Rep. John Lewis Condemns Planned Immigration Raids
“As people of good conscience and concerned citizens of this nation, we must condemn the planned raids of the homes, communities, and workplaces of allegedly undocumented immigrants.
“It is hard for me to understand how a nation still burdened by the tragic debt of the trans-Atlantic trafficking of human beings, the Trail of Tears, Japanese internment, COINTELPRO, the atrocities of Guantanamo Bay, Indian residential schools and so many more indignities that it would be impossible to recount them all here, could engage in the raids that are planned this weekend. This public policy should strike terror in the hearts of anyone who ever believed in the American dream. It leaves us all less safe and more vulnerable to violation.
“Just this week a group of students from my district visited my office. A young teenage girl struggled to tell me that she was about to leave her home to attend college; a normally proud occasion had left her trembling with dread. She was traumatized by the prospect of leaving her parents because she is a U.S. citizen, but her parents are undocumented. They are paralyzed by fear, afraid to leave the house, even to go to work. Though immigration was not the purpose of the meeting, she broke down and cried in my office, unable to hold back her tears.
“Multiply this pain by the thousands, and you will sense the scale of an atrocity this administration seems anxious to inflict. No human being deserves to be robbed of his or her humanity, due to an uneven interpretation or administration of the law. Officials are elected to defend, not to destroy, our aspirations to be a compassionate nation.
“It is my hope and prayer that our better angels will prevail and that our country will not risk of the shame, denunciation, and destructive repercussions of these raids. We would do well to remember that there is a higher law, even a great nation cannot escape.
“I also call upon my colleagues in Congress to act. If there was ever any use for the power we hold, it is to protect innocent children at all cost. We must pass immigration reform legislation urgently to save this nation from this policy of destruction and unnecessary cruelty. We must use all our power and all our authority to end these raids, to uplift those who seek refuge in this country, and above all, to respect the dignity the worth of all humankind.”