We Welcome Asylum Seekers and Defend Their Rights

An open letter from over one hundred artists, activists, scholars, and writers

By Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, Noam Chomsky, Noura Erakat , Tom Morello

February 05, 2019 "
Information Clearing House" -    We—activists, scholars, writers and artists—strongly condemn President Trump’s efforts to vilify, intimidate, and use force against refugees and asylum seekers at and approaching the U.S. border.

We are deeply troubled by the government's responses to current and recent asylum seekers, which include the deployment of military personnel to an already highly militarized border, and expansion of detention facilities meant to incarcerate people entering the U.S. rather than welcome them. We reject President Trump's maligning of the refugees as an "invasion." And we recognize the fact that U.S. political, economic, and military activities in Central America have contributed to the situation that so many people—including families with small children—are fleeing.

President Trump has spoken about the asylum seekers currently stuck in Tijuana, claiming without evidence that "a significant majority will not be eligible for or be granted that benefit." In fact, all people have the right to come to this country, seek asylum, and have their cases heard.

U.S. law is clear in outlining the rights of people to come to the country and claim asylum. The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 states that a foreigner "who is physically present in the United States or who arrives in the United States, whether or not at a designated port of arrival" may apply for asylum. The participants in the Exodus from Central America—as the refugees refer to their journey—are doing exactly what the law requires to seek refuge in the United States.

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