The hypocrisy of the United States is sometimes difficult for me to understand. President Barack Obama battles racism daily as the the leader of the so called “free world,” but participates in the use of state power that hurts other marginalized groups.This country, built on stolen land and labor, genocide and enslavement, has the audacity to try and enforce illegal borders created by broken treaties. How can the United States participate in oppressive economic and political actions around the world and react any way other than hospitably to the displaced people its foreign policy creates?
The media paints a contradictory picture of immigrants as lazy freeloaders who are simultaneously “stealing” American jobs when immigrants pay taxes and do some of the hardest, most dangerous work that the United States has to offer. Yet, the political benefits for politicians who are “tough on immigration” far outweigh collective outrage about families ripped apart by deportation. Immigrants are used by Democrats and Republicans to further each parties’ political agendas but are not given real consideration when issues like deportation and ICE violence are never allowed on the table.
As we do the long and difficult work to heal from centuries of oppression wrought in the name of the United States, we search for things that we can change immediately. President Obama can stop deportation, today. The separation of families, the abuse in detention centers, the violence directed at immigrants can end using his executive powers to “legalize” 11 million immigrants. The policy of letting the families of active service men and women and non violent immigrants stay in the country is a move in the right direction but more has to be done. Immigrants deserve more than administrative policy changes in the face of Congress’ inability to deliver on reform promises.
As a Black queer woman from the South, I am in solidarity with all marginalized groups. My commitment to creating the world we want means challenging all forms of discrimination, particularly state violence. I can’t get down with the mainstream gay movement if it means that rights are only available to those who are white, rich, cis, and able bodied citizens. If the movement for queer folks means just letting a few more people have access to rights then it’s not a movement.
SONG’s work organizing at the intersection of queer liberation and immigrant justice is crucial in helping mainstream LGBTQ groups see exactly how our struggles are linked. Beyond the fact that many immigrants are LGBTQ and that many LGBTQ folks are immigrants, collaboration between movements can only help our collective chances in creating a better world. Join SONG in calling for President Obama to use his executive powers to stop deportation now. Not one more person needs to be taken away from their family. Not one more family need fear for the safety of their loved ones. Not one more.
Moya Bailey is a graduate of the Emory University Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department. She is interested in how race, gender, and sexuality are represented in media and medicine. She is the founder and co-conspirator of Quirky Black Girls, a network for strange and different black girls and was an inaugural Blog member and Digital Alchemist at the Crunk Feminist Collective. Moya is also a SONG member.