Chicago, IL – 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. Twelve years later, migrant organizations and their allies around the world speak out on this day to celebrate the many positive contributions of immigrants and speak out against the racism and xenophobia that continue to migrants at risk.
The National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities (NALACC) joins with the UN and organizations around the world to celebrate the International Day of the Migrant and to remind all the nations of the world of the important contributions made by immigrants to our societies.
Around the world, the rights of migrants have been under a systematic attack for two decades, driven in part by obsolete and punitive immigration laws. We have also seen migrants’ rights eroded in the US by mean-spirited local and state anti-immigrant laws. The common thread in all these laws is the idea that today’s immigrants represent a threat to U.S. society.
“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 three years, over a 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.
“As we emerge from the elections of 2012, it has become abundantly clear that Latinos are an emerging political force,” stated Patricia Montes, executive director of Centro Presente in Massachusetts and a NALACC board member. “As we celebrate International Migrant Day, we call on policymakers to pursue a new approach to migration that recognizes our many proud contributions to this nation and protects our full rights as human beings,” urged Ms. Montes.
NALACC member organizations, alongside many other migrant rights organizations are joining a Global Day of Action on migrant rights. For more information, see www.NALACC,org or the International Migrant Day page www.globalmigrantsaction.org.