The American government wants to redefine what it means to be American. As though history has taught us nothing. As though we have not been here before.
Scrolling through social media this past week, amid stories of synagogue shootings and Black bodies pelted with bullets, brings gifts of transgender kin declaring their existence and flat-out refusal to be cast aside. Intersex people share stories reminding us that gender cannot be defined by xy chromosomes, and that brilliant complexities exist.
Asylum seekers originating from Honduras are migrating through Mexico toward the United States border. I feel a growing unease at the silence on my feed, occupied as we are with the erasure of the transgender community. The administration's stance on immigration, recent detainment of migrant children, and struggle to successfully reunite the 2,600 children with their families has seemingly little weight on our collective consciousness.
Trump is talking about them and has declared that the group, comprised of mostly families with small children (numbering roughly 7,000 people as estimated by the United Nations) contains “criminals” and “middle easterners.” Though pressed at a press conference last Tuesday he conceded he had no proof to support this, that fact has not stopped him from being vocal about his desire to stop the asylum seekers whatever the cost, calling on Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala to halt the caravan. He tweeted, ”...if they allow their citizens, or others, to journey through their borders and up to the United States, with the intention of entering our country illegally, all payments made to them will STOP (END)!," Not only would cutting off aide increase the number of people migrating to the US, but it ignores the irony of what a recent Al Jazeera article describes as a “short history lesson," what US foreign policy in Central America over the past several decades has comprised of "massive aid" to dictators, death squads, and other violent entities," which is largely the reason for the US-bound migration in the first place.
In what Trump is calling "Operation Faithful Patriot," the administration has deployed 5,200 additional troops, mostly active-duty, to the border. Trump has declared that the group is an “assault on our country”, missing no opportunity to use people fighting for their lives as an opportunity to stir crowds and spread rhetoric.
The “assault on our country” is psychological warfare at the hands of its administration. Why are we allowing ourselves to be distracted by a memo, terrifying, righteous-rage inducing memo though it is, when fierce humans are migrating roughly 30 miles per day facing rape, murder, theft and abduction to reach a life many of us take for granted? We must learn to hold more. We must learn to remain vigilant. It’s easy to get swept up and away, forgetting that people need our attention. Right now people in power are delighted to forget that their ancestors once made a similar migration and are prepared to deploy as many troops as are “necessary” to secure this country's borders from families with children daring for a safe place to call home.