Responding to Haitian and Afghan crises

The New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice stands with the people of Afghanistan and Haiti and calls on the United States to welcome refugees from both nations who seek to escape the crisis of war and disaster at home.

NJAIJ calls on the Biden administration to act swiftly and generously to provide refugee relief and resettlement. We also urge Governor Murphy to join the chorus of 11 other Governors who have said their states would happily welcome refugee resettlement. 

The United States has a shameful history of exploiting the labor and bodies of people of Color for its war effort. Our list is long -- betraying Native American Indian treaties and false promises of freedom for Black soldiers during the American Revolution, initial recruitment bans on Black soldiers during the Civil War, or the exclusion of Black veterans from the GI bill. The United States also denied benefits to Filipino veterans in World War II and enforced strict, classist distinctions to deny relief to poorer Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees. Other U.S. war efforts, most notably the War on Drugs, have devastated and undermined democracies for generations. Our forever wars destroy people during the fight and then deny them rights and relief once American soldiers return. History has taught us time and again: there is no good time to withdraw from a war that should never have been started.

So now, as the U.S. leaves Afghanistan, the Biden Administration must admit and take responsibility for the humanitarian crisis we have created. This, like our past tragedies, is a crisis that anti-war activists have predicted for years. In the last two decades, more than 70,000 Afghan soldiers and over 171,000 civilians have been killed. No outcome, even a peaceful transition out of Afghanistan, could justify the scale and senselessness of this loss of life.  

On the other side of the globe, another country is in turmoil. This past Saturday, Haiti was hit with a devastating earthquake. The lack of infrastructure and planning for an expected natural phenomena makes this more of a social, political, and aid disaster than a natural one. Disturbingly, this is yet another example of the United States’s harms against Black nations and Black migrants. The United States left Haiti behind by rescinding TPS, we left Haiti behind by making past disaster aid conditional or by funneling dollars toward bloated and self-serving NGOs, and we continue to leave Haiti behind by expelling a record number of Haitians under Title 42. Like Afghans, the Biden Administration must create refugee policies that welcome Haitian migrants seeking safety and protection in the U.S.

We stand united in international solidarity, demanding an end to forever wars, an end to conditional and politically motivated aid, an end to Title 42 expulsions, and a complete overhaul of our asylum and refugee systems.

While these crises may seem distant or overwhelmingly large, here in New Jersey, many of NJAIJ’s members and partners are responding. Here are just some of the many who are taking lead:

 

Donate: 

  • Humanitarian Parole applications cost $575, a price that is prohibitive for people fleeing and in crisis. Please consider giving to the following legal aid organizations who support application fees such as the Legal Aid Society

Act: 

Subject: Statement on Welcoming Refugees.
Body: Dear Governor Murphy,
My name is [your name] and I write you as a resident of [your town/location]. I am writing to urge you to join the call to welcome Afghan and Hatian refugees to New Jersey.
Nearly one in four New Jerseyans is an immigrant. Our state harbors the Statue of Liberty on our shores. We have a responsibility to join the 11 other Governors who have publicly stated that they would welcome refugee resettlement.
I ask you to make your position public and call on the Biden Administration to expedite refugee relief efforts for these nations.

Regards, [your name]