It is an honor to write to you as the new Executive Director of Americans for Immigrant Justice. After nearly a decade at the Texas-Mexico border, I join AI Justice committed to building an America that celebrates the contributions of individuals who immigrate to the United States and to welcoming them with dignity.
As I look towards 2023, I long for an American society true to our country’s ideals and best traditions. Regardless of our political affiliations, we all want what is best for our nation and those we love. People who immigrate are part of our families, communities, workplaces, and places of worship. While the media portrays us as a nation divided on immigration policy, I find we agree that fairness, freedom, opportunity, responsibility, and respect for human rights should be at the core of our immigration system.
AI Justice has given great thought to how to bring forth its vision of a country that extends due process and fairness to newly arrived immigrants, prioritizes freedom and justice for all, and recognizes that immigration is not just a link to our past, but a bridge to our collective future.
Like a lot of people, there were times I had misconceptions about, or was unaware of, how immigration policies played out in practice. As I learned more, I thought differently. This year I resolve to center people — not politics — in my leadership and to focus on building bridges of understanding.
As I’ve settled into my new role, I’ve seen the guiding simplicity of our common humanity in our daily work. The joy in a child’s eyes when they open a holiday present is the same, no matter where the child was born. And the tears of a mother hugging their child after ten years of separation flow with equal speed, regardless of whether the mother and child reunite at the Miami International Airport or the gates of a detention center when the child is finally freed.
These are the sacred moments our staff witness and create every day providing legal services to the immigrant community. These are the very stories that invite us to have meaningful conversations about who we are as a country and who we want to be. I look forward to sharing these stories and working beside you to bring about people-positive change in 2023. Together we can rise to this moment and do great things.
Until then, I wish you a joyous holiday season and the happiest New Year,
Executive Director, Americans for Immigrant Justice