More than a century after the first World Day of Migrants and Refugees, communities continue to resist nativism and fight for immigrant rights. We are in a particularly dark period. Three years into the Trump presidency, the administration’s attacks on our immigration system have accelerated in horrifying ways. As of early September, more than 50,000 immigrants are being held in detention centers across the country. The Trump administration is making it far more difficult for people to seek asylum and sending thousands of vulnerable migrants to await their hearings in dangerous cities in Mexico. Just this week, the government announced it plans to reduce the cap on refugees to the unprecedented low of 18,000.
Yet while all of these developments might seem terrifyingly new, they also have precedents in the US country’s history. During the 1920s, Congress passed laws that excluded millions of people from migrating to the United States, based solely on their national origin. Asian immigrants were excluded completely (most Chinese immigrants had in fact been banned since 1882), as were most eastern and southern Europeans, Africans and residents of the Middle East. In the 1930s, the United States launched campaigns of deportation in which hundreds of thousands of Mexicans were rounded up and sent across the border. Also the government denied asylum to European war refugees, even sending a shipload of Jewish refugees back to danger and death in Europe.
But if it is true that the United States is returning to its nativist past, there is also reason to hope that things might get better in the future thanks to new platforms like iMiMatch. This is a growing platform where every immigrant is free to sign up and connect with other immigrants around the world. Immigrant groups on iMiMatch respond to discrimination and nativism by forming communities on iMiMatc that could provide mutual support for immigrants, help them resist the rising tide of nativism and advocate and lobby lawmakers on their behalf.