October 3, 2019
Anna Marie Gallagher, President
Catholic Legal Immigration Service
8757 Georgia Avenue, Suite 850
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Andrew Selee, President
Migration Policy Institute
1400 16th Street NW, Suite 300
Washington, DC 20036
William M. Treanor, Dean
600 New Jersey Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001
Dear Ms. Gallagher, Mr. Selee and Mr. Treanor,
We, the undersigned organizations, urge you to rescind acting Department of Homeland Security secretary Kevin McAleenan’s invitation to keynote your Immigration Law and Policy Conference at Georgetown University on Oct. 7, 2019.
Over the past 15 years, your annual conference has been a resource for attorneys and advocates to learn about immigration policies. It has also made space for advocates to challenge policies and policy makers in a public forum. We understand that inviting administration officials from both parties has long been a tradition of this conference. But we now live in extraordinary times where the merits of this current administration’s immigration policies and the integrity of those who carry them out are not a matter for debate.
The Trump administration’s immigration policies are cruel, racist and rooted in the white nationalist hate Donald Trump and Stephen Miller are so blatantly trying to institutionalize. People like McAleenan who are carrying out and championing these policies should not be treated as if their positions on immigration are reasonable or legitimate in any way. McAleenan is enforcing policies that perpetuate family separation and state-sanctioned child abuse. He has withheld information and intentionally misled Congress about the administration’s systematic circumvention of migrants’ due process rights. No institution should give McAleenan a rubber stamp of approval or megaphone to spread more hate and lies, especially organizations working toward a more compassionate and humane immigration system.
At a time when the White House and cabinet-level officials are consolidating power and inciting violence against immigrants and Black and Brown people, we all have an important choice to make: Will we go on with business as usual or rise to respond at scale to the threat that the Trump administration poses to our communities and democracy?
We urge you to rise with us. Giving a platform to McAleenan, like you’ve given to other DHS secretaries in the past, sanctions and normalizes the racist, cruel and potentially illegal policies he is carrying out and vehemently defending. It also undermines the mission and values your organizations are committed to upholding.
We hope you will reconsider your position and rescind McAleenan’s invitation to keynote the conference.
Bend the Arc Jewish Action
Center for Popular Democracy
Detention Watch Network
Justice for Muslims Collective
National Day Laborer Organizing Network
National Immigrant Justice Center