An Open Letter to Chertoff

No Border Wall

 

 

 

Mr. Chertoff:

Yesterday, you were quoted as saying, ”It’s time to grow up and recognize that if we’re serious about this threat, we’ve got to take reasonable, measured but nevertheless determined steps to getting better security.”  As Gandhi clearly states, “In the dictionary of satyagraha, there is no enemy,” I will refrain from thinking of you as the enemy. For that way leads uncivil discourse and uncommunication; if I were to posit myself as your opponent, then it would me vs. you rather than liberalizing border policies and militarizing border policies. Let it be about the issues.

(http://www.philly.com/inquirer/world_us/20080118_Time_to_grow_up__Chertoff_says_of_border-entry_rules.html)

 

When you say “grow up,” then, it is clear that you are intimating maturity is one’s ability to protect oneself against perceived threats (in this case, people). By urging America to grow up, you seem to mean that we should willingly swap a sense of safety for a sense of community. In commanding the citizens of North America to “grow up,” it is clear you assume that it is a childish gesture to wish to travel freely in the pursuit of one’s happiness.

 

On the contrary, the citizens of the Americas – the United States, Mexico, and Canada- do not take lightly the privilege and the right to pursue happiness, be it across borders or at home. We are united in our desire for the borders to places of peace and mutual benefit, not walls of contention and threatening militarism. We have grown up, beside each other, with each other, in each other. The United States is no more independent of Canada and Mexico than they are of it. To feign otherwise is to commit the worst kind of self-limiting arrogance.

 

We citizens on the border with Mexico join together with those individuals who cross the Canada-United States border every day. This new law is said to impact your economy most. We realize that injustice on any border is an injustice to all, and we unite with you in protesting such an unnecessary and ultimately destructive limitation on the border.

 

Additionally, Mr. Chertoff, we would like to clarify the fact that immigration is not a “threat” to national security. Rather, to the extent we can fill this country with individuals intent on raising families, capital, and dreams here, we are fighting terrorism at the most important, grassroots level. For every terrorist, then, that this proposed law would turn away at the border, many more immigrants and sojourners will be disenchanted and disenfranchised. Security is found in community, not in walls.

 

Finally, we will be praying for you. Obviously, the weight of our nation’s protection falls heavy on your back, so that you would attempt to trade some of our inalienable freedoms for added security against “aliens.” We, the American people, will pray for you as you work on community-building legislations, and we will civilly disobey any and all laws which seek to sow discord between Canada and Mexico and these United States.

 

Sincerely,

 

We, the Indivisible

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