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Trump is expected to sign more executive orders to continue the crackdown against immigration, possibly as early as today. The New York Times reports a draft of an upcoming executive order shows it would indefinitely ban Syrian refugees from entering the United States, and impose a temporary ban on all other refugees. The order would also suspend all immigration from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. In response, Connecticut Democratic Senator Chris Murphy tweeted, “We bomb your country, creating a humanitarian nightmare, then lock you inside. That’s a horror movie, not a foreign policy.” We’ll have more on the executive orders after headlines.
Trump’s crackdown on immigration drew immediate protest nationwide. Thousands of people poured into New York City’s Washington Square Park Tuesday night holding candles and signs reading “No One Is Illegal.” Vigils and rallies were also held outside Los Angeles City Hall and at the Columbia Heights Civic Plaza in Washington, D.C. This is Debbie Almontaser, president of the Muslim Community Network, speaking in Manhattan Tuesday night.
Debbie Almontaser: “I’m a community activist here in New York City. I’m also a Yemeni-American who actually still has family back in Yemen. Shortly after the war, many members of my family were actually able to flee, such as my daughter and her husband. But sadly, as we speak, my brother-in-law’s wife remains in Yemen. He actually began the petitioning for her, and she was in Jordan and awaiting just to finish her paperwork. And now, with this executive order, I very much doubt that she will be able to join her two daughters and husband, who are already here.”
That was Debbie Almontaser. And this is another protester who is originally from Sudan.
Shadin Awad: “My name is Shadin Awad. And I think it’s quite ironic that there is a ban, or there is a potential ban, on people from Sudan and people from a lot of Muslim countries, in general, where the U.S. has played a direct hand in disenfranchising the people of those countries. The U.S. has played a direct hand in even the genocide that occurred in Darfur. I think it’s really ironic that, you know, now it’s however many years later, they’re saying, 'Oh, we don't want you. We don’t want you after we messed up your country. We don’t want you after we’ve disenfranchised your people. We don’t want you after we’ve disenfranchised the world.’ You know, as the U.S., we meddle, we go everywhere. The U.S. goes everywhere and then says, 'No, we don't want you anymore.’”
Following Trump’s executive orders, hundreds of people also marched through the streets in Kensington, Brooklyn—a predominantly working-class immigrant community—and gathered for a press conference to announce the launch of a “Hate-Free Zone.” The community defense program is one of a series of efforts by neighborhood groups nationwide to mobilize residents to organize their own security against hate attacks and police brutality. In the wake of Trump’s election, verbal and physical hate attacks against immigrants, LGBT people, African Americans and religious minorities have increased dramatically. Last week, 27 Jewish community centers nationwide received bomb threats, after 16 JCCs received bomb threats the week before. Other examples include a swastika and the word “Trump” being graffitied onto a high school in Cincinnati, Ohio, and onto a library in Northbrook, Illinois.
In Philadelphia, over a thousand people also took to the streets for a Queer Dance Party Wednesday night to protest Trump’s visit to Philadelphia today. The dance party was a protest against the Republicans’ plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The invitation to the protest read: “As they try to take away our health care, to police Black, Brown, Queer and Trans bodies, to regulate our bodies, we’re here to say We Are Queer, We Are Here, We Will Dance.”
An official with Trump’s transition team has announced the Environmental Protection Agency’s scientific studies will now have to undergo a political review by the Trump administration before being published. The move is part of a series of attacks by the Trump administration against the EPA in recent days, which includes freezing all EPA grants and contracts and imposing a media gag against all employees of the agency. The administration has also stripped nearly every mention of climate change from the White House’s official website, WhiteHouse.gov, and pledged to eliminate Obama’s environmental policies, including the Climate Action Plan.
A coalition of environmental and climate justice organizations have called for a “People’s Climate March” on April 29, 2017, in Washington, D.C., and in cities nationwide.
Republican lawmakers have closed the investigation into the lead poisoning of the water system in Flint, Michigan. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s findings blamed state officials, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the EPA. The closing of the investigation comes as Flint Mayor Karen Weaver told residents they should still not drink the water. The city’s lead pipes have not yet been replaced. At the Women’s March on Washington, Democracy Now! spoke with Flint resident and community organizer Melissa Mays.
Melissa Mays: Now we have a president that made it very clear that he has no intentions to keep the EPA or clean air and water regulations. So we feel even worse. The day after the election, we just sat there and said, ’We’ve had to work an uphill battle with the Republican state government. Now we have a Republican federal government, and we’re going to get nowhere.’”
The Flint water crisis began when the city’s unelected emergency manager, appointed by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, switched the source of Flint’s drinking water from the Detroit system to the corrosive Flint River. The water corroded Flint’s aging pipes, causing poisonous levels of lead to leach into the drinking water.
In Minnesota, lawmakers are pushing an anti-protest bill that would allow cities to sue protesters in order to charge them for the cost of policing the demonstrations. The legislation passed a Republican-controlled committee in Minnesota’s House Tuesday. It’s part of a series of anti-protest bills nationwide that seek to criminalize and discourage public demonstrations.
In Somalia, two bomb attacks in the capital Mogadishu have killed at least 21 people. Fifty more people were injured in the explosions outside the Dayah Hotel near the Parliament building. Seven journalists were among the wounded. The militant group al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for the attacks. Somalia is one of the countries that would be affected by an executive order Trump is expected to sign in the coming days, which is slated to ban all immigration from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for at least 30 days.
In Afghanistan, the attorney general has ordered the arrest of Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum’s bodyguards, after another politician said the guards raped and tortured him. Dostum is one of Afghanistan’s most notorious warlords. He was backed by the CIA and on its payroll in the early 2000s. He was involved in a 2001 massacre that killed up to 2,000 Taliban prisoners of war. The victims were allegedly shot to death or suffocated in sealed metal truck containers after they surrendered to Dostum and the U.S.-backed Northern Alliance.