Dear Neighbors: On Monday February 28th, the Village of Croton-on-Hudson Board of Trustees passed Resolution #23-2022. The resolution, which was approved 5-0, declared its support for the work being done by Ossining for Refugees, Westchester County’s newest community-based organization focused on welcoming, resettling and integrating some of our newest Americans. The work of this and other community-based organizations welcoming people in need must be commended, especially given our current context.
Indeed, in the shadow of Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine, it is important that the United States reaffirm our commitment to those fleeing conflict, starvation and disaster. Vulnerable people in poor countries are almost always the ones who suffer most in these scenarios. At this delicate moment, we should consider the plight of all migrants, displaced persons and refugees in our own country and elsewhere. The UN Human Rights Agency estimates (prior to Russia’s invasion) approximately 100 million refugees and displaced persons in the world today, the most since World War II. This month’s sudden dislocation of an estimated 2 million Ukrainians, only adds to this number, regrettably.
In our own country, there are more than 12 million undocumented immigrants (according to the Brookings Institute’s analysis of US Census data), including 2 million Central Americans and 1.5 million persons from South East Asia. Everyday people have been caught in between conflicts in such places as the Korean peninsula, Vietnam, El Salvador, Chile, Afghanistan and Iraq.
Our own immigration policies, unchanged since 1986, are in dire need of reform. Let us live up to our country’s ideals and normalize the status of the 10-12 million immigrants and refugees in the US. The creation of a sub-class of people is not only abhorrent in the context of our democratic values, but also entirely avoidable. Let us welcome new Americans fleeing conflict, insisting on a foreign policy focused on bringing opportunity and building a lasting peace.
Alejandro Rosales, Trustee
Croton-on-Hudson, New York