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April 2022: Unpacking the Racism that Informs U.S. Immigration Policy

Happy April! For those of us further up North, the trees are beginning to blossom and the weather is warming up – a beautiful representation of the cycle of life and a reminder that our own journey to antiracism is often a cycle of curiosity, resistance, greater understanding, and action.

With that in mind, we want to bring our focus back to a topic that hasn’t been getting much attention lately: U.S. immigration policy. The war in Ukraine highlights the way we, as a society, are capable of treating refugees and asylum seekers with respect and dignity, but it also highlights how the existence of white supremacy keeps us from extending that respect and dignity to refugees and asylum seekers at our own southern border.

This month, we will look at the stories of people who are seeking asylum in the U.S. We’ll watch a segment of this Democracy Now! conversation (from 30:30 - 36:20), which features award-winning journalist and author Maria Hinojosa and activist Guerline M. Jozef, as a prompt to get us thinking more critically about U.S. immigration.

Here are some questions to help focus our reflection in the second half of the gathering:

  1. What stood out to you in the video?

  2. What feelings came up for you while watching the video?

  3. What questions do you have about U.S. immigration policy after watching the video?

  4. In what ways are your perceptions about Ukrainian refugees different or similar to your perceptions about refugees coming to the U.S. from Central and South America? How does white supremacy inform your perceptions?

  5. What steps can you take to challenge the aspects of U.S. immigration policy rooted in white supremacy?

We look forward to bringing this topic back into our collective consciousness and hope it will inspire continued conversation and a renewed commitment to act. As always, if this month’s prompt doesn’t inspire you, don’t let that keep you from joining a gathering. Feel free to come with whatever is on you mind.

“For immigrant women, the very act of immigration is about opportunity, equality, and freedom. Women immigrants come to America to care for their families, escape gender-based violence, or express their sexual identity." -- Pramila Jaypal, US Representative, Seattle who immigrated from India


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