WASHINGTON, D.C. (Feb. 5, 2020) — Last week, the Trump Administration expanded its travel restrictions — commonly referred to as the “Muslim Ban” — to include six more countries. Under the new restrictions, nationals of Nigeria, Eritrea, Myanmar and Kyrgyzstan will no longer be able to obtain visas to live and work in the U.S., while Sudan and Tanzania will no longer be able to participate in the diversity visa lottery program.
The travel restrictions already affect citizens from Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Venezuela and North Korea. The latest expansion, which will take effect on Feb. 21, is expected to affect more than 350 million people.
“The Muslim Ban is a xenophobic and Islamophobic policy that does nothing to protect Americans. It should be ended, not expanded,” said Larry Brown, President of the Washington State Labor Council (WSLC), AFL-CIO. “By adding multiple African and Asian nations with little or no history of being involved in terrorism, it is clear that the Trump administration’s immigration policies are driven by overt racism. This should come as no surprise to anyone except the willfully ignorant. We stand in solidarity with working people internationally, particularly those being denied access to the ‘Land of the Free’ by the Trump administration.”
Delegates representing WSLC-affiliated unions from across Washington state have passed multiple resolutions in recent years (here, here and here) expressing solidarity with immigrant workers and opposing the Trump administration’s xenophobic and racist border policies. The WSLC will be hosting a Labor & Immigration Summit on May 30 in Mt. Vernon to focus on the intersection of immigration and workers’ rights.
“We are outraged to learn that on the eve of Black History Month, the administration expanded the Muslim Ban to include nearly a quarter of the African population,” said Alvina Yeh, Executive Director of Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA). “This is anti-Black and anti-worker. We cannot shut our doors while Rohingya Muslims are persecuted in Myanmar (Burma), the people of Eritrea live in fear under government oppression, and LGBTQ folks are under state violence across the globe. We are in solidarity with working people globally and that means fighting for working people and their families to move freely and live safely.”
APALA is urging Congress to end the Trump administration’s travel restrictions immediately by passing the NO BAN Act, which would repeal the Trump administration’s Muslim Ban and further limit this or any future administrations from imposing similar bans in the future.