Friday, October 30, 2015

Our Statement on the Dehumanizing Daily Illini Cartoon

Recently, on Tuesday, October 27th the Daily Illini (DI) published a cartoon that portrays a white man dressed as stated “an illegal immigrant” for Halloween. We, the CU Immigration Forum, are disappointed by the publication, but more so the limited knowledge and understanding that surrounds immigration reform and the term “illegal” to describe human beings.

Our nation is built on the foundation of immigrants and should celebrate the diversity and cultures that immigrants offer. However, this cartoon is ignorant to the risks involved and what people leave behind who immigrate to the United States. The cartoon also dehumanizes the reasons why people cross the U.S. Mexico border in the first place. Our DREAMers who already experience daily forms of institutionalized racism on this campus are affected by the image because of the sacrifices they themselves, families, and friends have made to live in this country.

Several children in CU were forced to migrate here on their own to escape cruel poverty or gang violence. There are thousands of children throughout the United States in this situation. We consider their journey dangerous and brave—not a joke. The cartoon attempts to silence the deaths of over 6,000 men, women, and children along the border since 2000. Every person deserves the right to have access to food, water, shelter, live without violence, and happiness. When these fundamental rights are denied the human spirit will fight.

In this moment, CU Immigration Forum stands in solidarity with our DREAMers at UIUC, and the immigrant and Latino/a communities of Champaign-Urbana. We want to shed light on the strength of our DREAMers and immigrants who continue to strive in the face of these “accidental” or “well-intentioned” acts of violence, from the symbolic to the visceral (or “physical or “deadly”), on a daily basis.

This cartoon is unacceptable, but let it be a reminder to raise your voice against injustice, advocate for transparency and inclusion, and appreciate the diversity of our classroom, workplace, and home. We will continue to organize for the progress of immigrants because no human being is “illegal,” and everyone should be treated with compassion and dignity, whatever their status.

In Solidarity,
CU Immigration Forum