Reflections on a President, a Ban, and a Country’s Racial Past - Advancement Project - Advancement Project

Reflections on a President, a Ban, and a Country’s Racial Past

By Laylaa Abdul-Khabir

I remember the day then-candidate Donald Trump first announced his proposal for a Muslim ban. Reading from a notecard on the podium, he stated, carefully and deliberately, “Donald J. Trump is calling for a complete and total shutdown of Muslims entering the United States … ” he continued, “ … until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on!” The crowd cheered.

It seemed like a stunt, another one of a series of theatrics designed to draw attention to his candidacy. This week, the highest court in the land validated the president’s proposal and vouched for his authority to issue what they have called “entry restrictions.”  The Supreme Court in Trump v. Hawaii granted legal legitimacy and cover for an executive order that will have ominous impacts on Muslims and adjacent communities at home and abroad.

The first Muslims came to America on slave ships, forced journeys across the Atlantic that were not the product of choice.

Origin stories are important, and words matter. The conflation of Muslims with a sense of suspicion and chaos in our country – “what the hell is going on” – was no accident. Much as Trump’s critics point to his lack of eloquent articulation, his words are carefully chosen, and often calculated to powerful effect. He did not need to state that Muslims are feared for their ties to terrorism both here and abroad, that as a group they are suspected; those sentiments were implied and deeply interwoven in our country’s racial imagination. “We have no choice,” Trump stated, concluding his proposal and throwing up his hands, “We have no choice!”

The first Muslims came to America on slave ships, forced journeys across the Atlantic that were not the product of choice. Their religious practices were often hidden from their slave masters; any sign of agency was not desirable in a slave. Despite this early history, in the immigration from South Asia and the Middle East that followed the passage of the 1965 Immigration Act, Muslim identity in America has taken on a largely foreign connotation, bearing the mark of many off-white groups who are both American and yet never-quite.  In 2001, 9/11 accelerated the already embedded hostility and suspicion toward Muslims in America, just as Trump’s election intensified the White supremacy that forms the fabric of this country’s identity.

Rally against the Muslim Ban at the U.S. Supreme Court on June 26, 2018

For, at its heart, the Muslim ban represents a separation: those desirable enough to enter this country from those undesirable, by virtue of some amalgamation of their national origin, religion and non-White identity, that collected together form a vague and shadowy threat in the American psyche.  It is age-old prejudice, not new in this country, but recycled and rebranded with new words for a new era. The fact that the collateral damage is that many will be separated from family members and many others will fear leaving this country, is encompassed as the cost we must pay for the security of our nation. It was not lost on many the irony of the Court choosing to overturn its Korematsu decision allowing Japanese internment camps at this critical juncture. “To make express what is already obvious,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote, “Korematsu was gravely wrong the day it was decided, [and] has been overruled in the court of history.” But is it so obvious? For a country debating the merits of detaining immigrants and their children, for a country that has recently restricted Muslim entry, what is apparent is that a court and a public remain unwilling to truthfully confront its history.

KEEP READING

Advancement Project National Office Issues Statement in Support of the 2021 DREAM Act

Advancement Project National Office applauds the re-introduction of the DREAM Act by bi-partisan members of the U.S. Senate. The DREAM Act would provide permanent protections for over two million immigrant youth and current Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients. The introduction of this bill is a testament to the power of immigrant youth and allies who have consistently pushed for meaningful legislation that protects our communities from criminalization. And although a step in the right direction, the introduction alone is simply not enough. There must be a specific roadmap to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented people in the…

Read More
Advancement Project National Office’s Immigrant Justice Releases Top Priorities for the Biden-Harris Administration

Advancement Project National Office’s Immigrant Justice released its top priorities, in collaboration with Juntos, Puente Human Rights Movement, and Florida Immigrant Coalition, for the Biden-Harris Administration. These priorities and recommendations are rooted in Immigrant Justice’s vision of decriminalizing migration and the core beliefs that no one is disposable and all human beings are valuable and worthy of protecting. DOWNLOAD RECOMMENDATIONS (Graphic) DOWNLOAD RECOMMENDATIONS (PDF)…

Read More
Brutality, Abuse, & Neglect at ICA-Farmville Detention Center: Local, National Organizations Expose Deplorable ICA-Farmville Conditions

  The only solution is to free all people detained in ICA-Farmville, and shut it down for good. Advancement Project National Office is working with La ColectiVA, Sanctuary DMV, Detention Watch Network (DWN), and the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) to make it happen. On August 18, 2020, we released a new white paper and infographic highlighting the deplorable conditions at Immigration Centers of America (ICA) Farmville.  The white paper synthesizes new documents obtained by way of Freedom of Information Act…

Read More
Webinar on the Power of Sheriffs in Florida – August 10, 2020 at 2pET/11aPT

On Monday, August 10, 2020, at 2p ET/11a PT, join Advancement Project National Office, Dream Defenders and New Florida Majority for a webinar on the power and role of sheriffs in Florida, and how sheriffs impact the school-to-prison pipeline. Learn about organizing efforts to defund policing budgets and address harm throughout Florida, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Receive political education about the history of policing and what communities are doing to build power to build a world without police. Register today!  …

Read More
Advancement Project National Office Condemns Trump Administration’s Memo Seeking to Dismantle DACA

Washington, D.C. – Advancement Project National Office condemns a memo issued by the Trump Administration today that blatantly ignores the recent Supreme Court ruling to continue the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program, and begins the process to dismantle the program. “Just one month after the Trump Administration lost at the Supreme Court in the DACA decision, they issued this memo that completely disregards the lives of hundreds of thousands of immigrant youth, and we will not stand for this,” said Losmin Jimenez, Immigrant Justice Project Director at Advancement Project National Office. The July 28, 2020 memo states…

Read More
Advancement Project National Office Celebrates National Cousin’s Day!

Did you know July 24 is a national holiday? Advancement Project National Office uplifts National Cousins Day today, which celebrates the extended family members we know and love – our cousins. During this sustained moment of protest and unrest across the country, as well as calls for truth, racial justice and reconciliation, it’s time to lean into the honest perspectives our cousins often provide. When it comes to race, our family can harbor views and beliefs that are ill-informed, ignorant, and damaging.  Because of this, conversations around race can…

Read More
Advancement Project National Office Issues Statement on Trump Administration’s Executive Order on Erasing Immigrants from U.S. Census

Today, the Trump Administration launched another attack on immigrants by issuing an executive order that excludes immigrants from being counted in the 2020 U.S. Census. The order comes as the Census is well underway and started on April 1, 2020. The U.S. Constitution mandates that all people living in the United States be counted every 10 years to determine federal funding for all 50 states, territories, and Congressional redistricting. The Constitution requires all people are counted, regardless of immigration status. The U.S. Supreme Court already ruled against the Trump Administration last year in its demand to add a citizenship question…

Read More
¡Si Se Puede! How Cesar Chavez Inspires Us to Challenge COVID-19 Systemic Inequality

By Shuya Ohno, Managing Director of Campaign Strategy Phoenix, AZ – Dolores Huerta at the protest vigil in front of the AZ State Capital in 2010 Today, we commemorate Cesar Chavez Day under a heavy cloud of anxiety, uncertainty, and fear. Here in New York City where I live, make-shift hospital tents are being set up in Central Park. Nurses tending to victims of the coronavirus are dying. Covid-19 positive pregnant women are being intubated following emergency deliveries. The invisible virus has infected the very character that I’ve always loved about this diverse city. Whether it’s complaining about the…

Read More
Citing the Global Health Pandemic, Civil Rights Organizations Urge State Officials to Release Incarcerated People

Media Contacts: Joshua Garner, 240-326-3874, [email protected]ntproject.org Pennsylvania Immigrant Rights Organizations and Advancement Project National Office Urge Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Agencies to Release People From Incarceration, End Flow Of New People Into Jail, Prison, and Immigration Detention Amid COVID-19 Crisis   Pennsylvania – In a letter sent to state officials Tuesday, Pennsylvania based immigrant rights organizations, Juntos, Casa San Jose, VietLead, Asian Americans United and Advancement Project National Office are calling on the Pennsylvania Immigration & Customs Enforcement, Enforcement & Removal Operations (ICE ERO), the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC), sheriff’s offices, and police departments across Pennsylvania to…

Read More
Puente Human Rights Movement and Advancement Project National Office Call On Arizona Governor, State and Federal Law Enforcement Agencies to Release All People From Incarceration, End Flow Of New People Into Jail, Prison, and Immigration Detention Amid COVID-19 Crisis

Citing the global health pandemic, civil rights organization urge state officials to release incarcerated people PHOENIX, AZ–In a letter sent to state officials March 19, Puente Human Rights Movement and Advancement Project National Office are calling on Gov. Doug Ducey, Arizona Immigration & Customs Enforcement & Removal Operations (ICE ERO), the Arizona Department of Corrections (DOC), and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office to protect the lives of vulnerable community members by immediately releasing all people from incarceration and ending the flow of new people into jail, prison, and immigration detention systems amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. The letter, which was…

Read More