DSA-San Diego Immigration Working Group Statement Urging Senator Sanders to Adopt Human-Rights Focused Immigration Policy and Uplift Border Community Voices
We, the Immigration Working Group of the San Diego chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), are dismayed by the DSA National-endorsed Presidential candidate, Senator Bernie Sanders, and his continued capitulation to the right-wing of American politics with backwards statements on immigration and immigration policy. First, Bernie Sanders used right-wing talking points in his misinformed position against ‘open borders’, with an open and continued use of the dog whistle phrase “comprehensive immigration reform.” Now, in a moment where Senator Sanders could have stood up for Democratic Socialist values, he fails to appropriately name the atrocities being orchestrated by the Trump Administration at the border, and instead distances himself from their characterization as concentration camps.
Because of the Trump Administration’s increased militarization of the southern border, and its violent enforcement-only policies, at least seven children have died in U.S. custody since late last year, and trans women, like Johana Medina Leon and Roxsana Hernandez, have also died languishing in detention cells. The Department of Homeland Security’s own inspectors have cited detention facilities as overcrowded and unsanitary, with “unusable toilets, mildew and mold on the showers … little to no access to recreation, horrible food conditions” among other appalling problems. These facilities do little more than punish people fleeing dangerous conditions and seeking safety and deny them their human rights.
In short, they are the very definition of a concentration camp.
Since 2010, at least 90 people have died as the result of an interaction with U.S. border agents, and the number of stories of death and abuse of children and adults in detention facilities grows with each passing week.
As socialists who live and work in the southern border region, we urge Senator Sanders to leave behind these outdated and misinformed talking points on immigration and border policy, and to adopt a human-rights first approach in his immigration platform, one that falls in line with our socialist values, and upholds the legal right for people to seek asylum, without criminalizing asylum-seekers or anyone fleeing dangerous situations and seeking safety.
We urge Senator Sanders to work with organizations and communities that actually live and work in the southern border region, to gain their perspective and trust, and to incorporate our vision and needs into his immigration and border platform.