Tammy Alexander Archive

Wilderness laid waste

February 7, 2020 Tammy Alexander

Take up weeping and wailing for the mountains,    and a lamentation for the pastures of the wilderness, because they are laid waste so that no one passes through,    and the lowing of cattle is not heard; both the birds of the air and the animals    have fled and are gone. (Jeremiah 9:10)   Along the San Pedro River, the last free-flowing river in Arizona, trees are being cut down in preparation for border wall construction across the river. A 30-ft bollard wall structure might effectively dam the river and cause flooding during the summer monsoon. In Organ […]

The next chapter in the Christmas story

December 20, 2019 Tammy Alexander

During this time of Advent, as millions of refugees face an uncertain future and thousands of asylum seekers wait to enter the United States, some communities are reaffirming their commitment to helping newcomers find safe homes. On December 9, a Burleigh County Council hearing in North Dakota was standing room only as hundreds voiced their support for welcoming refugees. The council, which had been expected to vote against resettling any refugees next year, ultimately voted 3-2 in favor. The county of 95,000 people welcomed 24 refugees last year. A new Trump administration policy is requiring states and localities to opt-in […]

No safety here

September 20, 2019 Tammy Alexander

  On July 16, the Trump administration released a new regulation requiring asylum seekers arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border to have requested asylum, and been denied, in at least one country they traveled through before asking for asylum in the U.S. (The rule does not apply to Mexican asylum seekers who do not need to travel through a third country to get to the U.S.) The new rule was immediately challenged in federal court and temporarily halted. However, on September 11, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the regulation to go into effect while lawsuits in lower courts continue. Lee Gelernt, […]

Providing safe harbor

June 7, 2019 Tammy Alexander

Eighty years ago this week a ship carrying 937 people, almost all Jewish immigrants escaping Nazi Germany, returned to Europe after being turned away by the governments of Cuba, the United States and Canada. At one point, the ship came close enough to the shore near Miami that passengers could see the city lights. Upon their return, some found safety in other European countries; 254 perished in the Holocaust. After World War II, many countries realized they did not do nearly enough to protect people fleeing violence and genocide. As a result, the international community created the 1951 Refugee Convention […]

Border walls: A simple fix?

February 22, 2019 Tammy Alexander

By Tammy Alexander, Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office There is general agreement that monitoring the flow of people and goods across the U.S.-Mexico border is a necessary government function. This is especially true when it comes to efforts to restrict the flow of illicit drugs and human trafficking. However, there are disagreements among both policymakers and the public about how best to accomplish this, particularly when it comes to the construction of border walls and fences. Those disagreements are sometimes expressed with extreme language, when those who favor building walls are portrayed as racist and hating immigrants and those who […]

Courage is knowing what not to fear

December 22, 2018 Tammy Alexander

A number of migrant caravans made their way from Central America through Mexico this fall. Though these caravans were unusually large, migrants often travel in groups as they are less likely to be victims of violence or other crimes. They left home with only what they could carry on a more than 2,000-mile journey, some with small children in tow. Thousands walked northward, many seeking to escape gang violence, domestic violence and poverty. After weeks of walking and waiting, they were met at the U.S.-Mexico border with armed border guards, razor wire and tear gas. U.S. officials treated their arrival […]

Invest our treasure in people, not walls

September 7, 2018 Tammy Alexander

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. –Matthew 6:21 Matthew 6:21 is often cited as a guide for individual spending habits, but it can also be an important principle to consider for federal budgets. The U.S. government spends roughly $18 billion per year on immigration enforcement—more than all other federal law enforcement agencies combined. In July, the House Appropriations Committee passed a bill to increase this funding and add $5 billion for more walls on the U.S.-Mexico border. A similar bill in the Senate calls for $1.6 billion for border walls. To many members of Congress, […]

Separating mothers from their children at the border

May 18, 2018 Tammy Alexander

On the eve of Mother’s Day, the Trump administration formalized a policy of forcibly separating immigrant children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, a practice that, in recent months, has already led to the separation of hundreds of families. The new policy is a cruel response to immigrants seeking asylum (safety) in the United States, many of whom are mothers with young children fleeing gang violence and domestic violence in Central America. It is designed to deter families from coming to the U.S., but will only add to the trauma families have already endured. Under the policy, which applies […]

Give me your healthy, your wealthy, your huddled college graduates

February 16, 2018 Tammy Alexander

Give me your healthy, your wealthy, your huddled college graduates Tammy Alexander, Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office As the U.S. Congress considers legislation to protect Dreamers (undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children) they are also debating a number of policies regarding what type of immigrants we should welcome into the United States. Some proposals would move us to a more merit-based system while limiting family-based and other forms of immigration. Limiting family migration could mean no longer allowing people to petition to bring their siblings, parents, or adult children to the U.S. Discussions also involve ending […]

Challenging false narratives about immigrants

December 8, 2017 Tammy Alexander

Challenging false narratives about immigrants Tammy Alexander, Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office As the U.S. Congress decides whether to protect Dreamers—immigrants who were brought to the United States as undocumented children—policymakers are once again embroiled in a debate about the relative merits of different categories of immigrants. In September, the Trump administration announced the end of a program that protected Dreamers from deportation. Various bills have been introduced in Congress to restore these protections, including the Dream Act which would provide an eventual path to citizenship. The White House and some in Congress would like to pair the Dream […]