Through an independent study at Occidental College, I’ve focused on the discourse of immigration. Although this presentation focuses on the United States, I have taken what I learned from my other courses, Democracy and Human Rights in Latin American and Diplomacy and World Affairs (DWA), to help me understand immigration through an international perspective. Indeed, immigration is not an issue that solely pertains to the United States; the act involves people from two or more nations making it a global issue.
After the devastating world wars, the international community took action to protect human rights regardless of peoples’ origin. In fact, in 1948 the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Universal Declaration of Human Rights).
The United States has fought and sought to advance the promotion of human rights; yet, the United States’ focus on human rights has tended to be very outward. As a major player in the international community, the United States has the obligation to uphold the same standards it imposes on other nations. The United States is typically not considered guilty of violating human rights and this attitude can potentially be dangerous to minority groups such as immigrants. The U.S. State Department states that the promotion of human rights is an important national interest and seeks to “hold governments accountable to their obligations under universal human rights and norms” (U.S. State Department on Human Rights). Certainly, this is a noble act and while the United States has contributed to many positive changes, it is counterproductive for them to advocate ideals if they do not fully accomplish them.
Overall, the purpose of this presentation is to shed light on human rights in the United States. The United States is a hegemonic power, but also needs to be held accountable if they do violate human rights. Essentially, for the United States to be a credible advocate of human rights it must work to solve its own violations first.