Do Something about Xenophobia | Peace Through Action USA

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What is xenophobia?

Xenophobia is fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign.[1] Xenophobia can be exhibited through immigrant discrimination, that is when someone treats an individual differently based upon their citizenship or immigration status.[2]

[1] Webster’s Dictionary

[2] YOUR RIGHTS Immigration Status Discrimination. (n.d.). Retrieved September 22, 2017, from https://www.workplacefairness.org/immigration-status

How widespread is xenophobia in the United States?

[1] Jens Krogstad-Gustavo López (2016, June 29). Roughly half of Hispanics have experienced discrimination- http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/06/29/roughly-half-of-hispanics-have-experienced-discrimination/

[2] Alev Dudek (2015, August 27th). All Americans Not Equal: Mistrust and Discrimination Against Naturalized Citizens in the U.S. – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alev-dudek/foreign-born-citizens-in-america_b_8030968.html

What culture changes and public policies are necessary for preventing xenophobia?

The government should repeal policies and avoid rhetoric that marginalizes immigrants and encourages a culture of xenophobia. In place of these policies, governments should adopt inclusive education, law enforcement, community planning, housing, and other policies that accommodate and integrate immigrants into American economic and social life.[1]

[1] Pfeffer, M. J. (2008). The Underpinnings of Immigration and the Limits of Immigration Policy. Retrieved from http://scholarship.law.cornell.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1715&context=cilj

What practical solutions are effective for preventing xenophobia?

Discrimination of foreigners, including immigrants and refugees, stems from negative stereotypes. It is important to address the negative perceptions of immigrants in their host communities through cross cultural communication and promotion of diversity. This will diminish the uncertainties the host communities may hold as well as find relatable feelings and matters between the different groups.[1]Learn more about practical peaceful solutions in our Choose Peaceful Practices series of information pages.

1] (2013). Discrimination against immigrants – measurement, incidence and policy instruments. Retrieved from file:///C:/Users/Mudassir/Downloads/gfmd_turkey2014-2015_tm2_contribution_oecd1%20(4).pdf

What can I do to prevent or stop xenophobia?

  • Welcome Immigrants—Be kind to individuals and families from other countries in the places you live, learn, work, play, and pray. Introduce yourself. Offer a welcome gift. Exchange a meal. Inquire whether there is an ethnic community event that you may attend. Visit a place of worship or spirituality other than your own practice. Attend a naturalization ceremony.
  • Be an ally—If you know someone being subject to immigrant discrimination, educate them on their rights and guide them to the above resources and others as possible courses of action.
  • Notify the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)—If you think you are being subject to immigrant discrimination in the workplace, file a report with the EEOC.
  • Call the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) Hotline (Worker Hotline: 1-800-255-7688; Employer Hotline: 1-800-255-8155; Teletypewriter (TTY): 202-616-5525 & 1-800-237-2515)—this hotline provides workers and employers with the ability to work directly with IER’s staff to resolve potential immigration-related employment disputes informally and quickly without contested litigation.
  • Contact the National Immigration Law Center (NILC)—If you need assistance with your case, talk to the NILC for advice.
  • Notify the Department of Justice (DOJ) —If you think you are being refused admission by a school or university or treated unfairly based on your immigration status, file a complaint with the DOJ.
  • Notify the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)—If you think you are being denied housing or treated unfairly based on your immigration status, file a report with HUD.
  • In case of emergency—If you are experiencing or witnessing an emergency, call 911 or try to get to a location where others can observe your distress and intervene.

Where else might I go to learn about xenophobia?

  • Make the Road New York—A multi-issue organization that assists Latino and working-class communities in New York with education, community organizing, and legal and survival services, http://www.maketheroad.org/
  • Immigrant Legal Resource Center—A national non-profit that educates immigrants and provides opportunities to engage in the democratic process, https://www.ilrc.org
  • Black Alliance for Just Immigration—a racial justice and immigration rights organization that educates and engages African American and black immigrant communities to organize and advocate for equality and justice in their laws and communities, http://baji.org
  • Northwest Immigrant Rights Project—a non-profit organization that promotes justice by defending and advancing the rights of immigrants through direct legal services, systemic advocacy, and community education, https://www.nwirp.org/

Do Something about Xenophobia (PDF)

Page Authors: Shumyla Hussain (volunteer)

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