In 1918, the year before we opened the International Institute in Lowell, Congress adopted legislation allowing the U.S. to deport foreign-born people – without due process – if they were affiliated with any group opposed to organized government.
In 1924, the year our Boston site opened, President Calvin Coolidge signed into law the National Origins and Asian Exclusion Acts, which restricted immigration by southern and eastern Europeans, especially Italians and Jews. The law severely restricted the number of Africans who could enter the country and completely banned the migration of Arabs and Asians.
Our leaders enacted these and other restrictive immigration laws 100 years ago out of pure prejudice, though they argued falsely that newcomers were taking jobs from Americans and threatening the security of the country.
While these laws were overturned, some of our leaders today want to take the country back to 1918 and 1924.
Earlier this month President Trump set a ceiling of 45,000 refugee arrivals in 2018, the lowest in the history of the resettlement program. His decision comes when there are 22.5 million refugees in the world, more than at any point in history.
Last week, the President said he would support legislation allowing 800,000 young people known as “Dreamers” to remain in the U.S. if Congress agreed to send unaccompanied children back to Central America, limit the ability of people to gain asylum in the U.S., end family-based immigration, take away funding from sanctuary cities, and fund a multi-billion dollar border wall. So much for simply helping young people who came here as children and who are contributing to the country.
During the past 11 months, more than 2,000 of you came to open houses, live storytelling shows, lectures and fundraising events hosted by IINE.
Another 300 of you volunteered at one of our sites, and more than 1400 of you donated to the International Institute.
This was your way of standing up for immigrants and refugees and opposing policies and rhetoric that harms newcomers, damages our national image, and ultimately, hurts our economy.
In the months and years to come, we need you to continue to give your time and treasure to IINE, to tell others about us, and to speak out against policies and programs that do both moral and financial harm to the U.S.
Your support matters greatly to the people we serve every day, and collectively it helps protect our nation’s tradition of welcoming people from around the world who cherish freedom and equality.
Below you’ll find many ways to engage with the International Institute of New England. I look forward to seeing you soon.
President & CEO
Become part of the IINE community. Now, more than ever.