Crisis on the U.S.-Mexico Border

Posted on July 03, 2018

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“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

The sentence above from the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America is often considered the most famous sentence in the English language. Further legal clarification of the scope of the statement as reflected in later US laws indicates the term “men,” includes women and children. We need to remember our own heritage as we view with horror what is happening to families on our southern border.

The people in crisis on our southern border are from Latin America. Many are targets of violence and instability in their home countries, have lost family members, and have viable claims for asylum. The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has noted that the detention of families, parents and children, who pose no flight risk or danger to the community is simply unacceptable. It abrogates our international responsibility to refugees and goes against our country’s most fundamental values.

The Center for New North Carolinians is committed to the best of US principles and to assisting immigrant families as they integrate into our state and nation. We recognize that migration is part of human history, and it is important to assure the safety of people as they adapt to changing realities.

We recognize that our nation has fallen short of these principles in the past. We stole land from the first Americans. We kidnapped people from Africa, brought them here and enslaved them in our country. During World War II, we placed US citizens of Japanese ancestry into internment camps. Our intervention in Latin American countries in the last fifty years is also a history of supporting dictatorships, and US and international corporate expansion undermining traditional principles of stability and democracy in those countries. There are other times we have fallen short of our declared beliefs in equality and freedom. However, through efforts of those who embrace the best of our values we have been able to overturn some of these injustices, and we continue to struggle with others.

It is imperative that we stand up for the families who are isolated, separated, incarcerated, at our border. They deserve their day in court, their freedom from oppression, their opportunity to pursue their unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

We need to embrace our legacy as a safe haven for the persecuted and stop subjecting bonafide refugees and asylum seekers to further trauma by locking them up while they pursue their lawful claims to protection. Family separation and family detention must end.

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