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Thursday, June 8, 2023
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Human Rights are for Everyone

Imagine living in a country where children are ripped away from their parents, never to see them again, left alone to fend for themselves without any support.  Imagine living in a country where women are raped but are afraid to call the police for fear that they will be arrested.  Imagine living in a country where men are arbitrarily pulled over by the police, arrested, held in squalid detention facilities for months and then deported far from their homes, friends, jobs and families. Imagine what it is like to be an immigrant worker living in America.

The crackdown on undocumented workers has taken a frightening turn in the past several months. Perhaps the most heinous expression of this crackdown is the fear that it has instilled in immigrant women.

 Many women have reported to confidential sources that they have been raped, beaten and abused, but are unwilling to call the police to report the crimes committed against them.  Their fear is based on the sobering reality that when they call the police, they are often times  arrested and deported because they lacked proper immigration documents, even though they are victims of a crime.

Unfortunately for immigrants, the police have turned into agents of enforcement for issues of citizenship, and men, women and children are being arrested and incarcerated because they lack documentation.  This is a direct result of the right wing immigrant bashing ideologues who have gained power at the hands of the most vulnerable members of our society.

Here in Nashville we are deporting children, without their parents, after detaining them and holding them for undetermined lengths of time.  When these children arrive in their countries of origin, they are lost in a world they are unfamiliar with.  Many of these children do not speak Spanish and have never been to their countries of origin, except for the circumstance of having been born there.

Families are also being torn apart as the reverse of this situation is happening.  Parents are taken into custody by federal agents, often while at work in farm fields or in a factory.  Their children come home to find that their parents have disappeared, without any communication or information as to their whereabouts.  Many of these children do not fall under the custody of the state.  Indeed, many times the government does not even know of their existence because parents are afraid of their children being deported as well.  They fear their children will be sent to a country where they face a lifetime of poverty and misery.

Fathers are being taken from their families by the police. They are taken into custody for minor traffic infractions such as speeding or driving with a burned out taillight, and then held in custody for lack of proper documentation and deported.  this is an especially difficult hardship leaving families without their primary wage earner and with little hope of ever seeing their fathers again. This is the situation which the right wing ideologues in this country have created for the people who build our houses, mow our yards, pick our vegetables, and make our garments.

If there was ever a situation which called for justice, this is it. If there was ever a time for us to do for the least of our brothers and sisters this is the time.  Immigrant workers are not criminals. They are hard working people who love their families and love their adopted country.  They are willing to do jobs that no one else is willing to do and to work their way up the ladder the way all newly arrived immigrants have done since the founding of this country.  Let us never forget that we are all descended from immigrants.  Some of us came here willingly, others came here under duress and force but now we are all free to partake in the American dream.  Let’s give our newest generation of immigrants the same chance.

Chris Lugo
Chris Lugohttp://www.chris4senate.org/
Chris Lugo is a peace activist who has been involved in the movement for peace and global justice for twenty years. He is currently seeking the Green Party nomination for US Senate in Tennessee.

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