Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Viennese Journal 6.0 - My Address on Immigration to the United Nations on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice

Thank you Mr. Chairman:

I have sat and cried with migrants in Jail. This statement is for them.

The Friends World Committee for Consultation (Quakers) believes that a humane immigration policy must protect families from separation, protect migrants from crime and human rights violations, and include a fair path for migrants and their children to gain lawful residence status.

Migrants are not protected from crime when they fear removal and deportation for contacting law enforcement to report crimes. Migrants who fear calling the police risk becoming targets of violence and economic exploitation. Failure to report crime makes communities less safe.  Some countries separate  thelaw enforcement and immigration functions of government. We encourage others countries to follow their example. Immigration policies that make parents fear deportation can result in their children being unable to access necessary health care, education, and the protection of basic human rights.

Migration and deportation proceedings often separate children from their parents when their parents are taken into custody for deportation or removal. Sometimes State migration laws can even result in the permanent forced separation of migrant children from their parents. Children of migrants have a right to the preservation of their families. Immigration laws and policies need to consider the best interest of children in dealing with migrant parents.

We are also concerned for children of migrants who are brought by their parents to a new country at a young age. They grow up in their country of destination, and yet face deportation to the country of origin. As adults, these migrant children may face forced removal to a country they have never known. These migrant children bear no responsibility for immigrating, and should not be punished by removal to a country they do not know. These children of migrants deserve a path to lawful residence.

We believe there is the Light of God in everyone.  This Light should be recognized in these migrant families and encouraged in those who form and implement these immigration policies.

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