Can Donald Trump's Immigration Proposals Bring Latinos And Muslims Together? This Lawyer Thinks It's Time For An Alliance [Op-Ed]

donald trump vs. muslims and latinos
A Muslim protester holds a U.S. flag as people congregate and pray in front of of presidential candidate Donald J. Trump’s office in Manhattan, New York December 20, 2015. GOP candidates have increasingly interwoven anti-muslim and anti-immigrant rhetoric in the course of the 2016 campaign. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

I can't think of a better time to call for a Latino-Muslim alliance in the wake of calls for banning all immigration of Muslims and deportation of all undocumented people. It seems all Donald Trump ever talks about is building walls to keep people out (whether physical or legal.) Marco Rubio, not to be outdone, combines all threats into one super ISIS bogeyman who will wade across the Rio Grande to terrorize us all. Ted Cruz, too, has not minced words, propagating the narrative of immigrants as invaders in his dark new campaign ad. The culture of fear of people born elsewhere has gotten so bad Trump has gone birther on Canadian-born (but unequivocally American) Cruz.

But the marginalization of both of our communities goes deeper than these tired tirades. We both bear the burden of buck-passing: “Why won't moderate Muslims condemn terrorism?” or “Why can't they fix their own countries so they wouldn't have to come here?”

Cartels and gangs kill mostly people from their own country, and police protection is both unavailable and dangerous to seek. Similarly, most of the victims of ISIS's brutality are Muslims.

The xenophobia shows itself painfully and clearly in the immigration law. There is a lot of common ground here for Latinos and Muslims . It's still legal to discriminate against incoming immigrants. That means there's not much to stop xenophobia from seeping in.

Reading some of the coverage of San Bernardino in the Spanish-language press, I was struck by the number of people wondering how Tashfeen Malik got a visa but millions of people who just want to work can't. They're right, in a sense: the immigration system fails us all.

It profiles us because it can, but profiling doesn't make us safer. We had to deal with being forcibly registered under the NSEERS program. (Not a single terror plot uncovered – but 13,000 were deported, and countless more snagged in a bureaucracy that only existed to serve itself.) USCIS secretly started the CARRP program to manufacture ways to delay or deny immigration benefits for Muslim applicants.

Muslims And Latinos Have Endured Racial Profiling Laws

Now we have a new law, once again discriminating on the basis of national origin, denying visa-free travel benefits to nationals of Iraq, Iran, Syria and Sudan – or anyone who's visited those countries in the last 5 years.

The same type of discrimination is legislated and disproportionately affects Latinos. Arizona's show-me-you-papers law, SB1070. Bills to deny in-state tuition to some documented immigrants. Denying driver's licenses to undocumented workers.

The current stalling of President Obama's executive actions which would allow work permits for certain undocumented parents and childhood arrivals (DAPA/DACA). And now Immigration & Customs Enforcement says it will help secure the border by rounding up asylum seekers who came here in 2014.

These ICE raids have already resulted in as many as 121 people – including children – taken into custody. (12 of them already won a halt of their deportation on January 5 because a court found they weren't advised of their appeal rights.)

Deporting Central Americans Can Be A Death Sentence. Same With Syria.

The calls to deport everyone who broke “the law” forget that slavery, denial of women's suffrage, and segregation used to be “the law” too. When ordinary people try to run away from the terror of Los Zetas or MS-13, they're rounded up and herded into hieleras , deliberately cold prison cells in euphemistically named “family residential centers.” They are routinely pressured to waive the few rights they have, and denied meaningful access to lawyers.

These families are no less desperate and in need of help than, say, the Syrian refugees in our community. And these discriminatory policies and lengthy detentions mean that they are affecting our civil rights. We can't keep pretending “immigration detention” isn't prison – because it is . That we're putting children in prison and allow companies to profit off of it is a blight on our society.

Latinos and Muslims have to understand each other. The same things are happening to us.There's a whole industry of people who've built their careers on demonizing us. Case in point: the shariah “threat.”

David Yerushalmi, general counsel for Frank Gaffney's Center for Security Policy (the same bunch of fearmongers Trump quoted when trying to back up his claimed need to ban Muslim immigration) drafted anti- shariah bills that blazed new trails in the law by suggesting that U.S. judges should apply U.S. law in their U.S. courtrooms.

Security makes us safe. Making everything into a security issue makes us unsafe. It squanders resources, generates mistrust, and provides fodder for extremism to feed on. People are told what to think, who to fear, who to hate, all in the same of security. It's time for us to support each other. Muslims and Latinos are already allies whether we realize it or not: against fearmongering profiteers pushing policies that result in our detention, deportation, and exclusion.

Hassan Ahmad is an immigration attorney in Northern Virginia who gets bored if he is limited to one country's cuisine for more than 2 days. He tweets at @HMAesq. He was previously quoted in the Latin Times article Republican Governors Refuse Syrian Refugees: Is This Legal? The views of op-ed contributors do not necessarily reflect the editorial views of the Latin Times or IBT media.

What do you think?