We believe that immigration systems should be changed to reflect principles of welcoming the stranger, keeping families together, and honoring the dignity of every human, including their right to live without fear. We believe that the United States has benefited significantly from the intellectual, cultural, economic, and spiritual contributions brought by our newest Americans and that we have gained much more from welcoming them than they have asked in return. We also acknowledge that where there are injustices and inadequacies in our immigration system, they have been most harmful to our Black and brown immigrants.
We believe that the United States has always existed in the tension between protecting individual freedoms and a colonial model of using stolen labor to extract wealth from the natural resources of stolen land and that this struggle has been reflected in White supremacist policies that define who can be an American. Borders have been drawn to label Mexican Americans and Indigenous Americans as “illegal” aliens on land their families have occupied for generations. Immigration policy has been used as a tool of enforcing a racial hierarchy ever since it began with the Naturalization Act of 1790, which limited citizenship to “free White person(s) … of good character,” and was further reinforced with the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1897, which created the concept of the “illegal immigrant” based on ethnicity.
We believe that laws and rhetoric which criminalize and dehumanize immigrants lead to racial profiling and inhumane treatment in detention felt most acutely by immigrants of color, particularly Black immigrants. Consequently, we believe that immigrant rights are best advocated for in solidarity with other calls for racial and social justice and that immigrants have benefited significantly from calls for racial equity by others, particularly Black Americans. The 14th amendment, which guarantees birthright citizenship, and the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which eliminated the racial quota system, would not have been passed without the sacrifices of leaders in the Abolition and Civil Rights movements, respectively.
We know that so much of the cause of forced migration are conflicts caused by foreign policy that fosters war and authoritarianism in places viewed as racially inferior to white, European nations. Another leading cause of forced migration are natural disasters sparked by a global climate crisis resulting from the rapacious natural resource extraction that has fed the wealth of those same white, European nations. In short, we have an extraordinary duty to welcome those mostly Black and brown communities that have been disproportionately harmed by the imperialist and capitalist policies that our country has profited from.
We believe that an antiracist lens is needed when advocating for systemic change in order to align our work to the most vulnerable and to approach our work with cultural humility that recognizes that the best solutions come from those who live closest to the impact of the work. This means we are committed to using our resources in ways that lower barriers and provide opportunities for the directly-impacted to guide and lead our work.