January 22, 2021
For years, the Arab-American Family Support Center (AAFSC) has fought alongside community partners to reverse unjust immigration policies that have sought to harm and separate immigrant and refugee families in New York and across the country. Since 2017, we have co-hosted a ‘Stomp Out The Muslim’ ban event at Brooklyn Borough Hall that fused art and activism to combat the Muslim Travel Ban, participated in multiple public testimonies to share stories from our families affected by immigration policies like the new “Public Charge”, and appealed to elected officials at the city and state level to make the well-being of immigrant families their top priority.
This week, we are encouraged to see a historic new plan that rolls back some of these egregiously xenophobic policies. On Day 1, the Biden Administration uplifted immigrant communities by:
After years of advocacy, the Arab-American Family Support Center welcomes these changes. While long overdue, they are the beginning of a brighter, more welcoming era for all. With these initial first steps, our marginalized community members can breathe a sigh of relief and begin the long process of healing from years of traumatizing and unpredictable policies that became a burden on their well-being.
Still, the fight is not over. There is still a long road ahead of us to ensure that all New Yorkers and Americans – documented and undocumented – are able to freely live, work, and thrive. We must work together to repair the harm that immigrant families have borne over the past several years. And, we need to work together to ensure that reforms do not stop here. As we continue to grapple with COVID-19, it is incredibly important that we keep access to testing and vaccinations free, culturally-competent, and open to all. Furthermore, we call on our elected officials to repeal the new “Public Charge” immigration rule which remains active and continues to spread fear throughout immigrant communities, who are forced to choose between remaining in the U.S. or receiving public benefits for their survival.
Let us use the optimism of this new chapter to drive us forward into a future that is safe, healthy, and equitable for all!