With mere days until Joe Biden’s inauguration, where Kamala Harris—a Black woman and daughter of immigrants—will stand as his number two, it’s time for some big action in favor of Black women and Black immigrants.
Mass incarceration is not typically discussed in the context of the way it impacts and causes harm to women.
As we all gather in our households, ever more isolated from one another, the invisibility of the immigrant families my students and I represent weighs on me.
I offer here three glimpses into what immigrant families are living through right now, in neighborhoods and households all around us.
Dozens of Cameroonian asylum-seekers have been deported via “death flights” back to Cameroon, as the Trump administration rushes to clear African migrants out of the country during its final weeks in office. I hope we get a fair shot to explain why my Cameroonian client David is so clearly deserving of asylum—but I am no longer going to take it for granted that ICE will comply with the law.
In 2019, the Trump administration enacted sweeping changes to the public charge regulations in order to make it harder for a low-income applicant to get their green card. Families, terrified of being deported and having their family torn apart by Trump’s “arcane” public charge rule, left social programs—like SNAP and Medicaid—in droves.
Not only are laws about migrant women’s bodies resulting in the mass incarceration of women in the Gulf, they are also producing a chain reaction in the form of a generation of children who are stateless.
As we celebrate the first woman of color vice president in America, let us also take that celebration transnationally to continue to build solidarity with feminist networks across oceans.
Human rights organizations have documented dozens of accounts of immigrants receiving inadequate medical treatment, pregnant women and newborns held in custody beyond the time limits allowed by law, and inhumane conditions for those forced to give birth in custody.
“As the director of ICE … my cousin [Tony Pham] will be deporting people for whom there is no path at all, even if they have paid taxes here for many years or are Dreamers who were brought here as children. He will fight to block more refugees from following in his own footsteps.”
Mahsa Khanbabai, an Iranian American and an immigration lawyer, shares her thoughts on advocating for a more fair and just America.
She writes, “Immigration attorneys and advocates will continue to demand change not only in a court of law, but in the court of public opinion. It’s vital to empower those without voices, as well as to advocate for change with our neighbors, our broader community and with our elected officials. It’s bigger than a single political movement—it’s about education and dialogue. “
Should the Supreme Court gain a radical adherent to the conservative agenda, generations of progress will be on the chopping block—and most vulnerable to these winds of change are the immigrants among us.
To understand the impact of a potential Justice Amy Coney Barrett, one must first understand the current lay of the land.