Dignity Beyond Borders

Sofia Stutz, Guest Writer

The United States has backed coups, financed wars abroad, and destabilized economies all over the world, exacerbating the violence, corruption, and injustice that cause people to flee their home countries. Nonetheless, the current administration scapegoats immigrants, refugees, and asylees, dehumanizing the most vulnerable, promoting state-sponsored violence as a solution to migration flows.

Borders stratify us and the only thing they protect is the notion of the “enemy.” The more we deconstruct the implications of physical and political borders, the more we are able to reconstruct the full picture of the immigrant, the refugee, and the asylee — human beings who have hopes and dreams, and
who seek opportunity just as many of the ancestors of white U.S. citizens did.

Immigrants, refugees, and asylees make up a significant portion of the ETHS student body. We don’t have representatives of every community in the nation, but we do embody a degree of diversity. On the political spectrum, however, the majority of us fall into the “liberal” category. This reality functions counterproductively because it reinforces the idea that we are somehow exempt from analyzing the ways in which we fail to uphold equitable practices. We have made strides as a school in the way of social justice, but we are often blind to the narrow-minded and self-righteous attitudes we cultivate in believing that we have “done enough.”

Students Without Borders, like other clubs at ETHS that fight for human dignity, is invested in encouraging the ETHS community to take a step beyond rhetorical gestures of inclusivity toward tangible human rights. That is why we raise money for scholarships for undocumented seniors. That is why we seek to educate ourselves about how to push back against white nationalism. That is why we spread messages of solidarity on buttons and t-shirts. That is why the story of the children separated from their parents at the border is not one we are willing to forget. To stand in meaningful solidarity with our immigrant, refugee, and asylee brothers and sisters, we must be willing to look within ourselves and acknowledge our complicities with current power structures that exclude them from full participation in our society. The ETHS community, made up of both documented and undocumented persons, can be a space to showcase ways to treat each other with empathy and respect, rather than animosity and dehumanization.