How Do We Win This War?

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We have known for a long time that America has been the place for a new start for many across borders. So many come for the American Dream, the chance to make a fresh start, start a business, a family, a new home. Now, that dream has been deffered for many-including americans. Xenophobia, Islamaphobia, Border Walls, Border Patrol and Immigration all conributing to the war on people seeking a life free of war, poverty, sexual violence and the list goes on. It’s always the most vunerable who get a taste of what american justice really looks like. Children in detention cells not understanding what they did to deserve the place they are in right now. Women forced into trafficking and domestic violence situations are lost,  fearful of being deported back because the nightmare will not end there. What is everyone so afraid of? Jobs? C’mon. It’s a proven fact that most if not all americans would NEVER take a job that immigrants do and get paid the same wage as they do. In fact it is americans hiring them so they can pay them little for doing the jobs that they know full well other americans would not take. So that’s not an excuse. Crime. Ok well you don’t have to be an immigrant to commit a crime, look at the mass shootings in churches, movie theatres and malls, those were not immigrants. Most of the women that are being murdered in the United States are americans killed by their american husbands or boyfriends. On average more than three women are murdered in the United States by their husbands or boyfriends. Not immigrants.

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For many years women have been under the radar when it comes to trafficking whether it’s labor or sex. Now they have the spotlight and the undivided attention of law makers who want them out, they’re criminals and don’t deserve to be here even though they fit the true definition of a trafficking victim. Anything illegal is viewed as a crime even if you are the victim. The so-called vetting process is tainted and one sided, for those of us who loved Melissa McCarthy as Spicer, you want to be Barbie not Moana if you want to live. Before Trump women were able to get front line access to services and shelters, now………it’s a detention cell. It’s interesting how Trump refers to immigrant women as beautiful, lovely girls but doesn’t want them in the United States . The same with the children in Syria, when the bombs were falling they were precious but when they arrive through the IRC, they’re not so precious anymore. This maniacal bi-polarism needs to stop. The arresting and deportation of immigrant women who are survivors of trafficking and domestic violence needs to stop. Let us do our job and help them. But that seems to much to ask for because when we try to do that we have to worry about ICE picking them up at a grocery store or hospital or even their home and deporting them. My organization provides accompaniment services,  now the new normal will be acompanying a survivor so she doesn’t get deported. I can’t tell you how enraged I get when I hear stories of a woman who was on her way to getting a T visa only to get picked up and sent back. SO infuriating!!! Do we need to find better hiding places for them so that they can be safe until they’re legal enough for this county??

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This war is not confined to Latinas but expanded to other cultures considered “undesirable.” Our government’s fascination with deceminating terrorist propaganda, coercing people into believing women in hijab are dangerous and they must be hiding something or are part of a big conspiracy. They couldn’t possibly just be women, mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, cousins. And because they are women, they suffer just like any woman would in a situation where she feels threatened or is exposed to physical or sexual violence. Some of them suffer in silence but the real problems happen when they leave the US to visit their home country and then try to return. Everything is done to stop her from coming back to a place she’s called home for many years. Doesn’t matter if the rest of her family is here, if they can get rid of one, that’s a win for them. Women crossing borders of any kind, anywhere suffer severe trauma, abuse and exploitation just to get to a place of freedom. Once they get there it’s not certain how long it will last, even if they are escaping an abusive marriage, FGM, trafficking or child marriage. But that’s a chance many of them are still willing to take because somehow the US is the lesser of all the evils. It’s possible to be better, work hard and succeed-as long as you don’t get caught.

thth-7Women are amazing people. We are courageous, strong and smart we are resourceful and know how to survive basically anything. We come in different shapes, sizes, colors and socio-economic backgrounds our cultures my define us but we are basically the same. We may not always make the best choices but we do not deserve to be criminalized for it. We as women are fighting a very different war than the rest of the world. Our bombs are our screams, our tanks are our marches and protests and our artillery is our defiance to a government that considers us sub-human. We are comprised of an infantry of mass ethnicities and are ready to advance at any moment. This has been a long time coming, the question is, can the US survive the onslaught of women taking their rights back? There’s no turning back now, the war rages until there in no woman left behind.

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