The Unites States of America is a land of immigrants. We were founded on the basic tenets of freedom from persecution and embracing what is possible for people brave enough to find their way to our homeland. It is a matter of national shame that immigrant populations have been targeted throughout our history. In the 1850’s, the rise of nativism targeted the Irish, Germans and Catholics. Three decades later, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 prevented Chinese workers from immigrating to the United States. Between 110,000 – 120,000 Japanese Americans were detained in camps during World War II.
Sadly, we are witnessing similarly shameful targeting of immigrant populations today at the national level. Travel bans 1 and 2.0 target our Muslim brothers and sisters. ICE raids tear apart families and deport Dreamers. California must be a beacon of protection and stand strong in our values of generosity and acceptance.
We have heard the terminology "common-sense immigration reform", but it has seemed to take a back seat to other policy priorities for years. It is unfortunate that path has been abandoned amidst the aggressive rancor in our current political climate. We need to find some compassionate, reasonable and lasting middle ground on this issue.
Veterans who served faithfully and were discharged honorably, are being deported by the thousands. They are being returned to over 40 countries, with no access to legal representation since immigration officials may deport without a stop in court.
Everyone should have access to public education, healthcare and safety regardless of their immigration status. Basic human dignity is under assault. As Californians, we will stand up to protect our friends and neighbors.