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The separation of migrant families is part of a long history of racist immigration policies in the U.S.

June 19, 2018

Everyday Democracy strives to build equity and fairness in our communities and across the country in order to build a strong democracy that works for everyone. Immigration policies in the U.S. are rooted in a history of racism, ableism, and classism, dating back to 1790 when citizenship was limited to white people. There have been many policies that have been enacted since then to restrict or prohibit certain groups of people from becoming citizens. Today, we can’t ignore the heartbreaking stories of families torn apart as a result of a “zero tolerance” immigration policy.

What we’re experiencing today is not only a result of policies rooted in racism, but it’s also a result of racial inequity across the globe. Genocide, the slave trade, and colonialism have created conditions in some countries that make it impossible to build a safe life anywhere in their home country.

The migrant children held in detention centers have already experienced so much trauma in their home country, leaving their home, and in their journey to the U.S. Regardless of circumstance, economic status, race, or nationality, we should not cause further trauma to the lives of children.

This is an incredibly complex issue, and there is no easy answer. As the issue of family separation at the border has become highly politicized, how can we strive to see each other as human beings to find creative solutions where everyone gets a fair chance to succeed and stay with their family? As a nation, how can we avoid falling into historical patterns of discrimination and abuses of power?

 

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