America's greatest strength is its diversity.
The hard work, talents, and cultural traditions that immigrants bring to the United States enrich us all, and historically we have welcomed them into our communities. Today, however, our immigrant friends and neighbors are in the midst of some of the most trying times we have seen. The most immediately threatened are non-citizens, particularly people of color and who are Muslim.
Nevertheless, capitalizing on fear, the Trump Administration has taken action through executive order to single out members of immigrant communities—people who have built lives and contributed to our country with their economic and emotional investment. So far, these policies have resulted in the harassment of travelers, upsetting travel plans, stranding residents of the United States overseas, and trampling on due process protections. Other policies announced by the Trump Administration include expansive deportation activities and de-funding of "sanctuary cities" and localities that do not cooperate with immigration authorities. These policy shifts would have broad impact affecting both citizens and non citizens living in poverty.
If the federal government cuts off funds to sanctuary cities and institutions, it is highly likely that anti-poverty or community development programs in those communities would be affected.
Highly visible deportation raids would greatly disturb communities already struggling for peace and cooperative relationships with law enforcement. If parents are whisked into custody and deported, their citizen children remain behind, a potential burden to extended families or the child welfare systems. If workers are deported, including doctors and other professionals who staff hospitals and important services, the businesses that rely on those workers will be hurt and public health and safety may even be threatened.
Policies that inhibit immigrants' ability to travel freely, to engage in life and contribute to their communities without fear, and to trust the essential good will of government harm us all.
Policies that purport to ban visitors to the United States based on race and religious affiliation, that seek to isolate the United States with border walls, and that promise an expansive deportation program do not make the country safe. They not only destabilize the lives of those directly attacked, but they also cause harm to their families and impose costly burdens on local police, schools, social service agencies, hospitals, businesses, jails and others, burdening the whole community.
Instead of punishing immigrants, we should find ways to support them and strengthen their ties with our communities.
The truth is that:
- Immigrants are critical to economic growth.
- Immigrant communities defy common representations and contribute to the safety of their communities, especially when those communities are welcoming.
- Local efforts to threaten immigrant residents have damaged the communities they were intended to benefit.
- Immigrants and their children are capable of wonderful things.
The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law stands with the campuses, cities, counties, and states fighting divisive and dangerous immigration policies.
Local ordinances and laws limiting cooperation with federal immigration enforcement are sound, legally defensible policy choices. We also applaud government actors and our allies around the country confronting unconstitutional policies.
With your support, the Shriver Center remains committed to fighting policies that divide America and threaten opportunity and justice for all. This commitment extends especially to communities ignored or singled out for mistreatment by the people in power. Through our work and with our voice we will fight to create a welcoming country. Join us.