Immigration Today: A Community Dialogue

By Jasmine Ueng-McHale

On Wednesday September 27, 2017 from 6:00 to 8:30 pm UUCWC will host a teach-in entitled, Immigration Today: A Community Dialogue. I have co-organized this event with other residents of Pennington, Ewing, Hopewell, Princeton and Lawrenceville. This event will be open to the community. The evening will begin with opening words by an interfaith panel of clergy including, of course, our very own Rev. Kimberly Wildszewski. Speakers will discuss the history of immigration policy and enforcement, myths about the economic impact of undocumented residents, and the ways that the current immigration enforcement violates constitutional rights and basic moral values.

The schedule for the evening is still evolving. Our current speakers include the following:

  • Doug Massey, PhD, a sociology professor at Princeton University, will speak about the history of border enforcement and how it has backfired.
  • Erika Nava from NJ Policy Perspective will present on the economic contributions of undocumented Americans and what we stand to lose by deporting them.
  • Dina Mansour from the NJ Alliance for Immigrant Justice will discuss current immigration enforcement and its impact on our communities.

We hope also to include some statements by undocumented members of our towns. Refreshments will be served.

It is my deep hope that members of this congregation will attend this event and become active in protecting the rights of immigrants.

In recent months, I became involved in organizing for Fair and Welcoming City resolutions in our local towns. Like Sanctuary City resolutions, Fair and Welcoming resolutions and police directives protect the rights of undocumented residents and help to make our communities safer. As a child of immigrant parents, the anti-immigrant and nativist rhetoric that is being popularized in our country has been deeply painful to me.

Immigration policy and enforcement has always been one of the many forms of systemic racism. As I read reports of families in our local towns living in terror that a parent, child, or family member will be deported despite having no criminal history, it is clear to me that I cannot be a passive witness to these events. As I learn about the stories of a parent who is the sole provider for a family placed in a detention center, the children in our towns who have stopped attending school for fear of losing their parent, and the DACA students at Princeton who may lose their protected status, I have been compelled to learn more and to take action.

We are one people, documented and undocumented, living and working together. I believe we can create a better way than this and gathering together in a community of learners is the first step. Please come out, spread the word, and join us!