Closing Down The Border and Firing Tear Gas is Not Who We Are and Not The Solution for Migrants Legally Seeking Asylum

WASHINGTON – Today, the lead organizations of the #RefugeForFamilies Campaign, including the National Partnership for New Americans, Fair Immigration Reform Movement Alianza Americas, and We Are All America, released this statement in response to the order by U.S. authorities to close the San Ysidro port of entry between San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico, and the subsequent decision to fire tear gas on refugees hoping to reach the U.S. seeking asylum.

Eva Millona, Co-chair of the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA), Executive Director Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA)

“What happened on our border this weekend is shameful, a complete betrayal of American values. Our nation was built by people who had fled poverty and persecution, and came to our shores seeking freedom and opportunities. The mothers, fathers, and children at our border right now have trekked thousands of miles under horrific conditions, just for the chance to seek asylum in the United States, as they are entitled to under federal and international law. To meet them with tear gas and threats, and to shut down the border just to keep them from seeking refuge, is unforgivable. This is not the America that we have proudly upheld as a beacon of hope and liberty from around the world. What this Administration is doing is disgraceful, and we will not stand for it. We urge leaders across the country to speak out and put a stop to this.

We also urge our fellow Americans to support #RefugeForFamilies, a migrant-led, cross-border campaign co-sponsored by the National Partnership for New Americans, Fair Immigration Reform (FIRM), Movement Alianza Americas, andWe Are All America. As we gather with our loved ones this holidays, we should remember the call to welcome the stranger. Our campaign is convening a transnational network and response to provide humanitarian and legal support to migrants in Mexico, across the US-Mexico border, and in cities across the United States.”

Kica Matos, Director of Immigrant Rights and Racial Justice at the Center for Community Change, spokesperson for the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM).

“The humanitarian situation at the border requires a compassionate solution, one that reflects the values of this country. Militarizing border communities and closing the border means turning our backs on vulnerable people with a right to seek asylum and it makes border communities less safe for those who use our ports of entry each day to conduct business and visit family. Tear-gassing migrants at the border is not the solution.”

Oscar Chacón, Executive Director of Alianza Americas states, “This weekend’s events demonstrate a cruel reality: Myriad merciless systems are conspiring to wrap Central American migrants in a suffocating web of endless violence. Fleeing gang-fueled violence in their home countries, these families are now meeting government-backed violence from the United States. A militarized border means they could be held in limbo along one of the most violent slivers of the globe: Northern Mexico, a place where murder and kidnapping are appallingly routine.”

Stephanie Stephens, We Are All America, Campaign Manager states, “People who flee to the United States and apply for asylum have survived unimaginable conditions, including torture, murder of family members, horrendous violence and political persecution. These asylum-seekers are no different than the thousands that have come before them, fervently hoping for a chance at freedom, safety and refuge. This Administration’s attack on asylum seekers, including tear-gassing children, is un-American and inhumane. They have a legal right to apply for asylum, and to live in safety while their cases are heard.

Learn more and support the #RefugeForFamilies Campaign here.