Under the Trump Administration’s zero-tolerance policy, families fleeing violence in Central America and elsewhere have been captured near the border, the children torn from their parents and held in separate tents and cages. A public outcry forced the Administration to back down from its family separation policy, and a federal court ordered it to reunite the families split. But the president’s anti-immigration agenda still includes a rush to open family jails and continues to create terror, chaos and uncertainty for immigrant households and communities in the US.
Last month, the Supreme Court upheld the president’s ban on travel to the US by citizens of five predominantly Muslim countries. Under the guise of safeguarding the nation, the Muslim ban singles out a category of people based on their religion, a constitutionally and federally protected class. Like two of our country’s most notorious and shameful mistakes, the Chinese Exclusion Act and the World War II round up and imprisonment of Japanese Americans, the travel ban stems from stereotypes, is fueled by hysteria and ill-defined threats to national interest, and endorses discrimination toward a marginalized minority group.
As Americans, we should condemn the inhumanity and bigotry enshrined in such policies. Nearly all of us are immigrants or descendants of immigrants, who came to the US seeking a better life. The administration’s policies are a repudiation of our nation’s history and values of decency, diversity and inclusivity. Without those core values, what will America then stand for?
As members and supporters of the Chinese Historical Society of America, what can you do? Bring your friends, neighbors and family to the CHSA Museum, where our exhibit Chinese American: Exclusion/Inclusion will remind you of what it means to be an American. Speak out, write letters to the editor, and contact your senators and congresspeople. Support organizations working on the front lines to preserve our American values, such as the Asian Law Caucus and the ACLU. Check out these suggestions by UC Berkeley public policy professor Robert Reich. And, as he says, don’t give up on democracy.
CHSA Interim Executive Director