Presentation at the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Hosted by the Montana Human Rights Network
January 20, 2009Shahid Haque
Today I had the honor of presenting my views about immigrant rights as a human rights issue. I spoke at a fundraising event hosted by the Montana Human Rights Network, which was held at the Myrna Loy in Helena, Montana.
I believe that too often, people tend to view immigration as a purely legal issue, and are quick to classify undocumented immigrants as no different from “criminals” who violate the law. This simplistic view of immigration fails to take into account the human rights conditions that forcibly displace immigrants and compel them to come to the United States, with or without lawful status. Individuals who come to the United States under these conditions are not criminals and should not be treated as such.My presentation makes the argument that human rights exist apart from the law, and are not constrained by the law as it stands at any given moment. Further, because human rights conditions often compel undocumented immigration, the treatment of undocumented immigrants in the United States is also a human rights issue.