News & Views

We Cannot Let Our Immigrant Neighbors be Scapegoated

There are two ways to approach a crisis. We can come together, as so many of you are, to volunteer and support those who are more vulnerable. We can share our triumphs and our losses and look to the strength of our community. We can reach out with love.

Or we can blame. We can divide the world into us and them. And in the process, we can make the crisis even bigger than it needs to be.

Once again, this administration has divided the world into two. Us and the Global Community (such as the WHO). Us and immigrants.

This week we saw this, when the President tweeted about halting all immigration to the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic. His staffers rushed to draft an Executive Order which would stop issuing new green cards for the next 60 days.

How does this change anything except to create more uncertainty for immigrants? Our borders are already closed, as are Europe’s. People are NOT traveling. So what was the point of this policy?

For our clients, this puts already vulnerable individuals into even deeper uncertainty. If the immigrants in our communities with legal claims to be here suddenly lose their status, they lose the ability to work or claim the unemployment benefits they’ve paid into.

Once again, government action plunges its people into poverty. Families with immigrant members have no relief. Immigrant business owners with citizen workers have no relief. Our loved ones, our neighbors, our friends, our co-workers – no relief. Some think we are not our brother’s keeper, but how does creating more uncertainty and chaos help anyone?

What the President does not seem to understand is that these immigrants continue to fuel the US economy and healthcare system. They are the essential workers – in healthcare, in food service industries, at shippers like Amazon and factories mobilized to produce critical health care equipment, working for IT companies keeping us productive and connected while working from home. Spurning immigrants is like spurning our own arms, our own heads, our own hearts. It’s not us vs. them, it’s we ARE them and they are us.

Instead of dividing, help us help ourselves. Here’s how:

  • advocate for immigrants and ensure that they are no longer being detained
  • volunteer to be a driver to pick up and drop off groceries, diapers, and other items for our clients
  • donate to our Immigrant Relief Fund to help vulnerable members of our communities who are affected by the COVID-19 crisis