We believe that our efforts to end domestic violence must be grounded in a strong resolve for building laws and communities that welcome and respect immigrants, center the lived experiences of immigrants and survivors, and integrate immigrants into the fabric of our society. This means choosing inclusion, choosing compassion, and centering approaches and solutions that choose all of us.
We must acknowledge that America’s immigration system is built on “othering” black and brown people. Our immigration system is rooted in questions of whether slaves with African descent, even if they were born in the U.S., could be citizens. It continued with questions about whether Japanese people or Indian people were considered white, and therefore eligible to be granted citizenship. Family-based immigration systems were built with the idea that more Europeans would emigrate to the U.S. Even to this day, U.S. Immigration limits are set to how many people can emigrate from non-European countries. Check out this Webinar on History and the Law for a thorough understanding of the racial dynamics at play in our immigration system:
Using vulgar language to target immigrants from an entire continent or region from the Presidential seat perpetuates the dark history of the U.S. by diminishing black people’s struggle in this country and causes African immigrants (especially those who are overcoming political persecution and economic instability) to live in fear during this confusing socio-political climate. Internationally, it also causes panic in the non-profit community in African countries dependent on foreign aid to address pressing global development and global health issues.
Africa has 54 countries with rising economies, innovative entrepreneurs, intelligent youth, diversity, and natural resources. Africa also has countries where poverty alleviation is a pressing issue, political instability affects social and economic growth, and genocide affected generations of people. And often times, African countries have a complex combination of these things.
On the start of this weekend where we honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., we want to say affirmatively that we choose all of us. The economic, racial, and social justice that he fought for is nowhere in these hateful remarks. Instead we find love and strength and Dr. King’s legacy in communities where people are standing up for black lives, welcoming immigrants, and celebrating our shared values.