Trump declares national emergency over border wall, targeting LGBTI immigrants

A message projected onto a prototype of Trump's wall

Donald Trump on Friday (15 February) declared a national emergency over the US-Mexico border. He did this in order to commandeer more funding for his wall.

This declaration allows Trump to bypass Congress and divert federal funds towards his wall.

He also signed a spending bill today, avoiding another government shutdown. The spending bill allotted money for border security, though not a wall. Trump will now reportedly seek an extra $6.5 billion in funding.

What is a national emergency?

Congress passed the National Emergencies Act in 1976. It allows the president to declare a ‘national emergency’ at their discretion, with no specific definition of what constitutes an emergency.

By declaring a national emergency the president can benefit from specialized laws, such as access to previous inaccessible funds.

A national emergency runs out in a year, unless a president renews it, which they can also do indefinitely.

Fifty-nine national emergencies have been declared under this act, with the US still in 31 continuing declared states of emergency.

How does this affect LGBTI immigrants?

Trump declared the national emergency for his border wall, which is at the core of his anti-immigration rhetoric and policies.

Many of the refugees seeking asylum from Central and South America are LGBTI people. They’re escaping discrimination and violence in their home countries.

LGBTI people of color face disproportionate rates of discrimination and violence worldwide. This is especially true in countries lacking protections or rights for LGBTI people, which many of these countries do.

In 2018, a transgender woman seeking asylum from the violence she faced in Honduras due to her gender identity, died in the care of US immigration.

Currently, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is holding over 100 trans people.

Many other LGBTI asylum seekers have struggled to make it into the US due to Trump’s hardline and racist immigration policies, prompting condemnation from several LGBTI groups and figures.

Responses and lawsuits

Some Republicans, like Mitch McConnell and Lindsay Graham support Trump’s decision and blame Democrats for it.

Others, however, are more critical of the president.

Most of the criticism is coming from Democrats and civil rights organizations.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), who’s running for president, tweeted the federal government should be focused on ‘actual emergencies that plague our nation — like climate change or health care access — not playing politics in order to build a wasteful border wall’.

California Governor Gavin Newsom declared his state will seek to block the declaration in court.

‘This “emergency” is a national disgrace, and the blame lays solely at the feet of the President,’ he said in a statement. ‘He plans to shut down and shift funds used by California law enforcement that run counter-narcotics operations and fight drug cartels to build his wall.

‘Our message back to the White House is simple and clear: California will see you in court.’

The ACLU also declared an intention to sue:

As Newsom stated, Trump will be diverting money away from other places in order to fund the wall. One of those places is military construction funding.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) called the decision ‘appalling’. He further described it as ‘an egregious example of the President putting his political agenda ahead of the interest of the United States’.

See also

Everything LGBTI people need to know about Trump’s border wall

Kesha releases a new music video for immigrant youth in the US

Author: Anya Crittenton

The post Trump declares national emergency over border wall, targeting LGBTI immigrants appeared first on Gay Star News.

Everything LGBTI people need to know about Trump’s border wall

People protesting the border wall in Arizona

A story dominating headlines in the United States right now is the wall President Donald Trump wants along the US-Mexico border. It has caused a government shutdown (going on three weeks) and numerous debates around the country.

While it may be understood this has nothing to do with the LGBTI community, that’s simply not true.

In fact, immigration (and related issues, such as refugees seeking asylum) is intrinsically linked to LGBTI issues.

This is everything LGBTI people should know about the current border wall debate in the US.

Background on the wall

Trump has been promising a border wall to curb illegal immigration since he first began his presidential campaign. In one of his first speeches, he referred to Mexicans as ‘criminals’ and ‘rapists’ as justification for the wall.

Barriers have existed along the border, aimed at preventing illegal immigration from Mexico, since the 1990s. These barriers are not one continuous structure, but numerous structures in certain areas.

Trump, however, has used fearmongering in an effort to rally support for a continuous, massive border wall.

In September 2016, he said: ‘On Day One, we will begin working on intangible, physical, tall, power, beautiful southern border wall.’

A message projected onto a prototype of Trump's wall

A message projected onto a prototype of Trump’s wall | Photo: Flickr/Backbone Campagin

Make no mistake: this call for a wall is racist.

From his day one comments about Mexican people, all of his rallying cries for a border wall have been steeped in negative stereotypes about Latinx and other people of color.

In his recent Oval Office address on the border wall, he linked drugs, violence, and terrorism to immigrants.

Multiple White House officials, including press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Vice President Mike Pence, claimed Customs and Border Patrol apprehended 4,000 known or suspected terrorists crossing the southern border.

In fact, between 2017 and 2018, only six were on the Terrorist Screening Database.

Further, multiple studies have shown illegal immigrants commit less crimes on US soil than US citizens themselves, and legal immigrants commit even less.

Amber Heard at the border wall protest

Amber Heard and other celebrities attended a protest at the border wall | Photo: Instagram @amberheard

Recent history

The US federal government is in its third week of a shutdown, leaving federal employees out of jobs without pay.

Despite once claiming he would take responsibility for the shutdown if funding wasn’t provided for the border wall, Trump now blames Democrats.

Democratic Congressional leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have met with Trump multiple times. Each time, they’ve refused to give in to Trump’s demands.

This, however, does not mean Democrats are against border security.

In fact, when Democrats took control of the House of Representatives at the start of the year, they passed legislation which included $1.3 billion in border security funding.

In years past, Democrats also supported other border security measures. One measure was the 2013 Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act. Another was the Secure Fence Act of 2006.

It’s different now because they simply won’t give Trump the $5.7 billion he demands for his racist and unethical wall.

How this affects LGBTI people

As previously mentioned, many federal employees are currently out of their jobs without pay due to the shutdown. This includes LGBTI federal employees.

LGBTI people south of the border are also severely affected by this.

It is no secret that LGBTI people of color face disproportionate rates of discrimination and violence worldwide. This is especially true in countries lacking protections or rights for LGBTI people.

Many of the refugees seeking asylum from Central and South America are LGBTI people. They’re escaping discrimination and violence in their home countries.

Roxsana Hernandez, a transgender immigrant

Roxsana Hernandez, the trans woman who died in the custody of US immigration, was only 33 | Photo: Facebook/Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement

In 2018, a transgender woman seeking asylum from the violence she faced in Honduras due to her gender identity, died in the care of US immigration.

Many other LGBTI asylum seekers have struggled to make it into the US due to Trump’s hardline and racist immigration policies, prompting condemnation from several LGBTI groups and figures.

Let’s not forget, as well, that the United States helped cultivate such violence and political corruption in Central and South America due to its involvement in numerous countries’ elections during the Cold War and beyond.

In Nicaragua, for example, the US backed and funded the Contras, right-wing rebel groups in the 1980s and 90s. These groups used terrorist tactics to commit thousands of human rights violations.

We should care

More than anything else, we should care about other marginalized groups – period.

It’s true that LGBTI people are among the caravans seeking asylum. Regardless, though, it is in the interest of fostering compassion and a progressive future to advocate for and heed the oppression of other minority groups in general.

The oppression of any marginalized community affects all others.

The fight for equality and rights, in face of dictatorial forces of power, fails without intersectionality.

Author: Anya Crittenton

The post Everything LGBTI people need to know about Trump’s border wall appeared first on Gay Star News.