Friends,

An 18-foot fence, built of metal and corrugated steel plates, runs inland for miles from the Pacific Ocean, bisecting a sloping mountainside in the desert. It marks the arbitrary line dividing what once were interconnected communities, an imposed boundary between “us” on the American side and “them”—everyone to the south.

That fence embodies an approach to immigration that relies on military-style enforcement, an approach that has created a human rights disaster along the U.S./Mexico border. Under the immigration policy reform proposals Congress is considering, the border now stands to become one of the most militarized borders in the world.

The American Friends Service Committee is hosting “Boots on the Border,” an hour-long discussion on border militarization, on Oct. 30. I hope you will tune in to learn more about these proposals for so-called “border security” that put at risk humane immigration reform, and our democracy itself.

Constructing barriers between people in the name of “security” ignores the reality of the global community—that our fates as individuals, nations, and the world are interdependent.

Using violence to enforce those arbitrary lines does more to threaten our security by further driving people apart. As with shows of military force at the border, drone strikes and threats of war in any part of the world create new enemies, making our country less safe, not safer.

The new issue of Quaker Action explores how, from Somalia to the West Bank, the U.S. could become a powerful force for healing a broken world, if we and other major powers choose to invest in shared well-being instead of national competition.

I hope that as you read the stories of young Somalis striving to make a living and repair ties between neighboring towns, you, too, will see how—when given the chance—youth can harness their creativity and energy to assert themselves, using the power of nonviolence to rebuild their communities that have lived so long in the shadow of violent conflict.

In peace,

Shan Cretin, General Secretary