International Human Rights Day, December holidays, offer an opportunity to reflect on the plight of immigrants in the United States.
As this year nears its end, we reflect upon the happenings that have transpired over the course of the last year. In the month of December two dates stand out for us culturally and symbolically, those of International Human Rights Day, which falls on December 10, International Day of the Migrant, on December 18, and the December Holidays, including Las Posadas, celebrated in Latin America and by U.S.-based Latino Immigrants. What make these days especially pertinent, are the larger themes of peace, inclusion, and the offering of shelter for those who seek peace, tranquility, and a dignified existence.
It is in this season, and with the aforementioned themes in mind, that we support, and stand in solidarity with those who flee violence and systemic negligence abroad, and continue to work at home to fight for social justice in our immigrant communities. Though there are many factors at play globally, which impact migration away from one’s place of origin and draws someone to a distant land in search of a better existence, we also wish to acknowledge the factors at work domestically, which place many families in a state of distress. These factors, which include, but are not limited to; rampant xenophobia, racism, anti-immigrant legislation, classism, denial of basic civil and human rights, and due process in the legal system, have worked to systematically dehumanize our immigrant sisters and brothers.
One prominent example is with the institutional xenophobia as practiced in the State of Texas. In lieu of omnibus legislation to reform immigration, the Obama Administration issued an executive order, establishing the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) program, as a way to offer relief from deportation to undocumented parents of U.S. citizen children (the order also expanded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals “DACA” program). Within a month of the November 2014 unveiling of the DAPA program, the State of Texas and several other states with Republican Governors, filed a suit in the District Court for the Southern District of Texas, to block the implementation of the order.
A year since the suit, the executive order lies dormant as legal challenges ensue. Court injunctions aside, the State of Texas has also used its agents to deny birth certificates to the U.S. citizen children of immigrant parents. Likewise, the aforementioned action seems to also be in line with the right wing’s rhetoric and continued insistence on denying these children the protections afforded to them by the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In essence, the act of denying birth certificates, in turn leaves the children in legal limbo, as they are treated as second class citizens.
This year on International Human Rights Day, as well as on International Day of the Migrant, we reaffirm and reiterate our previous stance in support of our communities that are socially and economically marginalized. We side with the downtrodden, those who are denied the opportunity to better their social condition. It is with this thinking in mind that we also support the struggles of our sisters and brothers in other communities of color who also fight against police brutality, economic inequality, and other maladies that come as a result of institutional neglect. We also invite all others of like mind to stand with us in the struggle for civil, human, and worker rights for all, regardless of place of origin. An injury to one, is an injury to all.
EDUCATE, ORGANIZE, MOBILIZE.