At MeBIC, we join all those who are horrified by and grieve the slaughter of 11 innocent people at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburg on October 27, 2018. The shootings were a shocking, but perhaps also a sadly unsurprising event following a sharp increase in anti-Semitic incidents since 2016.
But this shooting was not just about one man’s hatred of Jews. Reports are that the assailant directed special ire on social media towards the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), one of nine organizations nationwide that assist with resettlement of refugees. On the morning of the shooting, he posted “HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.”
Unfortunately, many political leaders in the U.S. both at the federal and state levels are trying to drum up anti-immigrant sentiment to score political points through lies. Refugees are not terrorists (any more than all white males in the U.S. are murderous anti-Semites because one man murdered eleven Jews). Mexicans are not all drug dealers and rapists. Mothers and children and young people fleeing gang violence in Central American are not all MS-13 gang members. There is no “invasion” at the Southern Border in comparison to other years that justifies separating or detaining families, or closing our border to asylum seekers. (The number of apprehensions in FY 2018 were relatively consistent with the previous five years, and far below the high of 1.6 million apprehensions in FY 2000).
It is urgent that we speak out against hate, lies, and misinformation. To do so, though, we need to be informed and be able to sort fact from fiction.
At MeBIC, through our website and e-newsletter, we will do our best to provide you with facts and to point you to resources and data to increase your knowledge about immigration law and policy. Armed with accurate information and context, you’ll be better equipped to stand up and speak out to correct myths and lies before they create unnecessary fear, or, as we have just seen, far, far worse.