals is currently reviewing his asylum case. He hopes ICE agents will grant him a stay.
Felipe, like many undocumented immigrants across the country, knows that at any moment he may have to leave behind the life he’s built. Though the undocumented community has lived with the fear of deportation well before Donald Trump assumed the presidency, his recent immigration order – which has expanded the definition of “criminal alien” to encompass a wider range of people – has sparked increased fear and confusion. And while flowers, candy, and other Valentine’s Day staples may not register high on their priorities this year, Define American and Welcome.us have launched a #ToImmigrantsWithLove, a campaign highlighting the importance of the immigrant community.
“#ToImmigrantsWithLove is basically a letter-writing campaign and we’re asking the community to write love letters, essentially, to immigrants in support of them. We’re collecting letters from teachers to their immigrant students, co-workers to their immigrant co-workers, neighbors to neighbors,” Leezia Dhalla, communications associate for Welcome.us, told me in a phone interview. “The whole point is just to talk about how we are standing with immigrants, we’re standing in solidarity with them. We’re supporting them.”
Launching today, the campaign’s backed by public figures like Constance Wu, Russell Simmons, Jose Antonio Vargas, and Cristela Alonzo. To participate, visit ToImmigrantswithLove.com to write your letter before sharing it on social media with the #ToImmigrantsWithLove hashtag. Below, check out some beautiful and uplifting letters lovingly dedicated to the immigrant community: