On December 4, 2000, the United Nations (U.N.) proclaimed December 18 as International Migrants’ Day, in recognition of migrant persons as being particularly vulnerable to violations of their basic rights. Unfortunately, in the case of the United States, as well as in other countries, the notion that immigrants pose a threat has dominated the political and legislative debate during the last decades, making very difficult for truly humane and common sense driven immigration policy reform proposals to come about.
On the 13th anniversary of Migrant’s Rights Day, migrant organizations such as the National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities (NALACC) and their allies around the world salute all migrants and recognize their value as human beings with inherited rights. We also recognize the contributions of immigrants to their countries of origin and destination, and speak out against public policies and practices inspired by racism and xenophobia.
“As we commemorate International Migrants’ Day, we need to move away from the mistaken notion that immigrants pose a threat to U.S. society; to the contrary, immigrants have proven to be a great asset for the nation, said Angela Sanbrano, NALACC board president. “We should focus on working together to tackle the real threat to our well-being, the policies that have led to increasing social and economic inequality in our nation and around the world,” added Ms. Sanbrano.
“Over the past five years, nearly two million families, mostly Mexicans, have endured the pains of forced separation,” stated Juvencio Rocha Peralta, president of the Mexican’s Association of North Carolina (AMEXCAN) and NALACC vice president. “As we commemorate International Migrants’ Day, we must renew our commitment to help our policy makers and the general public to understand that migrant rights are human rights,” concluded Mr. Rocha Peralta.
“We end another year empty-handed on immigration reform,” stated Patricia Montes, executive director of Centro Presente in Massachusetts and a NALACC board member, As we celebrate International Migrants Day, we must keep in mind that in order to break this vicious cycle, it will be necessary to increase our creativity to be able to obtain victories that will benefit our communities”, urged Ms. Montes.
NALACC member organizations, alongside many other migrant rights organizations are joining a Global Day of Action on international migration. For more information, see www.NALACC,org or the International Migrant Day page www.globalmigrantaction.org