Washington, June 19, 2018 –The Trump administration is separating children from their parents at the border as they try to enter the country. The following is a statement by Esther D. Brimmer, Executive Director and CEO of NAFSA: Association of International Educators.
“For decades, the United States has struggled with a broken immigration system that hurts families and those simply aspiring for a better life. Today, congressional leadership’s reticence to create an immigration system that is fair and holds fast to our values as a welcoming nation is a growing crisis. Although both Democrats and Republicans are speaking out against the atrocities at our border, House Speaker Paul Ryan has scheduled a vote on two immigration bills this week that neither resolve family separation nor help Dreamers who need permanent protection. We need a real permanent legislative solution, not political tactics that hold children and families hostage.
“Using families fleeing violence as a bargaining chip is heinous. How we treat immigrants, especially the most vulnerable among us, determines what kind of country we will become for generations. The United States has been strengthened by diversity and by the idea that this is a nation striving for equality, opportunity and freedom for all. As an association of international educators who work daily to create a more globally engaged nation, NAFSA has long supported immigration reform. We understand that if we want to attract the best and brightest international students to contribute here, we must also avoid policies that create a chilling effect. Rather than policies that say some are valued and others are expendable, we need an immigration system that reflects the reality of our interconnectivity. As such, we firmly oppose family separation because it does not reflect who we are as Americans. It is cruel and inhumane, and it is an affront to the values we hold dear as citizens of this nation of immigrants. If we want to retain our competitiveness and moral standing around the globe, we need a common sense, functioning immigration system that presents a welcoming face to the world. People escaping conflict in desperation do not threaten our society; in fact, historically within a generation, they contribute significantly to our country. We urge Congress to vote against the Goodlatte and Ryan bills that would do nothing to resolve the human rights crisis at our southern border created by the Trump administration. If we want to be seen as the “shining city on the hill,” we must welcome those “yearning to breathe free” who would make our country truly great. That is the promise of America, and we challenge our leaders to uphold it.”