The US presidential debate last week was all sorts of chaos, and to no one’s surprise, the topic of immigration was thrown around several times during the 90-minute fiasco. The most jarring response came from a moderator’s question around abortion where Biden mumbled through an unintelligible answer and then pivoted hard to vilify immigrants in an unrelated smear. 

We all know the US empire is on its last legs, but ‘Fortress Europe’ is also building its walls. In April the UK passed legislation to send asylum seekers on a one-way flight to Rwanda to be processed, and just a few weeks ago, the European Parliament elections leaned significantly onto far-right party gains, whose platforms were peppered with anti-immigrant vitriol and fear tactics.

Borders. Built and maintained by the elite through fear-mongering in order to control and monetize racialized bodies. Divide and conquer, oppress and pilfer. 

I often wonder, as an immigrant myself—but the one with all the privilege and none of the profiling—what it will take to let go of these deeply ingrained but completely arbitrary lines that divide us. I meet more and more children of globalization, multinational businessfolk, humanitarians, cross-cultural relationships, digital nomads, those who are born on the ‘right side of the border’ who transcend these barriers with ease. And then those on the ‘other side of the border’ are expected to accept a fate that they had no say in, and is in fact being exacerbated by those on the ‘right side.’

There is nothing but pure chance that separates me from my fellow Mexicans, Gazans, Sudanese, and Afghans who like me, just want to live a life of safety and joy, eat good food, spend time with friends and family, and acquire more houseplants than you have surface area in your home.

Nothing but chance. 

And yet, the only policy being put forth by those who control the borders is an absurd rat race of crackdowns and violence followed by pebbles of amnesty and goodwill to put on airs of humanity before another ‘Muslim ban’ or ‘pushback’ protocol where more people suffer and more people die as migration routes shift and become more dangerous. 

People move. The human experience has included migration along every step of the way, and the nation state will not eliminate movement. So it’s about time we start to work with movement instead of continuously trying to stifle it. 

Much of CPT’s work of nonviolence is to search for and dream up new and creative ways to exist together, especially in the liminal spaces of border towns. Come join our Borderlands or Lesvos delegations this fall to counteract these political narratives on migration and take part in active solidarity and collective liberation.

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Hannah Redekop

CPT Communications Associate

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