By David Luna, Executive Director
Immigration policy demands honest, good-faith debate. Yet too much of our national dialogue has lost its grounding in facts and common values, peddling falsehoods, fears, and hate instead. Today’s truth is that families are being hurt. Our moral compass as a nation has been skewed.
To counter the deeply troubling narratives currently shaping immigration policy and perceptions around this issue, we declare the following statements in line with our values, and in solidarity with families, who deserve just and humane treatment, regardless of background.
Immigrants are not “invaders” – they are families fleeing physical violence and political oppression; they are seeking safety and an opportunity to build a better life.
The same is true of many of our own families before us. Outside of Native American communities, we are all immigrants. We are a nation of immigrants and it is the best of our national character to welcome immigrants.
False narratives are being used to claim that immigrants are mass perpetrators of crime, destruction, and murder.
These narratives are based on recycled “data,” long ago shown to be false. In fact, the data shows the exact opposite – that immigrants commit crimes at lower rates than the non-immigrant population, and that crime rates often go down in areas that experience an increase in immigration.
Outrageously, these and other false narratives, all of which are screens for anti-immigrant bias and hatred, are being used to call for depriving immigrant families of due process, for deporting them or barring them entry without even an appearance before a judge. This is both un-American and morally unacceptable.
Every effort must be made to locate all of the children that have been ripped from their families; every effort must be made to reunite these children with their families as soon as humanly possible.
Families belong together – period.
It is the responsibility of American lawmakers to find fair, humane, and sustainable solutions to immigration that are consistent with our American ideals.
To work toward such solutions is a duty, not a waste of time. As they discharge this duty, lawmakers must not perpetuate long-term horrors for the sake of addressing the horror of the moment. They must carefully consider whether legislating around the Flores settlement simply opens the door to indefinite, long-term incarceration of entire families.
Our nation is in a moment that requires action and dialogue; this is an opportunity to rise to the best of our national ideals and the best in our national character.
As we engage each other in this moment, we must all do our best to “go high,” recognizing our common humanity and treating each other accordingly.
Join the actions across the country.