In September of 2016 Melissa, an immigration lawyer and community advocate in El Paso, Texas, was feeling hopeful. After over a decade of work within the immigration system, she was ready for more progress to be made towards immigration reform.
Yet, instead of the passage of the DREAM act, affirmative legalization, and reasonable immigration enforcement, the change she’s seen in the past year is a growth of fear. Now, thanks to a systematic dismantling of the immigration process, people are afraid to send their children to clinics, to enroll in schools, or to ask for help. People who have lived in America for their entire lives are facing a loss of hope.
Border towns such as El Paso remain some of the safest places in America. Yet, negative and unfounded reputations push policy across America. Most of America is engaging in a myopic view of border towns and immigrants, suffering from, as Melissa put it, “a lack of willingness to see the whole picture.” The value of immigrant lives, labors, or even the taxes they pay, is being ignored.
If you’re interested in learning more, we recommend checking out the Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center, the Detained Migrant Solidarity Committee, the Hope Border Institute, Diocesan Migrant & Refugee Services, Inc., or the ACLU Border Rights Center in El Paso.
El Paso, Texas. April 2018.