NAFCON Statement On International Migrants Day 2016
December 19, 2016
For Immediate Release
Reference: Terrence Valen, NAFCON President, email@example.comOn IMD 2016, NAFCON Supports Migrante and Grassroots Movement of Migrants, Readies Filipinos in the US for impacts of Trump Administration in 2017 and beyond
On International Migrants Day 2016, the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) vows to continue the struggle to protect and advance the rights and welfare of Filipinos across the U.S., alongside all peoples who have continued to struggle this year but feel increasingly at risk from an incoming Trump administration.
The close to 1 million undocumented Filipinos and 12 million undocumented immigrants from around the world in the U.S. were directly threatened this year by then presidential candidate Donald Trump who promised to deport them all and build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border as soon as he takes office. He also personally attacked women, Muslim, LGBTQ, black and people of color communities in his campaign, and this has already unmasked the sexism, racism, Islamophobia and homophobia in this country, leaving our communities increasingly polarized, while he mobilized millions of voters dissatisfied with the worsening economic situation to target and scapegoat these communities and elect him as president. Unfortunately, both here in the U.S. and around the world, Trump will only exacerbate these problems, and we must ready ourselves for the challenge ahead. NAFCON vows to continue to stand firm with grassroots movements for change in the U.S. and will mobilize all of its resources and strength to defend our community and build grassroots power to turn the tide on this “right turn” in U.S. politics.
As exploitation, forced migration, and wars of aggression increasingly rage on all over the world, particularly in Syria and across the Middle East, the displacement of migrants and the current refugee crisis is at a critical stage. NAFCON, together with the International Migrants Alliance (IMA), participated in a September UN Forum in New York on the Massive Movement of Migrants and Refugees, which is aiming for a 2018 global compact for “safe, orderly and regular migration.” IMA has stated that, “While such will answer some concerns of migrants, it will not resolve the larger economic, political and social issues of migration. It may even be used to further restrict borders and legitimize the criminalization of undocumented migrants.” Both internationally and here in the U.S., we can expect that both the UN and Trump’s policies on migrants and refugees will continue to expose them to scapegoating, discrimination, harsh enforcement measures, and continued exploitation. But through grassroots organizing and mobilization with IMA, we can build the international movement of migrants and refugees to offer more concrete and lasting solutions to this mounting crisis.
NAFCON also congratulates the international grassroots organization of Migrante on its 20th anniversary this December 18th. With almost 10 overseas chapters and affiliates of Migrante in the U.S., overseas Filipinos are bonding together to tackle the issues of forced migration, wage theft, trafficking, discrimination, and exploitation faced by Filipino migrant workers here and across the globe. On Migrante’s 20th anniversary, NAFCON stands together with Migrante International chapters all over the world to demand that the ongoing Peace Talks address the root causes of forced migration and end the bankrupt Labor Export Policy of the Philippines.
NAFCON has waged powerful campaigns in 2016 to support peace and development in our homeland, the rights and welfare of our kababayans (fellow Filipinos) in the U.S., and the struggles for justice of indigenous, immigrant, people of color, and working class communities. With our ongoing relief, rehabilitation, and development programs promoting Environmental Justice for the Philippines, we have engaged in solidarity, relief, and medical missions and successfully completed and documented one of our first water systems in the Talaingod region of Mindanao. We have continued to wage campaigns in support of trafficking and wage theft victims across the country, helping them to organize and advocate for justice, adjust their status, reunite with their families, and recover millions of dollars in unpaid wages. From supporting both the Lakbay Lumad Tour across the US and Gabriela’s powerful mobilization to stop the “Mail Order Family” NBC show, NAFCON connected the struggles of our kababayan in the Philippines and in the US to the struggles of indigenous people like the Sioux Tribe at Standing Rock, and immigrant and black communities across the country against mass incarceration, deportation, and police racism, violence, and killings. We also engaged Filipinos in the US to participate in the May 2016 Philippine elections and contribute to the Migrants’ Agenda, and we continue to mobilize them through the Kababayan4Change platform for true justice and lasting change in the Philippines. We will continue to build our grassroots power through waging even more powerful campaigns in the years ahead, with the over 4 million Filipinos in the U.S. and in solidarity with all struggling peoples thoughout the United States.
In 2017, we call on all our kababayans to join us, as we support grassroots organizing and build NAFCON into an even more powerful alliance. We are currently launching educational forums, and we will immediately share resources from our successful work across 23 different cities such as “Know Your Rights” information for all immigrants and workers. Join us in mobilizations across the country on inauguration day, January 20th to raise the calls and demands from Filipino migrant, workers’ rights, and other progressive groups. We will defend our communities and advance our rights and welfare in this country, in the Philippines, and around the world no matter who is in office, and we know that when we work together and stay grounded in our communities, we will find the solutions and build the power we all need. On this 2016 International Migrants Day, we recommit ourselves to building the grassroots movement of migrants, refugees and people’s struggles with our kababayans and with all people demanding and fighting for change, progress and peace, in the Philippines, US, and around the world.
Attached: Photos from various International Migrants Day gatherings in cities across the US