Tonight at COG general forum I asked that we move to adopt a resolution recognizing immigrants’ and refugees’ rights. It will go back to our townships before coming back to the COG. Other members of the COG forum, from the State College Borough in particular, have taken the first steps to getting a resolution before us. I thank them for their quick actions in these times when xenophobia and suspicion haunt our nation.
We pass such a resolution because we are an indivisible people. We are a diverse people. We in Ferguson township are first- and seventh-generation immigrants from Europe, Africa, Australia, South and North America, and Asia. We are here to escape war, to live in peace, and to earn a good life of dignity. We are here to worship (or not) as we wish to. Since we in Ferguson township recently passed an equity and inclusion policy, it seems only fitting.
I don’t blame people for their fears, but I do ask that they open their eyes to reality and to love. Bans? No terrorists who have struck our nation have come from the seven nations on the banned nation list. Were the Trump administration interested in that, the administration would have started with Saudi Arabia (not that I think they should). Walls? Immigrants from Central and South America are among our finest citizens and they play an integral role in US life. By all means, screen immigrants and secure our borders. But don’t punch down at people who are weak and don’t harm people who will be among our best. And don’t take away the people who have made my life better.
Many of my friends and colleagues have been from some of these targeted nation, including Amerezza, an Iranian graduate student, who was my indispensable study partner in graduate statistics. He told me stories about the persecution his family faced at the hands of the theocratic police state. My partner’s and my dear friend Maria who has come here from Venezuela and studied agriculture and now lives with her husband in California. Her family now faces insurmountable inflation and failing medicine. Should a wall turn her back?
I’m sure many of you have stories like this. What are they? Tell them. Tell them to us, your elected officials.
We are better than walls and bans. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the COG to say that we are here for our people.