Reaffirming our Values in Immigration Reform

December 18, 2018 Michael Paul Jackson

Insights from The Opportunity Agenda

“It’s the same dirt on both sides.”

That’s what Indya Moore, the actress from the FX show "Pose," said about the land between the U.S. and Mexico at our Border Visions Convening in El Paso, TX last month.

During a tour of the border wall near El Paso, Moore had reached under the wall separating the U.S. from Mexico, clutching dirt, and observed that, yes, the soil in the U.S. is the same soil as in Mexico. In fact, there's no difference.

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As the opposition’s rhetoric around detention and migrants worsens, it's become increasingly important that we reaffirm the values of equal rights, fairness, and dignity that Moore alluded to in El Paso. Indeed, we all have the right to be treated with fairness and respect -- and for decades, the United States has had a system for processing asylum claims.

But stories like the 7-year old Guatemalan migrant who died in federal custody earlier this month, as well the Trump administration's bizarre attempts to deport long-standing Vietnamese immigrants, highlight the racial hatred and divisive policies that stand in direct violation of our values.

One only needs to take a tour of the border region — with its homes, its quiet streets, its vibrant cultures — to see the similarities between the United States and Mexico, and to understand that fear is at the heart of the divisive immigration policies in the United States. We can do better than this.

The photos below depict the border along El Paso, as well as the work of amazing activists and creatives who joined us to discuss art, narrative, and social change during the convening. Please look and share, along with our messaging memo.  

Moreover, we urge you to contact your representatives to tell them that you care how we treat immigrants, refugees and migrants in the United States, and tell them that you want to see humane solutions, instead of scapegoating and threats.

Because it really is the same dirt on both sides. It always has been.

Photos by Michael Paul Jackson and Jesús Iñiguez.

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