The human rights catastrophe occurring on our borders and in detention centers across the country is not, and never has been, about keeping America safe. This has never been about protecting children. This has never been about upholding the rule of law. This has always been about race.
Federal immigration enforcement is explicitly targeting emigrants of color, from South America to Africa to South Asia and the Middle East. Teenagers seeking legal asylum are arrested and forced into detention centers, with no path to freedom in sight. Naturalized citizens are hunted down in their communities and deported as their children are shipped into foster care. Children are being torn from their mother’s arms as a deterrent to dissuade desperate families from fleeing certain violence.
These inhumane immigration policies are—and always have been—rooted in white supremacy built on the systemic criminalization, commodification, and dehumanization of Black, brown, and indigenous bodies.
Under the guise of keeping families together, the president’s new executive order shifts the act of undocumented entry into the U.S. from a civil violation to a criminal offense as a means to justify full prosecution and indefinite detainment of migrant families. Since its inception, the U.S. has established people of color as criminals and aliens; as sub-human beings who must be separated from broader society and whose systematic oppression can be used as a tool for profit.
The solution to ending the tears of traumatized children is not building bigger cages to house the entire family. Systemic racism denies our humanity as a means of denying our freedom and political power. It’s a tactic that has been deployed for centuries. And we can’t allow it to continue.
Our collective fight must center around freedom, dignity, and safety for all families. Race Forward is committed to partnering with, supporting, and standing in solidarity with communities and grassroots groups across the country who are working to end systemic racism in all of its manifestations. Here are five ways you can help support detained immigrant families today.