BATS Statement on Immigration Ban
We are a country of immigrants. An immigration ban is, by definition, unAmerican.
That is the message from the board of directors representing the more than 60,000 members of the Badass Teachers Association. We want to make it crystal clear - we do not support Donald Trump’s immigration ban signed on Friday in Washington, D.C. It violates the principles on which this nation was founded. It is cowardly, xenophobic and racist.
Today this executive order has closed our borders to refugees and immigrants from some Muslim-majority countries. It has caused chaos as people coming here were held at airports and other entry and exit points.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security has even said that the ban includes people holding green cards which until now have made them legal permanent US residents.
The order temporarily bans refugees from around the world from entering the US. It has blocked Syrian refugees indefinitely and placed severe restrictions on immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries – Iraq, Syria, Iran, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia.
Trump may call it an immigration ban, but we know what it really is. It is an anti-Muslim ban. It is racism as national policy and we will not put up with it.
Many of us are public school teachers. Our classes are filled with students from all over the world. We offer sanctuary to those who have nowhere else to go. Whether they be refugees from Muslim countries ravaged by ISIS or those seeking asylum from African, European or other nations, we accept them all. They are all our students and we love them.
It is fitting that this order was signed on Holocaust Remembrance Day. It highlights what we, as teachers know - we have seen this before. Many of us teach about it in our classes.
“I teach my 8th graders about Anne Frank and how her family was denied refuge in the United States,” said Steven Singer, head of the BATs Blogging and Research Committee. “They often ask what would have happened if we had let her in, and I reply that she would probably be someones grandmother not the most famous victim of the Holocaust.”
"America is a nation of immigrants and that is what makes us great and will continue to make us great. Banning immigrants based on their country of origin is unconstitutional and denying asylum to refugees is immoral. We must be better than this." Dr. Denisha Jones, BATs Board of Director Member.
"We are all daughters and sons of immigrants. We stand at the precipice of a new chapter in American tragedy akin to the Trail of Tears. History will judge us harshly for what has transpired in the land of the free under the supposed banner of security. This act, this executive order, flies in the face of what it means to be a decent human being. We will fight for all immigrants. We will not remain neutral with so much hanging in the balance." Gus Morales, BATs Board of Director Member
Denying refugees entrance into our country will not keep us safe. It will only ensure their deaths, and the blood will be on our hands. We have the power to help. Turning these people away is not the moral thing to do. It is the action of cowards and fools.
Trump ran on the slogan “Make America Great Again.” Immigrants are what made this nation great, if it ever was. We now see he has a different definition of greatness.
Like people of conscience everywhere, BATS will fight this ban. We will go to the airports and try to protect our immigrant brother and sisters. We will show the students who were anticipating the arrival of their families members, who were fleeing terrorism and horror, that we support them. We will join with the ACLU and other organizations to support legal challenges to this ban. We will participate in peaceful protests and civil actions. And when we enter the classroom, we will make our students feel loved and safe.