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An anti-Trump display in Berlin. (Photo: Avaaz/flickr/cc)

The Resistance Abroad: Expats Rejecting Trump Administration

'We want to distance ourselves as much as possible from [President] Donald Trump'

Andrea Germanos

With actions big and small, it's clear that resistance within the U.S. to the Trump administration is swelling. But outside the nation's borders, expats are rising up to express opposition as well.

"There's something like 8 million Americans abroad," Roxanne Matiz, an American who attended a Nov. 19 protest in Paris, said to Vice. "I don't think they should be silenced just because they are not currently in the States."

The Japan Times explores on Wednesday how these immigrants—motivated by the election of President Donald Trump—have been organizing and getting involved, with events such as the recent Alliance for an Inclusive America spearheaded-march in Tokyo "to show support to those affected by the recent Muslim ban and other Trump administration actions impinging on the human rights of members of our shared global community."

"The ban. The wall. The othering. All end here," 56-year-old Ric Fouad told the crowd at that march last weekend.

Mexico is where roughly one million American citizens call home, and has been one of the targets of Trump's "threats and barbs."  One immigrant living there, Larry Pihl, said to Fox News: "As American expats we want to distance ourselves as much as possible from Donald Trump."

Twenty-three-year-old Sara Grossman, who now lives in Berlin, felt compelled by Trump's election to become more engaged in activism. German news outlet Deutsche Welle wrote that she "started donating to Planned Parenthood, the family planning center whose federal funding the Republican Party wants to cut. She also works with an organization that helps refugees learn how to code."

Some of the expats moved to show resistance are seeking out their local Democrats Abroad chapter. That group is the official Democratic Party arm for those living abroad.

One of them, Jennifer, a 29-year-old American who works in Frankfurt, told DW: "I feel a structured mechanism [like DA] to protest or organize from here might be more effective than what I do alone."

The Japan Times writes that Democrats Abroad Japan has been holding monthly meetings post-election, with that group's chair, Tom Schmid, saying, "It's time for us to organize, time for us to be positive by focusing on the issues we believe in and not just trying to tear down the Trump administration," adding, "So many people are paying attention now in a way that they didn't before. It's a great opportunity to tell people what we believe in."

Online, expats may turn to resources like the Facebook group American Expats Organising Against Donald Trump, which is "dedicated to organizing across Europe to put a stop to Donald Trump's agenda of fear and hate."

There's also the Indivisible Guide, the organizing manual written by former congressional staffers that is already fueling resistance efforts in towns across the U.S. and may also help guide organizing efforts abroad. Taking that manual as a starting point, one American living abroad, Nick Kilstein, has sought to take what is practical from that guide to expats. In a Google document, he suggests "the three things that expats can most readily do to resist the Trump Agenda are: (1) Coordinated calls; (2) Targeted donations; and (3) Forming a group of like-minded expats to coordinate donations and calls."

The Internal Revenue Service, meanwhile, said this month that the number of Americans who gave up their U.S. citizenship or became expats in 2016 was at a record high, with the number in the last quarter of the year being nearly twice that of the last quarter of 2015.


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