From Bans to Terrified Children: We Share the Same Fight

The intersectional impact of Trump’s immigration doctrine

June 20, 2018

Tearing families apart has been one of Donald Trump's favorite pastimes since well before he became President. On the campaign trail, he whipped crowds into a frenzy by promising to enact a "total and complete shutdown" of Muslims entering the country while in the very next breath calling for a wall and accusing families seeking asylum at our southern border of bringing drugs, crime, and rape. In just his first weeks in office he began delivering on those promises, stranding children and splitting families from Muslim majority countries and promising to do the same for those escaping violence in Central America.

These past few weeks, we're seeing once again the intersectional impact of Trump's callous immigration policies. We watched in horror as children at the border are ripped from their parents and kept in cages, their screams still echoing in our heads. This Orwellian scenario is a direct result of the Trump administration’s new “zero-tolerance” policy which treats all who cross the border -even families seeking asylum- as criminals. Despite the White House’s attempts to blame this on existing laws, the facts indisputably point to a unilateral change in policy as the sole reason for family separation on such an unimaginable scale.

These xenophobic immigration policies aren’t taking place in isolation, they all flow from the same sources of bigotry and racism within the White House. They should be called out as such and our communities must work together as we have in the past to confront them head on.

At the very same moment, we are waiting at the edge of our seats for the Supreme Court to announce its decision on the Muslim ban, which could come as soon as tomorrow. Whether it's bans, walls, or children in cages, the message is clear: all immigrant communities are under attack, and all of us must stand up for each other.

The Muslim ban and the horrific actions at the border, just like last September’s decision to plunge DREAMers into chaos, are not happening in isolation. These are not simply “Latino issues” and “Muslim issues.” They are different sides of the same coin of xenophobia, bigotry, and white supremacy. It’s no coincidence that the most unapologetic proponent of family separations in the White House, Stephen Miller, was also the chief architect of the Muslim ban and enjoyed such extracurricular activities in high school as organizing “Islamofacism Awareness Week.”

This administration’s use of blatant falsehoods and straightforwardly racist characterizations is also a consistent pattern applied across communities. President Trump has attempted to foreignize Islam in his limited engagement with Muslims while surrounding himself with top advisers who unabashedly accuse mainstream American Muslim leaders of being complicit in terrorist acts. Meanwhile, the President regularly raises the specter of violent “animals” who seek to “infest” our nation. And in one sweeping comment, he managed to smear Haiti, El Salvador, and a swath of African nations (including Muslim-majority Somalia) as “s***hole countries.”

The Trump administration is waging a war on immigrants that has many fronts, and is entirely by design. Their reasoning seems to be that if individual communities are each occupied with uniquely horrible policies, it will be impossible for a more unified resistance to take root. We’ve proven them wrong time and time again, from rallying behind the joint call of #NoBanNoWall in the early days of the administration, to supporting DREAMers (including many often overlooked Muslims), to highlighting the 310,000 people from both Central American and Muslim majority countries who may soon lose their ability to work and live in this country.

With the rapid escalation of family separations on the border and the looming uncertainty around the Muslim ban, it’s time for all our communities to recommit ourselves. Support organizations and efforts on the ground that are fighting family separation (here’s a helpful list) and join the coalition efforts around the Muslim ban decision day (FAQ on how to get involved). And at a deeper level, we must recognize that we share the same fight. Hatred towards immigrants comes from the same place, and so must our response of love. It should not be a radical declaration to say that families belong together, and yet we will keep saying it in our many languages and houses of worship, until the cries of children matter more than the politics of fear.



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