By Eskinder Negash, President and CEO, U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
Today, with the election behind us and the votes tabulated, America is moving forward. Our vote is our most sacrosanct exercise of American democracy. It is the people’s voice. It is with our vote that we choose who will represent us for the next two years, the next six years and the next four years. And today, the people have spoken.
America’s presidential elections, historically, are won and lost with narrow margins. In every election, there are those who are unhappy with the outcome and, given the narrow margins, this is not a small group of people.
As citizens, it is our civic responsibility to cast our vote. As Americans, it is our civic duty to accept the results of the election and move forward as a nation, continuing our struggle to become a country where a thriving, vibrant democracy is always our ideal. It is a struggle that requires the active commitment and participation of every American who believes that this experiment in democracy is worth the fight.
We have work to do. Global displacement is at an unprecedented high driven by conflict, poverty, and climate change. We are in the midst of a global pandemic. Our neighbors in the south are stuck at our border—denied the right to due process in applying for legal asylum. The recent Presidential Determination for this year’s refugee admissions ceiling is at an all-time historical low of 15,000. The government has stopped issuing green cards and work visas. Legal paths to immigration have been whittled away. Children have been separated from their parents, kept in cages, isolated in hotels, and denied the standard of care legally obligated in the Flores agreement and morally obligated by our humanity.
But together, as we move forward as a nation, we can call upon our government to honor our immigrant ancestors and open our doors again as a country of refuge. By righting previous wrongs, we can reclaim who we are as a people. Despite the historic ups and downs of our immigration policies, the core of our American identity is rooted in the immigrant experience. In fact, our future is tied to the vibrancy, energy and entrepreneurship that immigrants bring to our society.
The election is over, and the people have spoken. Let us now continue our struggle for equality and justice for all.