By: Miriam Noriega, IM4HI Program Director
I still believe in my country, even though I have personally experienced discrimination for being undocumented. This week the immigrant and ally community felt a gut punch at the news of the judge stopping new applicants for DACA. The right to work is a human right, and ending DACA during the COVID-19 pandemic denies this right to thousands of people who have been facing economic hardships and excluded from receiving government economic relief.
I still believe in my country, even though exclusions are a common practice in immigration policy. The most recent exclusion of single adults, as the Biden-Harriss administration discusses, limiting the rescindment of Title 42 to only families. This exclusion denies the human right to ask for asylum at our border and the due process during the application process. The group that we foresee being most affected by this exclusión is the LGBTQ community. They seek asylum because they face constant life-threatening circumstances in their home country. The second group we are concerned about is Black immigrants who face higher levels of racism throughout their immigration journey, loans for their journey, and deportations rates. It is important that Title 42 is rescinded without any exclusions.
The Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity believes that our country has the resources and the will to create humane and just practices to keep families together, welcome those seeking protection and refuge, and protect and nurture children. Since spring, we have collected letters from people of faith to the Biden-Harriss administration to use their administrative power to rescind Title 42 and join our vision to create more humane policies for all immigrants. The previous presidential administration initiated this policy during the pandemic; rather than controlling the pandemic, it has caused more harm to the immigrant community. As a result, families continue to be separated, and now we are facing a high number of unaccompanied minors. We invite you to listen to the story of one youth that experienced being held in an influx center only to be sent to detention when he turned 18 years old. A report like this reveals that unaccompanied minors held in influx centers, such as the Pomona Fairplex, are harmful to the child’s development. Evidence suggests that children housed in these situations face severe trauma and “will likely suffer acute, sustained, and even permanent impacts to their minds and bodies.” These “emergency influx shelters” are part of decades of policies under Republican and Democratic administrations to criminalize versus humanize migrants. Our country has enough resources to welcome new immigrants with dignity, responsibility, and compassion. Rather than budgeting U.S. tax dollars to detention centers and influx centers, allocate these resources to reform the asylum-seeking process for everyone.