Author Nekeisha Alayna Alexis wrote and shared excerpts from a statement for the May 1, 2017 for the A Day Without Immigrants rally in downtown Elkhart, Indiana. This is her final, edited version for publication on Jesus Radicals.
There are people who ask of immigrants, “Why do they want special treatment? There are rules. There are laws. Why should they get treated differently?”
This can be a frustrating question. But I want to suggest that it is also an opportunity to tell the true story, to tell the true history, to really highlight the unfairness behind the question and the policies, practices and perceptions that surround our immigration system and frame the current debates.
I want to suggest, for example, that the question, “Why do they want special treatment?” allows us to talk about the unfairness of U.S. economic policy and military policy that goes into other nations; destabilizes their economies, overthrows their democracies and supports brutal dictator. That help keep those countries in debt through institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund and otherwise undermine people’s way of lives—only to have the audacity to turn those people away when they show up on U.S. soil. Where do you want us to go after you’ve built military bases on our lands? Where do you want us to go after you’ve helped make it impossible to survive at home? Where do you want us to go—and why shouldn’t we get help when we show up on your door? It’s not special treatment to show us basic human respect when we arrive: that’s reparations for the global problems caused by the economic and military choices this government makes in the world.