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President Trump’s new travel ban suspends the entry of nationals from six countries that are predominantly Muslim (Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen) for 90 days. The order suspends the entire U.S. refugee program for 120 days and restricts the total number of refugees admitted to the U.S. to 50,000 per year. The fact is that this new executive order will bar thousands of LGBT and HIV-positive people from seeking refuge in the United States.

This order and the political climate regarding immigration has dashed the hopes of LGBT people fleeing persecution in some of the countries in which they face the worst abuse and discrimination.

Also distressing, the order instructs federal authorities to publicize regular statistics related to crimes committed by immigrants. Just the simple fact of publishing crime data, a move highlighted in the president’s joint address to Congress, unfairly strengthens the myth that immigrants are also criminals.

We should call it like it is: This order is aimed at agitating public perception of Muslims and opening yet another door to hate crimes and other crimes at a time when mosques throughout the country are the target of vandals and Muslim people the target of hate violence. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s most recent report on hate crimes, there was an “enormous leap in anti-Muslim hate groups, from 34 in 2015 to 101 last year — a 197% increase.” FBI statistics show “that hate crimes against Muslims grew by 67 percent in 2015, the year in which Trump launched his campaign.” Let’s not forget that federal and local authorities are currently investigating the recent shooting of two engineers from India — one man died — as possible hate crimes related to the climate of hostility toward foreigners in the United States.

Keep reading this article by Los Angeles LGBT Center Policy and Operations Manager Maria Melo published on Advocate.com.


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March 15, 2017