WASHINGTON ― Jordon Dyrdahl-Roberts made headlines last Wednesday when he tweeted that he’d quit his government job rather than process paperwork that could lead to the arrest and deportation of undocumented immigrants.
Now he’s broke and out of work. But his stand against President Donald Trump’s treatment of immigrant families has inspired hundreds of people to reach out and say thanks ― and to set up a GoFundMe page for him. In a matter of days, as of Tuesday, they had raised more than $11,000 to help Dyrdahl-Roberts regain financial footing.
“I am deeply humbled,” he told HuffPost, choking up. “I’ve got some breathing room now.”
Dyrdahl-Roberts, 33, hadn’t planned on quitting his job as a legal secretary at the Montana Department of Labor and Industry, where he’d worked for more than six years. Money is already tight at his home in Helena, where he’s raising a four-year-old with his wife, who works as a substitute librarian.
But when he was told last week to start processing subpoenas from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which, under Trump, has been cracking down on undocumented immigrants, he said he couldn’t live with himself if he had a role in breaking up families. He said the stories people have shared with him since he quit have erased any doubts he had about whether he made the right choice.
“I’ve had Dreamers reach out and say thank you,” said Dyrdahl-Roberts, referring to undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children. “One person told me their grandmother was a Holocaust survivor and if someone hadn’t made a choice like mine, they wouldn’t have survived. I wept.”
It would have been my responsibility to prepare the information and hand them off to ICE.
I refuse to aid in the breaking up of families. I refuse to just “follow orders.”
This isn’t an easy decision as it puts me in a delicate financial position.
– Jordon Dyrdahl-Roberts (@dyrbert) February 8, 2018
Dyrdahl-Roberts said his family fully supported his decision to quit, despite the financial strain it would put on them. His job was relatively low-level and he doesn’t expect his resignation to stop the department from processing ICE subpoenas to potentially track down undocumented immigrants in the state.
But Dyrdahl-Roberts said he hopes he’s “thrown things into chaos” for a bit and is “maybe buying people a few more days with their family.”
Ironically, the person who set up his fundraising page is Juli Briskman, who got fired last fall for flipping off Trump’s motorcade in a photo that went viral. Strangers rallied around “she-ro” Briskman and raised tens of thousands of dollars to help her out, too.
Briskman told HuffPost on Tuesday that she decided to set up a GoFundMe page for Dyrdahl-Roberts after she saw his tweets about quitting his job and felt like they resonated with her concerns about Trump’s “creeping authoritarianism.”
“Jordon stood his ground and said I’m not going do this. He resigned his job. He did it at a risk to his family, perhaps his career. I thought, ‘This guy is taking a stand and someone needs to support him,'” said Briskman. “People called me brave, but I think he is way more brave than me.”