Commentary: Stand with Us in Challenging Times

Commentary: Stand with Us in Challenging Times

The mission of the Centreville Immigration Forum (CIF) is to build community acceptance and economic opportunity for new immigrants in Centreville. We envision a community where all are welcome, without regard to race, ethnicity, religious beliefs, education level or economic status. We believe in the inscription, mounted inside the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, that says: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” This quote from a sonnet by Emma Lazarus articulates that the United States does not just welcome educated, wealthy immigrants, but all who seek a better life here.

Because of our mission, the Centreville Immigration Forum must reject the Trump administration’s recent executive orders to begin construction of a wall that will run the full length of the U.S.-Mexico border, to expand immigration enforcement, to punish cities and localities that oppose these measures, to ban entry to the U.S. based on country of origin, and to ban all refugees for the next 120 days and refugees fleeing war-torn Syria indefinitely. The full scope and implementation of these directives are not clear, but already they have created fear and disruption in many lives.

These policies will not make our country safer, our economy stronger, or our communities more cohesive. Instead, they will divide families and communities and create an atmosphere of fear and hate. CIF urges our government to act with compassion and open our country to peaceful immigrants from all nations. We know that immigrants, whether documented or not, make the U..S prosperous, lively and strong. They contribute not only work, but also strong family and religious values, and wonderful culture and music. And they are our friends.

The Centreville Immigration Forum will continue to serve all those in need of services — immigrant and native-born alike — and to stand up against unfair policies at the national level. We will continue to inform participants at our Labor Resource Center of their rights, and we will continue to support them in the search for work and fair treatment. We appreciate the contributions of our volunteers, who also come from many different nations, including Muslim nations. Our volunteers, workers and staff create a cross-cultural space that demonstrates the power and richness of working together.

The support of the local community has been strong during the past five years, and we are grateful. We invite our neighbors in Centreville to stand with us during these challenging times and to take advantage of the community resource we offer.