Black LGBTQIA+ Migrant Project (BLMP) and Transgender Law Center condemn the expansion of the travel ban which targets Muslim majority countries, and now includes four African nations: Nigeria, Sudan, Tanzania, and Eritrea.
This anti-Black, anti-Muslim, xenophobic expansion comes in the wake of a Supreme Court ruling that allowed implementation of Trump’s race-motivated wealth test known as public charge.
The United States has seen an increase of Black migrants who are now the fastest growing population of immigrants. The travel ban and other policies that prohibit migration make LGBTQIA+ migrant communities vulnerable. This ban isn’t about safety and security, it is about preserving the Trump administration’s status quo.
The impact of this ban is felt acutely for Black LGBTQ Muslim migrants. BLMP member Wahira explained, “As a Black trans woman, who is also a refugee and Muslim, I have a hard time fitting in. I know I am everything the Trump administration hates.” Wahira is now part of a community of Black queer migrants with BLMP, it has become a political home for her and many others advocating for and centering the rights of Black migrants. BLMP has created a community that centers safety, empowering her and her community.
The Trump administration has repeatedly attacked Black migrants. The Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) have endangered the lives of Black migrants at the southern border, who face anti-Black racism every step of their journey in pursuit of safety in the United States. Additionally, the refugee cap and attacks on Temporary Protected Status (TPS) have shown how Black migrants aren’t a new target for the Trump administration.
Attacks on Black migrants must be centered in both the efforts of immigration advocates and the media. The mainstream immigration narrative is complicit in concealing the criminalization of Black people and specifically Black migrants. Global solidarity must be shown for Black migrants attempting to seek safety in a country that continues to deny their humanity as well as their right to a fair process. The profiling and surveillance of Black migrants will continue to escalate unless Black migrants are uplifted and centered.
Ola Osaze, director of BLMP, a project of Transgender Law Center, added, “This is nothing more than a continued attempt by the Trump administration to criminalize Black migrants and Black communities overall and bar us from any sort of political power. This expanded travel ban comes in the midst of America’s ongoing intervention and militarization on the African continent, which is creating the conditions and push factors fueling forced migration and displacement in the first place.”
The administration frames their reasoning as a national security concern, “to protect the American people from terrorist attacks by foreign nationals admitted to the United States.” African countries are also fighting terrorism within their own borders. This administration has used fear mongering as a tactic for their reelection bids. Playing with the lives of thousands trapped in countries that they are trying to flee in search of protection, and for those stuck in unjust processes.