Washington – As governors from multiple states begin to launch the so called “Border Strike Force,” immigrant and refugee rights advocates from these states push back on such a dangerous narrative. The governors’ “Border Strike Force” doubles down on xenophobic rhetoric that will only increase racial profiling and discrimination against people of color.
Executive directors of statewide immigrant rights organizations that are members of the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA) issued the following statements:
“Conflating the ongoing humanitarian crisis at the border where people have been denied their right to access asylum due to the disastrous Title 42 with nefarious multinational criminal organizations is negligent at best and cynical at worst,” said Nicole Melaku, NPNA executive director. “Our governors should not be using state resources to score cheap anti-immigrant messaging points when they could be doing so much to ensure we welcome asylum seekers that will be valuable assets to our communities.”
“As a resident of Florida and former refugee, I see that my community is ready to welcome. It saddens me that Gov. DeSantis continues to push back against people seeking refuge from conflict and danger,” said Basma Alawee, National Campaign Manager, We Are All America. “Now, during these times of holy festivities, our values of welcome should be at the forefront. Yet, what we’re seeing is our governor spread xenophobic messages under the guise of combatting crime — xenophobic rhetoric that will only divide our communities rather than address the root cause of the complex issues that the Border Strikeforce claims to want to resolve.”
“When Gov. Abbott of Texas sent asylum seekers to the Capitol as a political stunt, we were all there to welcome them with open arms,” said Gustavo Torres, executive director of CASA. “Enough is enough with the political games and election angling. Ending the racist Title 42 and processing asylum cases is what this country’s responsibility is to the people of the world.”
“Arizonans are tired of the political ploys being played with the lives of immigrants seeking a better life in Arizona and elsewhere in our country,” said Petra Falcon, executive director of Promise Arizona. Arizona and our leaders must stand up to our anti-immigrant and anti-Latino past – we need leadership that promotes inclusivity and stands behind the myriad immigrant contributions to our great state instead of seeking to divide us.”
“Arkansas State Legislature has become a national leader in removing barriers for immigrant workers to fulfill their education and career potential,” said Mireya Reith, Founding Executive Director, Arkansas United. “Arkansas Gov. Hutchinson has also used his office to affirm that our state is a place that is welcoming to refugees and asylum seekers. All Arkansans should be concerned about his signing on to this Strikeforce in that it will assuredly undermine the goodwill that has been forged between immigrants, refugees, and our state, and make all of us in Arkansas less safe and hurt our economy.”
“Demonizing asylum-seekers and stoking fear in border communities are key components of Gov. Greg Abbott’s anti-immigrant agenda. This strike force is a vile, militant expansion of Abbott’s failed border policies, and it has no intention whatsoever of providing the humanitarian relief needed at this moment,” said Michelle Tremillo, Texas Organizing Project Co-Executive Director. “This completely unwarranted operation will only lead to more profiling and human rights abuses. No matter how hard Republican governors try, at the end of the day, our resilient immigrant communities will not be intimidated by this racist political stunt.”“Gov. DeSantis has launched a war against immigrants in the State of Florida,” said Tessa Petit, co-executive director of the Florida Immigrant Coalition. “He continues to attack immigrants who are the very fiber of our nation, stand in the way of family reunification, and has now recruited other governors to move forward his xenophobic rhetoric. Asylum seekers and migrants are not cartels and criminals that our communities should fear. They are families, parents, and children seeking refuge from harm and, in many cases, death. It is sad that elected officials, those chosen to represent all voters, including New Americans, are using fear as a weapon to destabilize our communities already suffering from financial distress. Our communities need protection against poverty, gun violence, poor education, increased cost of living, and preferred treatment for the 1%.”