Border advocates and lawmakers join summit to discuss ‘New Ellis Island’


EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Border advocates, lawmakers and policy experts gathered online Friday at a virtual summit to explore challenges at the southern border, as well as possible solutions to the crisis in the immigration in progress.

The Border Network for Human Rights (BNHR) hosted the New Ellis Island (NEI) Virtual Border Policy Summit which included US Representative Veronica Escobar (D-Texas), Bishop Mark J. Seitz of El Paso Diocese, Former Texas State Sen José Rodriguez, and more.

“At a time when the voices of border residents are being suppressed or ignored by many politicians and lawmakers who prefer to use our communities and our struggles as pawns in their political game, the New Ellis Island Virtual Border Policy Summit provides an indispensable platform. . to elevate the political solutions of the border, for the border, and to discuss strategies to build a more compassionate and humane border and immigration system, ”said Fernando García, Executive Director of BNHR.

The phrase “the new Ellis Island” was coined by Democrats and used by Escobar when she traveled with Vice President Kamala Harris to El Paso.

Ellis Island is the immigration station that opened at the mouth of the Hudson River between New York and New Jersey in 1892. About 40 percent of all current US citizens can trace at least one ancestor who immigrated through Ellis Island and Democrats hoped that new policies could turn El Paso into a contemporary hub for legal immigration.

Concerns were raised as to whether the term implies a free-to-all immigration policy or an open door when Ellis Island served as a port of entry that allowed immigrants – including asylum seekers – to begin the US entry legal and medical assessment process

Policies such as the Immigrant Quota Act of 1921 and the National Origins Act of 1924 restricted the volume and nationality of permitted immigrants to the United States, which ended mass immigration to New York.

In 1924, Ellis Island was operating primarily as a temporary detention center.

The New Ellis Island Virtual Border Policy Summit addressed topics such as creating a welcoming and functional border handling system, improving law enforcement transparency and accountability, promoting economic growth at the border and tackling policies designed to suppress border communities.

The event builds on the continued work of border defenders, organizations and lawmakers.

“Last month, on June 10, BNHR brought together black, brown and immigrant communities from across the border region for the 8th edition of our Hugs, not walls event, which reunited families on the Rio Grande who were separated by inhumane and unfair immigration laws, ”Garcia said. “This week’s summit is an opportunity to find real political and administrative solutions to end the suffering of these same families and thousands of others, and to underscore the urgent need to change our draconian and outdated laws on immigration.

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