Politics of Poverty

Immigrant communities under threat

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Source: http://cbsloc.al/2iOmMIJ

Oxfam is advocating with elected officials to support policy initiatives that promote immigration reform, protect immigrants’ basic human rights and keep families together.

In a floor speech last week before his colleagues in Congress, long-time immigrant rights legislator Luis Guttierez (D-IL) stated that he was hoping for the best but preparing for the worst in regards to immigration.  He expressed deep concern that extreme voices in the immigration debate had gained the upper hand in the last election.

“…it is Trump’s lieutenants who worry most of us.  The truth is that among the new President’s key advisors are some of the staunchest opponents of legal immigration.”

We should all be worried. Candidate Trump promised to build the wall, kick out Dreamers (DACA recipients), and round up and deport two to three million “criminal aliens” for deportation back to their countries.

While President-elect Trump flip-flops on his statements from one moment to the next, it is the Congressional Republicans who are introducing the bills targeting immigrants in Washington, DC and at the state level. For example, Republicans in Georgia are pushing at least four anti-immigrant bills including one that would block the state from accepting federal refugee resettlement funding.  Another would start a new fee for out-of-state wire transfers many immigrants and refugees use to send money to their families abroad. Other measures would cut state funding to private universities that don’t comply with immigration laws and ban immigrants without legal status from paying in-state tuition.

But immigrants are even more worried and are preparing for the worst.  In cities and communities across the United States they are packing a few belongings lest Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) comes knocking at their door, making arrangements for their children in case they are detained at work or when their kids are at school, or fixing headlights to prevent being stopped and detained at night.  They are storing up on extra hugs and memories to draw on should they be deported and their families torn apart.

But Oxfam is fighting back. We are joining forces with our allies in the immigrant community such as Alianza Americas to defend and protect the DACA program and to stop the coercion that some in Congress would pursue of “sanctuary cities”.  We are advocating with elected officials to support policy initiatives that promote immigration reform, protect immigrants’ basic human rights and keep families together.

Oxfam is also an official partner of the January 21, 2017 Women’s March on Washington.  We proudly endorse the Guiding Vision and Principles for the March, including its statement on immigration and refugees:

Rooted in the promise of America’s call for huddled masses yearning to breathe free, we believe in immigrant and refugee rights regardless of status or country of origin. It is our moral duty to keep families together and empower all aspiring Americans to fully participate in, and contribute to, our economy and society. We reject mass deportation, family detention, violations of due process and violence against queer and trans migrants. Immigration reform must establish a roadmap to citizenship, and provide equal opportunities and workplace protections for all. We recognize that the call to action to love our neighbor is not limited to the United States, because there is a global migration crisis. We believe migration is a human right and that no human being is illegal.

Of course, Oxfam has always worked to build just and sustainable development throughout the Americas and around the globe so people aren’t forced to leave their homes.  In Mexico and Central America we are working to end violence in general and violence against women in particular, to build a just economy with transparent and fair fiscal policies, and to build the skills that all people need to be resilient and productive in the changing climate. Our work is geared to address the root causes that force people to migrate in the first place. Until then, Oxfam will also continue to defend the right of all people to seek humanitarian protection from the violence and insecurity in their home countries.  Join us in protecting the Dreamers and to keeping families together!

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