This evening, we stood shoulder to shoulder with community leaders, advocates for social justice and cultural transformation and members of our diverse and flourishing immigrant community in Orlando to watch the 2019 State of the Union. President Trump used this occasion to once again attack our most vulnerable communities, and demand billions of dollars to fuel his deportation machine and senseless border wall. In a time where LGBTQ+ Americans are watching our rights being rolled back nationwide, and where transgender youth are experiencing the highest degrees of violence and discrimination in schools and our communities, the refusal to highlight the growing needs for support and adequate protections by this president during his address is yet another display of his flagrant disregard for our community.
LGBTQ+ asylum seekers are being turned away at the border in growing numbers, being forced to endure longstanding and potentially life ending violence in their countries of origin. We cannot be silent in the face of their oppression at the hands of Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE). The increase in a military presence at the southern US border and this wall that President Trump wants is solely about meeting the racist demands of the white supremacists in the White House. It’s about tearing immigrant families apart, keeping children and families locked behind bars, and terrorizing LGBTQ+ refugees.
This president held dedicated and loyal government employees hostage as he sought funding for an unnecessary symbol of division at the southern US border. A temporary spending bill was passed and is set to expire on February 15th, weeks after the longest government shutdown in history, and Congress still hasn’t come to an agreement. Advocates are united in demanding that Congress defund hate, and we are calling on the people of this nation to demand their elected representatives uplift the voices of the people.