Letter to the Editor: Cartoon speaks to lack of immigration knowledge

By CU Immigration Forum

On Tuesday, The Daily Illini published a cartoon that portrayed a white man dressed as stated “an illegal immigrant” for Halloween. We, the CU Immigration Forum, are disappointed by the publication, but more so the limited knowledge and understanding that surrounds immigration reform and the term “illegal” to describe human beings.

This cartoon dehumanizes the reasons why people cross the U.S.-Mexico border in the first place and what they leave behind. Our DREAMers who already experience daily forms of institutionalized racism on this campus are affected by the image because of the sacrifices they themselves, families and friends have made to live in this country. 

Several children in C-U were forced to migrate here on their own to escape cruel poverty or gang violence. We consider their journey dangerous and brave — not a joke. The cartoon attempts to silence the deaths of over 6,000 men, women and children along the border since 2000. 

We should all agree that every person deserves access to food, water, shelter, life without violence and happiness. 

In this moment, CU Immigration Forum stands in solidarity with our DREAMers at the University, and the immigrant and Latino/a communities of Champaign-Urbana. We want to shed light on the strength of DREAMers and immigrants who continue to strive in the face of these “accidental” or “well-intentioned” acts of violence, from the symbolic to the visceral — or “physical or “deadly” — on a daily basis. 

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    This cartoon is unacceptable, but let it be a reminder to raise your voice against injustice, advocate for transparency and inclusion and appreciate the diversity of our classrooms, workplaces and homes. 

    We will continue to organize for the progress of immigrants because no human being is “illegal,” and everyone should be treated with compassion and dignity, whatever their status.

    In Solidarity,
    CU Immigration Forum