Witness for Peace Southeast strongly rejects the Trump Administration’s on-going xenophobic attacks on our communities both locally and internationally. Intensified ICE operations, the attempted removal of asylum protections for tens of thousands of asylum seekers, the horrific border concentration camps and deplorable racist rhetoric are part of a violent strategy to terrorize immigrant communities. The violence of these internal policies is directly linked to violence reigned down by US foreign policy, responsible for the very conditions that asylum seekers are fleeing in their countries of origin. Widespread, systematic human rights violations by US trained and equipped Honduran security forces have been rising since the 2009 US-backed coup. Across the region, the US supports violent narco-states with little regard for the human rights implications of these harmful policies.
Among the many reasons that our government seeks to erase the growing refugee crisis on the southern border is the simple fact that each asylum seeker is living evidence of failed US policy. Stories of political persecution by US-allied governments, of hunger and economic ruin where US-negotiated free trade agreements promised prosperity, and stories of gun violence- largely a result of increasing US arms sales in the region- testify to the violence and harm of US policy abroad.
Shamefully, refugees fleeing US-made human rights crises in their countries of origin find that, upon reaching the US border, their nightmare only continues as they are confronted with the same militarization, systematic violence and dehumanization that they left behind. These policies inflict dire physical, psychological, and economic violence on individuals, tear families apart and shatter community fabrics. These are tactics of terror and cultural genocide.
We as an organization, believe in and are working towards a world in which the artificial construction of borders no longer dictates who is treated with humanity, dignity and respect. We’re so inspired by the courage of our communities and the powerful and creative organizing that we’ve seen across the country these past few weeks. We will not let these policies take away our dignity, and we will continue to stand strong!