The Southeast Immigrant Rights Network (SEIRN) is dismayed and outraged at the Trump Administration’s continued and intensified attack of immigrants and refugees of color. SEIRN strongly condemns three recent policies steeped in anti-blackness, racism and Islamophobia: the expansion of the Muslim ban, the public charge rule, and the expansion of policies denying asylum seekers the right to apply and have their cases heard in the United States.
The new Muslim and African ban restricts citizens from five African countries and one Asian country to enter the United States. The exclusion of what is now a total of 15 countries is laid clear by the stark reality that the Muslim and African ban targets countries with large Muslim populations and people of color. The vast majority of these citizens are either Muslim, Black, or both.
Basma Alawee, former refugee and organizer with the Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC), a SEIRN member, expressed her anguish:
"This is an outright attempt to discriminate against people on religious, racial and ethnic grounds and to dismantle the refugee resettlement program, which benefits mainly African and other Global South countries and has saved thousands of lives throughout the decades. There are people with legitimate claims of persecution who will now be left with no recourse. The current Administration has stopped the United States from being the beacon of hope and freedom for the rest of the world, turning its back on people who need help most.”
The new public charge rule, recently upheld by the Supreme Court, is yet one more punitive measure that uses fear to primarily target people of color. The new regulations expand the criteria for deeming an immigrant “likely to become a public charge” by including factors such as low credit scores, debt, inability to speak English, while giving the DHS greater discretion in taking such factors into consideration. The Trump administration hopes to stoke enough fear and misinformation so that immigrants decide not to seek immigration remedies for which they qualify.
The continued expansion of the Migrant Protection Protocols and measures such as the Asylum Cooperative Agreements is endangering the lives of thousands of asylum seekers. Asylum applicants are forced to wait in Mexico or Central America for months or even years during the course of their immigration proceedings. The Trump Administration has successfully bullied the governments of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador into becoming de facto U.S. immigration policy henchmen unable to ensure the safety or well being of the asylum seekers.
For the past three years, the Trump Administration has advanced its white nationalist agenda and worked incessantly to shred every last protection and option available to immigrants and refugees of color under an immigration system fraught with massive inequalities and injustices from its inception. Trump and those aligned with him instill fear and hatred to pit communities against each other, to keep them divided and to draw attention away from his detrimental and atrocious policies.
But we will not succumb to fear and hatred. We will not give into the false narratives that seek to divide and turn us against each other. We recognize the right of every human being to social and economic security. We uphold love and lift up the dignity and humanity of everyone. We reaffirm our commitment to combat racism, islamophobia, anti-blackness, and every system of oppression that denies us our liberation.