Reader takes issue with characterization of AFSC

To the Editor:

On Feb. 10, in writing about illegal immigrants, Tom Joyce bemoans the work of the AFSC’s Immigrants Voice Program, and quotes program director Sandra Sanchez’ statement: “Youth have lost hope, they think that they can be deported at any time, or that their parents can be deported at any time.”

Joyce’s characterization of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) as “pro-illegal immigration” is flat out wrong. The AFSC was founded by Quakers (the Religious Society of Friends); and, since World War I, has worked to fulfill its mission of promoting peace and social justice. They are committed to dealing with human beings and, yes, social institutions in ways that promote understanding and peace. Their mission includes support of “immigrant and refugee communities across the U.S. while advocating…for humane policy reform.” In recognition of their refugee resettlement work, AFSC was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1947.

Ms. Sanchez’ statement is not “whining.” She expresses the pervasive feeling of threat in communities of color whether legal or illegal, whether individuals were born in the U.S.A. or immigrated to it, whether rich or poor. Let’s calm down and recognize that fear-mongering and name-calling are not solutions. Instead, let’s for a moment put ourselves in the shoes of a man or woman, boy or girl, who simply wants to live without fear and contribute to our country which, remember, was built by immigrants.

As a Quaker, and as a person of faith, I ask that readers seek accurate information about AFSC online and, if moved to do so, make a donation to their work.

Christina Connell


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