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Since its inception, Arizona State University's School of Transborder Studies has dedicated itself to the understanding of borders and their implications for culture, identity, politics, ecology, health, demography, and social change and prosperity. Our academic work has been guided by the firm principle that teaching, creative work, and research are inherently linked to social demands for rigorous and unprejudiced scholarship of border realities, so we can respond with knowledge and ideas that fit societal needs and expectations. Our school has done this using an interdisciplinary and comparative perspective combining the views and tools for inquiry of the humanities and the social sciences. Many of our educational and research efforts are in partnership with border scholars in other nations, including those working in higher education institutions along the Mexican border. This collaboration is part and parcel of our ability to effectively serve the increasingly important Latinx population in Arizona, and also other transborder communities in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. This collaboration also enriches our learning, teaching, research and societal impact.
We are deeply concerned by the drastic shift in federal policy toward immigrants and the U.S.-Mexico border because it threatens the integrity and well-being of the communities we serve, particularly Latinx and immigrant families with strong cross-border ties. As with many others in academia, we are working to understand the immediate and long-term implications of recently announced policies and actions regarding the construction of a wall along the border with Mexico, the deportation of undocumented immigrants, the threatened suspension of DACA, and the restrictions of travel from several nations. Furthermore, we are deeply troubled by the abandonment of respectful dialogue, and we strongly support mutually beneficial border policies as the guiding principle of bilateral relations with Mexico.
Because the current policies are based on unrealistic assumptions, they will do little to increase border security and eliminate unauthorized immigration; yet their forceful implementation will inflict enormous suffering and will undermine confidence in key American institutions. We, the faculty of ASU's School of Transborder Studies, would like to express our concern and rejection of these policies and actions based on the following:
1. Simplification of complex border and immigration realities can only lead to ineffective and unfair policies. Building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border does not address the complexities of national security or unauthorized immigration. The misleading nature of current approaches toward the border is reflected in the fact that immigrants are not a threat to national security, that many immigrants became unauthorized after entering the U.S. with valid visas, and that cooperation with Mexico is essential for a safer border.
2. Targeting the Mexican border and the immigrant community is contrary to Arizona and national U.S. interests. The border is not a line on the ground but the dwelling of millions of people, as well as the source of livelihood drawing its sustenance from shoppers, tourists, workers, and businesses that have created an integrated, vibrant border economy that benefits workers and businesses in both the United States and Mexico. Mexico is the first trading partner of Arizona and the future of the state economy is strongly connected with the ability to do business with Mexico. We strongly believe that the immediate and long term consequences of current executive orders pertaining to the border will have devastating effects on the economy of Arizona and does not serve U.S. interests.
3. Current views on border control and immigration impose undue burdens on members of our community: The people who are being targeted by current border and immigration policies are our students, friends, relatives, and members of our communities. The implementation of these policies will tear families apart and deny the sacrifices and dreams of many in the U.S. that have contributed and still contribute to the future of this great nation. The border wall and anti-immigration measures are extremely disruptive to the lives of families, businesses, universities, and entire communities and are clearly inhumane, ineffective and incongruent with American values and traditions.
We strongly support humane, unbiased, and evidence-based decision-making, and reject policies that unfairly target border communities, immigrants, and nations on the basis of incomplete and partial analyses.
The Faculty and Staff of the School of Transborder Studies
Tempe, Arizona, September 5, 2017