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AILA Stands Against Racism and Injustice

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

― Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from the Birmingham Jail.

In solidarity with the demands for justice and accountability, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) issued the following statement:

The events of the past week have been a painful reminder that black people in the United States continue to suffer under the oppression of racism and injustice. AILA’s mission is, at its core, to promote justice and fairness. And so we cannot stay silent. We must call out injustice and stand in solidarity with our AILA staff, members, and the wider community in the fight for justice.

The wave of civil unrest currently sweeping through America’s cities has been a long time in the making. The chain of events set in motion by the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers is just the latest expression of frustration against the structural and systemic racism which has been entrenched in U.S. society for centuries. This long-simmering anger flares into public view over and over again when unarmed black people are killed by the police, but it goes far deeper than any one instance of police brutality.

For more than 70 years, AILA has called on its members to promote justice and fairness. Those of us working in the field of immigration are painfully familiar with the destructive power of fear and prejudice. We see it daily in the separation of families, mass incarceration, abuse of authority, lack of accountability, and denial of due process for our clients. But these injustices are not unique to immigration. They are rooted in the same fear, prejudice, and violence that has terrorized the black community, in particular, and minority communities, in general, for centuries.

This is a moment in which our nation is on the precipice of lasting change. To realize that change, all organizations—including AILA, its members, and staff—have a shared responsibility to root out racism and dismantle the structures of oppression that impede progress towards the creation of a nation that is truly just, welcoming, and inclusive. We Stand Together!

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 20060290.