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The Southern Border and a Broader View 

May 19, 2023

With the expiration of Title 42 in mid-May, we have seen a surge in media coverage about immigration, much of it focused on the number of people arriving to our southern border, the legality or illegality of their presence there, and a host of federal laws intended to support everything from asylum processing to detention and expulsion.   

Given this narrative, I want to take a moment to share my view, a view I hope compels us to remember that immigration does not begin at the border. Nor do changing border polices remedy the root causes of human migration. The current humanitarian crisis on our southern border is the result of incredibly complex issues including climate change, political corruption, poverty, violence and foreign policy decisions. These issues are the reason people throughout Central and South America are fleeing their homes, leaving behind friends and family on the gamble of being admitted to the United States, only to then take on the hard work of building a life here.  

I believe in the value of appropriate screenings at our borders, yes. I also believe that migration and asylum-seeking are fundamental human rights. I believe we have a responsibility to support the success of the immigrants who have made it here, and the team here at Canal Alliance works tirelessly to provide the services essential to this success: immigration legal aid, English language support, tutoring, health services, housing, workforce training programs and more. 

It is also important to me — and to all of us at Canal Alliance — to change the narrative about immigration and immigrants, to contribute to one that appropriately honors the contribution of immigrants to our society. Here in Marin County, on the shores of both San Francisco Bay and the Pacific, I hope we always remember that a rising tide lifts all boats. Latino immigrants are a vital part of the community here, just as we are in communities across the United States and beyond. Our region’s overall success is inextricably tied to the contribution of our newest residents, and this will remain true even in a deluge of media coverage that might have us believe otherwise. 

Omar Carrera
Read more posts in: Immigration

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