A recording of the call is available here.
Earlier today, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) and Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO) joined policy experts and advocates for African immigrants on a press call to discuss Trump’s extended version of the Muslim Ban that has time and again ostracized and cast away minorities. In his expanded attack on immigrants, Trump’s new ban takes aim at African countries such as Eritrea, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania and creates treacherous implications for immigrants seeking safe haven.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), said, “We believe in no discrimination in the Constitution on the basis of race, but this administration has stripped and shredded constitutional values. This current president did not consult leadership in Congress on the issue; this is again an abuse of his power and total disrespect of Congress by failing to provide advance notice. There is no doubt terrorists are roaming through some of those countries, but there are also terrorists in Russia and China, and those countries did not receive travel bans. We must push back with major action; we don’t expect to lay down on this.”
Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO), said, “The first Muslim Ban undercut America’s mission to be a safe place for all. This administration is poised to announce an expansion of this ban, thus threatening key partners like Nigeria. In my view, this puts our national security at risk. I’m the son of immigrants; my parents are Eritrean. They came to us as refugees and their ability to do that offered my family freedoms and opportunity. This a bipartisan issue in Congress and many of us believe we should remain a beacon of hope in the world. Trump’s potential expansion of this ban does not align with American values and policy towards immigrants for centuries and would separate families, perpetuate xenophobia and exacerbate the discrimination experienced by so many today. At the end of the day, in America, immigrants are integral parts of our communities and it is entirely un-American to discriminate against people based on where they come from and how they pray. There is a sense of urgency around this issue and I am willing to take it on.”
“The Trump Administration’s extension of the visa ban to four African countries- effectively turning it into an African ban- is another in a line of biased, irrational immigration policies that single out our communities,” said Amaha Kassa, Executive Director of African Communities Together. “From rolling back refugee protections, to attacking the Diversity Visa program, to canceling Temporary Protected Status, the Administration has made it clear that they are targeting immigrants from countries they have slurred as “shitholes”, even if they have to break the law to do it. Trump is trying to build a virtual wall to keep Africans from traveling to the U.S. legally, and we will tear that wall down.”
Mustafa Jumale, Policy Manager, Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI), said, “BAJI is appalled at even the thought of an expansion of the Trump administration’s Muslim travel ban. More than half of the countries: Eritrea, Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania on the list are African countries and would be hit hardest. For example, the expansion of the ban would disproportionately affect Nigeria, the largest African country by population. As a Queer Somali Muslim advocate, this issue hits close to home. Because of the Muslim Ban one of my family members was stuck in Nairobi for almost three years, separated from her husband and children. Her youngest daughter lives with chronic illness. No mother should be so cruelly separated from her children.”
Farhana Khera, Executive Director, Muslim Advocates, said, “The Muslim Ban has already cruelly and needlessly separated tens of thousands of families, and an expanded ban would ensure that thousands more suffer that same fate. The Muslim Ban was wrong in 2017 and expanding it is wrong again.”
Oluchi Omeoga, National Organizer, Black LGBTQIA Migrant Project, said, “We are affected because we are first-generation Black immigrants who are LGBTQIA. At BLMP, we envision a world where Black folks are free and liberated. The travel ban is obviously an attempt to attack Black migration and people of color’s right to migrate. We already see that earlier this week that the Supreme Court authorized public charge; another attack on poor migrants – especially Black migrants. There is a crisis with Black migrants stuck at the border. We also see trans Black migrants being shipped from one detention center to another. So, all of this is just a clear larger picture of the attacks on Black migrants within and outside the country. With the travel ban, we know that four of the six are specific African countries that don’t all have a Muslim majority. For instance, Nigeria, Eritrea and Tanzania are not Muslim majority so we know that the administration’s claim to be fighting terrorism is a pretext for a larger agenda that is Islamophobic and anti-Black.”