Washington, DC – Ahead of the July 4th holiday and long weekend, a powerful editorial in the Baltimore Sun connects the tragedy in San Antonio and the larger current immigration policy and political moment into an important, historical context. As the Sun writes, “This year, let the holiday not just be commemorated with fireworks, parades and fanfare, listening to the ‘Hamilton’ soundtrack or the marches of John Philip Sousa, or attending backyard barbecues or spending an afternoon at the community pool. Rather, let us take a moment to recall our history as a nation of immigrants.”
According to Mario Carrillo, Campaigns Manager for America’s Voice:
“The Fourth of July is a celebration of America as a beacon of freedom and hope for millions of people who over our history have come to America in search of a better life, much like my family did more than 30 years ago.
With the horrific tragedy of more than 50 immigrants dying in the back of a trailer in San Antonio, and the countless others who have lost their lives trying to cross our border or reach our shores, we are once again reminded that people are risking everything to come to America in pursuit of peace, prosperity, and dignity.
Make no mistake. The majority of migrant deaths are a direct consequence of our country’s hyper focus on the deterrence-only, inhumane immigration policies meant to address the continued rise of asylum seekers trying to reach our country. We’ve known for too long that these policies are misguided, and force desperate people to make dangerous choices.
But sadly, today’s Republican Party is fueling extremism, violence, and blocking progress. So long as we allow the dehumanization of migrants, and focus our efforts solely on the border, our policies in addressing the issue will remain inhumane.
There is a better, more humane way forward. We should refocus our strategy on allowing people to make their case to stay safely, and opening more legal and orderly ways of seeking refuge. Historically, our nation has been strengthened by waves of newcomers seeking prosperity and who believe in the promise of America. The same holds true today.”
Read the powerful editorial in the Baltimore Sun, “On this July 4th, can U.S. reconcile its immigrant roots with its anti-immigrant politics?” which we excerpt below:
“…On July 4th, the nation will celebrate its independence, gained 246 years ago by people who had much more in common with the San Antonio victims than with grandstanding politicians — their families rooted even further from the U.S. border than the new arrivals who died getting here. People like Greg Abbott or Donald Trump can’t bring themselves to see today’s generation of immigrants as human, let alone equivalent to the founders. They prefer to call them ‘illegals.’
This year, let the holiday not just be commemorated with fireworks, parades and fanfare, listening to the ‘Hamilton’ soundtrack or the marches of John Philip Sousa, or attending backyard barbecues or spending an afternoon at the community pool. Rather, let us take a moment to recall our history as a nation of immigrants. How can we care so little about the welfare of people seeking a better life from beyond our borders, as our forebears did? How much stronger could the United States be if more people were legally admitted at the southern border? In the middle of a labor shortage, why is this not the obvious solution?
…When Europeans die 5,000 miles away in Ukraine, we immediately and rightly look for ways to help protect them, to defend them, to find homes for them. Can’t we show the same compassion for those fleeing economic disaster in Mexico or Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador? They are not our enemies; although those arrested in the deadly smuggling operation, if found guilty, should be regarded as such. Let us never forget that eight of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence were not born in America. Helping our fellow human beings doesn’t make us weaker, it makes us stronger — and a step closer to achieving the lofty ideals the framers had in mind.”