People across the United States and around the world have been rightly outraged by U.S. federal agencies’ detention of migrants and separation of their families at the U.S.-Mexico border. Shortly after, the Supreme Court’s ruled to uphold the Trump administration’s racist travel ban on several Muslim-majority countries, reviving another fierce reaction to the administration’s policy toward immigrants, travelers and asylum seekers.
In middle school, children in the United States learn that the three branches of the federal government are arranged with a system of “checks and balances,” so that no one branch oversteps its power and violates the rights of individuals. But now, the whole world can see that the only thing “checked” by the White House and the Supreme Court is the human right to freedom of movement.
The cases are united by more than one administration’s xenophobia. Much of Latin America and the Muslim world share a legacy of U.S. interventions driving the very migration now being cruelly restricted.
Latinx migrants at the southern border have been in the national spotlight. But too rarely has the question been asked: What situation would compel so many people to leave their homes and take the perilous journey north in the first place?