• October 28th, 2021
  • Thursday, 05:51:27 PM

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We Welcome Asylum Seekers and Defend Their Rights


Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, Noam Chomsky, Noura Erakat, Tom Morello

 

We—activists, scholars, writers and artists—strongly condemn President Trump’s efforts to vilify, intimidate, and use force against refugees and asylum seekers at and approaching the U.S. border.

We are deeply troubled by the government’s responses to current and recent asylum seekers, which include the deployment of military personnel to an already highly militarized border, and expansion of detention facilities meant to incarcerate people entering the U.S. rather than welcome them. We reject President Trump’s maligning of the refugees as an “invasion.” And we recognize the fact that U.S. political, economic, and military activities in Central América have contributed to the situation that so many people—including families with small children—are fleeing.

President Trump has spoken about the asylum seekers currently stuck in Tijuana, claiming without evidence that “a significant majority will not be eligible for or be granted that benefit.” In fact, all people have the right to come to this country, seek asylum, and have their cases heard.

We believe that the people and government of the U.S. are not only accountable to ourselves, but to the world. We believe that all people, wherever they come from, should be free to move to wherever they choose. We call on others to join us in offering solidarity and welcome to all refugees and asylum seekers

U.S. law is clear in outlining the rights of people to come to the country and claim asylum. The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 states that a foreigner “who is physically present in the United States or who arrives in the United States, whether or not at a designated port of arrival” may apply for asylum. The participants in the Exodus from Central America—as the refugees refer to their journey—are doing exactly what the law requires to seek refuge in the United States.

The rights of asylum seekers are also supported by international law. The 1967 United Nations Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees—which the United States has signed—states that “refugees shall have free access to the courts of law on the territory of all contracting states” and that they shall enjoy “the same treatment as a national in matters pertaining to access to the courts.” The United States’ actions violate this principle.

The signatories of this statement include people who live both within and outside of the borders of the United States (See signatories: commondreams.org). We believe that the people and government of the U.S. are not only accountable to ourselves, but to the world. We believe that all people, wherever they come from, should be free to move to wherever they choose. We call on others to join us in offering solidarity and welcome to all refugees and asylum seekers.

 

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II is national president and senior lecturer of Repairers of the Breach. Noam Chomsky is Institute Professor (retired) at MIT. He is the author of many books and articles on international affairs and social-political issues, and a long-time participant in activist movements. Noura Erakat is a human rights attorney and writer. She is currently an assistant professor at George Mason University. Tom Morello is an American musician, songwriter, actor, and political activist.

 

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