The past year has brought with it chilling stories of deportation, of families being torn apart, and of an American president dangerously enabling those with anti-immigration views. Despite the evidence that immigrants bring many benefits to this country and that deportation is a human rights violation, many in this country fail to consider the very real human costs that deportation engenders. Over in New Haven, students have rallied to support Melecio Andazola Morales, the father of Yale senior Viviana Andazola Marquez, who was detained, separated from his family, and put into deportation proceedings.
This devastating state of affairs is not only chilling but sobering, as it is not a problem solely localized to New Haven. At Harvard, there are many students who may have similar experiences to Andazola Marquez—who may be undocumented, part of mixed immigration status families, or have close relationships with those who are, and thus live in fear of deportation for themselves or their loved ones. The life-altering events that have afflicted the Andazola Marquez family could just as easily have affected one of our own. Even if we ourselves may not come from such a background, we must become educated and informed about immigration issues to better understand when and how our fellow students are affected.
In looking at the events that have occurred at Yale, we would push for Harvard to create contingency plans for situations like these, thinking about how they can support students who are impacted by immigration issues, especially those who belong to mixed-status families.
Therefore, it is imperative that every single person holding a position of power at the University be educated about issues of immigration affecting the Harvard community. If a student is having a crisis or breakdown because their lives have been devastated by a family member being deported, all Harvard officials should be prepared to help that student.
We stress that this is not an issue that can be shelved for a few months or delegated to a task force. Harvard cannot and should not wait: They should plan now. And while we hope Harvard’s administration acts as rapidly as a situation of this magnitude would dictate, we are glad student groups like Act on a Dream have demonstrated solidarity with Andazola Morales. Their tireless work to address these deep, raw issues and help students affected by these issues is commendable.
We encourage students who are sympathetic of the plight of the Andazola Marquez family to show support by signing a petition that is circulating around Yale and by donating to the GoFundMe page that Yale students have set up to assist Andazola Marquez’s father.
For those who might look at the complexity surrounding immigration and think of it as an abstract, impenetrable issue, this situation should remind them that it is not. It is a human rights issue. This matters not because it concerns a Yale student’s family but because it concerns a human being. Deportation and other anti-immigration injustices occur every day, especially in the current political situation.
It is unfortunate that the catalyst for talking about this issue was the fact that the man’s daughter was a Yale student. We hope this tragedy serves as a springboard for constructive dialogue surrounding immigration issues across campuses and the country and that the anti-immigrant rhetoric ceases. We cannot afford to wait for the next immigration injustice—not one more.
This staff editorial solely represents the majority view of The Crimson Editorial Board. It is the product of discussions at regular Editorial Board meetings. In order to ensure the impartiality of our journalism, Crimson editors who choose to opine and vote at these meetings are not involved in the reporting of articles on similar topics.