Viewpoint: Immigration: Is this my country?
By Barb de Souza & Dr. Jackie Brux, River Falls & Town of River Falls
Is this my country? Does my country separate infants and children from their parents when they seek asylum? Does my country automatically reject asylum claims based on very real threats of pervasive gang violence and domestic abuse, in violation of our moral traditions and global agreements?
Yes, my country has just done all this just within the last month:
• Forcedly taken at least 2,000 children from their parents. This is part of the Trump administration's new policy of "zero tolerance" that is designed to dissuade immigrants seeking asylum by detaining them separately from their children. One in seven separated children is under the age of 4, and children are often placed hundreds of miles away. Their parents are applying for legal asylum based on threats of violence to their families. The United Nations human rights office has condemned this practice of child separation as a "serious violation of the rights of the child." The U.S. Catholic bishops responded, "Forcibly separating children from their mothers and fathers is contrary to our Catholic values ... It is a right to life issue." Reverend Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham, said, "I think it's disgraceful, I don't support that one bit." Other religious leaders from liberal to evangelical are speaking out against this.
• Ended the practice of granting asylum to victims of drug and gang violence, wide-spread in Central America. This reverses U.S. tradition and violates international law.
• Ended the practice of granting asylum to victims of domestic violence, also
• widespread and without local solutions. This overrules decades of U.S. policy.
Despite that fact that U.S. Immigrants:
• As consumers, increase demand for U.S. goods and services, thereby creating economic growth, expanding jobs, and increasing U.S. incomes.
• As entrepreneurs, enhance the vitality of local businesses.
• As workers, expand the productivity of our country.
• As young people paying taxes, improve the viability of our Social Security program in the context of our aging population.
• As members of our churches, schools, and neighborhoods, enhance the vitality and reduce the crime rates in our communities.