Letter to the Editor: Introducing Princeton Advocates for Justice and the case for action| Feb 5, 2017
To our fellow Princetonians,
President Donald Trump’s illiberal, discriminatory, and deeply problematic executive order pertaining to Muslim immigration marks a disgraceful moment in American history. With the signing of this order, President Trump's administration barred all refugee entries for 120 days, indefinitely banned the entrance of all Syrian refugees, and severely restricted immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries. President Trump’s unfounded executive orders are antithetical to our values not only as Americans, but also as decent human beings. Islamophobia has warped our President’s actions, and we can’t let that stand. Moreover, not a single fatal attack in the United States from the seven countries in the travel ban has been linked to refugees, and refugees already go through some of the most rigorous vetting procedures.
In response to these executive orders, students at Princeton have mobilized, forming the Princeton Advocates for Justice, an intersectional student coalition advocating for the protection and advancement of basic human rights. This coalition draws from more than 20 different student groups which represent the different cultures, ethnicities, and religions on Princeton’s campus.
PAJ has mobilized to empower the student, faculty, and greater Princeton community's voices by organizing an Immigration Day of Action on Feb. 17 in the Frist Campus Center’s Multipurpose Room. The Day of Action will consist of letter-writing, postcard-writing, and phone banking for the purpose of protesting President Trump's executive orders on immigration. In addition to the groups on campus, PAJ is partnering with other student groups on campuses across the country to coordinate similar efforts. Everyone, regardless of political affiliation, is encouraged to attend, and PAJ volunteers will be on site to assist participants in their interactions with elected officials.
One may ask, “Why should I call? What would my voice even do?” The impact, however, is greater than you may know. Congressional staff record and tally the number of calls received by constituents about certain issues, and staff will even pass along certain letters and comments to the member of Congress for whom they work at the end of each week. For example, because of numerous constituent calls urging them to vote against Betsy DeVos’s confirmation as Secretary of Education, Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Susan Collins (R-ME) recently broke with their party and signaled that they would vote against DeVos’s confirmation. Your voice matters, and on an issue as crucial as this immigration ban, PAJ calls upon you to make your voice heard.
In the end, the immigration ban affects our entire community. Peers and friends who walk among us face an imminent danger, that a country that has previously welcomed them may not even allow them to return to school next year. Beyond the Orange Bubble, thousands of people promised a safe haven from persecution have suddenly found themselves turned away at our gates, rejected as “bad dudes” whom President Trump has labeled a threat to American security. These executive orders stand in opposition to what it means to be an American.
PAJ’s goal is to provide a platform and coalition for future activism, connecting students and others with ways in which they can make their voices heard. We will not have just one Day of Action — we’re going to have as many Days of Action as it takes to get the job done. Each of us has the opportunity to make a difference, and we encourage you to do so by joining us for our Immigration Day of Action on Feb. 17.
Princeton Advocates for Justice