May 8, 2008
Quaker Organization Condemns Immigration Raids
The Pacific Mountain Region of the American Friends Service Committee expresses deep concern about the immigration raids that took place in the past days in Oakland, Berkeley, San Francisco and other Bay Area cities. “These actions violate peoples’ right to live without harassment and fear, and they stir up unfounded negative sentiments towards migrants and divide working-class families and migrant communities,” said Laura Magnani, Assistant Regional Director for Justice for the AFSC. “We call on ICE and other immigration authorities to adhere to policies that ensure the fair treatment and respect for the civil and constitutional rights of all detainees, access to legal counsel, and the ability to stay in close proximity to their loved ones.”
The American Friends Service Committee expresses its continued support for undocumented immigrants and affirms the basic principle that people who have established new lives in the United States should have access to procedures that permit them to adjust their immigration status. Specifically, AFSC calls on the United States government to grant permanent legal status to all undocumented men, women, and children who reside in the U.S. Furthermore, AFSC calls upon the United States government to implement immigration policies that will:
respect human rights and international law;
provide nondiscriminatory application of immigration laws;
support legalized entry to those under duress or fleeing natural disaster, regardless of national origins and political affiliation; and
Support those pursuing family re-unification.
According to Luis Magaña AFSC’s immigration specialist, “Undocumented immigration represents a desperate response to desperate circumstances, including war, persecution, civil strife, and severe economic distress. Knowing the many types of violence and exclusion faced by undocumented immigrants, and recognizing that no legislative measure or enforcement tactic has ever stopped undocumented immigration, we have consistently pressed for the legalization of the largest possible number of undocumented immigrants and have worked to help undocumented people obtain legal status.”
Undocumented immigrants work, pay taxes, and contribute to the economic, social, and cultural development of their communities in countless ways. A legalization program would recognize the equity undocumented people have built up through their participation in U.S. society and acknowledge the inherent injustice of the secrecy, vulnerability, and exploitation imposed on undocumented women, men, and children.
AFSC is committed to the struggle for rights and justice for all immigrant communities. “We pledge to join other organizations sharing this concern and calling for reform of U.S. immigration policies. We applaud the steps immigrant communities have taken to project their own voices into the policy arena and pledge to work alongside them to assure that their voices are strongly heard in the movement for a just immigration policy,” Magaña said.
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The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization that includes people of various faiths who are committed to social justice, peace and humanitarian service. Its work is based on the belief in the worth of every person and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice.