President Trump’s derogatory comments yesterday about Haiti, El Salvador and countries throughout Africa are deeply offensive and expose the racist undertones of anti-immigrant sentiment in the United States. His comments not only disparage and demean entire countries and an entire continent full of people, they also ignore the many contributions made by immigrants from those countries to the United States.
Many of the countries Trump singled out suffered years of oppression and exploitation under white, colonial rule and harmful interference and exploitation by the U.S. government and U.S. corporations. Rather than insulting and defaming people outside the U.S., we urge President Trump to work to address the many shortcomings of our own country, including persistent and systemic racism and numerous other forms of injustice and oppression.
An important first step is recognizing that all human beings have been created in God’s own image (Genesis 1:27) and have inherent worth and dignity. We encourage the Trump administration and members of Congress to enact policies that reflect this dignity, starting by: passing a clean Dream Act; reinstating protections for Temporary Protected Status for Haitians, Salvadorans and others; and resisting efforts to dismantle our family-based immigration system.