To the editor,
Once again, here in the United States we face additional cruel and inhuman proposals from the Trump administration concerning asylum seekers, migrants and even some visa and green card holders seeking refuge, care or new lives in our country. The recent proposals to detain families indefinitely at tremendous expense to taxpayers, often in for-profit prisons, where the daily fees are reported to be as high as $300 to $775 per detainee, is beyond belief! Most families and unaccompanied minors have contacts to which they can go while their cases are being processed; people ought to be released in that manner. Immigration reports indicate that some 90% of people show up when their immigration cases are being heard. People want legal status; they don’t want to continue to live in the shadows. It is no comfort to anyone with compassion for the many migrants coming to the U.S. to see families detained together. They ought not be detained; rather registered, given court dates, and released.
It is equally as outrageous to see this administration seeking to overturn the agreements of the Flores settlement that require decent, humane and sanitary conditions; that require children be released within 20 days; that require basic education, recreation, and access to legal assistance. Who in their right mind would now believe that the Office of Refugee Resettlement would see that these basic requirements for humane conditions and access to basic services would be met just because families are now jailed together when these very regulations have been being violated for months on end, even when ordered by the courts to desist?
We witness, but must not allow these new proposals to go forward. To now proclaim that green card holders may not be eligible for citizenship just because they used some government services is another proposal beyond belief! Do we not remember that these people have been working and paying taxes like all of us? Why would they not be eligible for citizenship because they used the very services that help them become more productive members of U.S. society?
We have persons – again many children – here in the U.S. and in Boston specifically receiving medical deferments while they are having life-saving treatment. Does the public know these families got recent notices telling them their deferred status would end in 33 days? Just like that. No consideration of the impact on the life, health, or on-going medical needs of the child? Thank goodness some of these terminations have now been lifted; but the future of any deferments after August is uncertain. How cruel and inhumane can we allow our government to be?
And then in late August we hear the proposal that some children born overseas to U.S. citizen government employees or members of the military will not necessarily be recognized as citizens without review of their status; but we are not told what those criteria are. The 14th Amendment, guaranteeing citizenship to all persons born in the U.S. and to U.S. parents, is not changeable via the whims of racist current government policy. We have a constitution, asylum laws and international agreements that ought to be adhered to.
Enough is enough! Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free, says the statue of liberty. Do we mean it or not? If we mean it, as I believe the greatest majority of citizens of this country do, then we all must act to end the tyranny that is now plaguing immigrant families, their neighbors, and ultimately all of us if we do not put an end to it.