Immigrant Authors Protest US Border Conditions

A number of immigrant and refu­gee authors published an open letter in The Na­tion calling on the US Congress to take “imme­diate steps to rectify the atrocious conditions for asylum seekers being detained” after attempting to enter the US. Isabel Allende, Lelsey Nneka Arimah, Neil Gaiman, Salman Rushdie, Gary Shteyngart, and Art Speigelman are among the 120+ signatories. The letter reads, in part:

Dear Members of the United States Con­gress:

We, like many of our fellow Americans, are appalled by the inhumane conditions in detention centers for asylum seekers at our southern border. The reports of death, abuse, overcrowding, untreated illness, malnutrition, and lack of basic hygiene are abhorrent, especially since many of those affected are children.

We appeal to you as published authors who are also immigrants and/or refugees. Many of us came to the US as children and shudder to think how this country would treat us now. As such, we urge you to take immediate steps to rectify the atrocious con­ditions for asylum seekers being detained today.

They call on Congress to take substantive steps to improve conditions, and say, “As writ­ers, we appreciate the sublime power of words. But as immigrants, we also remember the brutal reality: when you’re walking in a strange land, herded by strange men who speak in strange tongues, when you’re stripped of basic human needs, when you’re hungry, cold and helpless, words aren’t enough.” To read the full letter: <>.

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