The stakes in a presidential race have never been as high as the ones before us this November, with incumbent Donald J. Trump facing former Vice President Joseph Biden. Never before has an election felt so urgent and so personal.
Washington D.C.- The stakes in a presidential race have never been as high as the ones before us this November, with incumbent Donald J. Trump facing former Vice President Joseph Biden. Never before has an election felt so urgent and so personal.
As Moroccan-Americans who call the United States home, our every identity and values are on the ballot this November, and we know that Biden is the only candidate who will ensure our priorities and needs are met. With the election only days away, we urge the rest of the Moroccan-American community who is able to vote to do so, and to vote to get Trump out of office.
As Muslims, we are writing because we are concerned about young children having to worry about getting bullied at school for their religion. We’re also saddened by members of our community whose mosques have been vandalized, and the parents who lost their children to Islamophobic violence and hate crimes.
While Trump continues to spew bigoted rhetoric and hate, Biden has a plan to ensure that Muslims feel welcome in this country including repealing the Muslim Ban on Day 1; increasing investments towards combating white nationalist terrorism; and reviewing watchlist and no-fly lists to ensure they are not discriminatory based on a person’s national origin, race, religion, or ethnicity. But beyond Islamophobia, there are other issues that also affect us directly. Like other Americans, we care about access to quality healthcare, making sure that our children receive a good education without enduring crippling debt, and humane immigration reform.
The COVID-19 pandemic has really shed a light on the weaknesses in global health systems, including the American model. Many of us have had to deal with the uncertainty and fear of seeing loved ones get sick from the virus overseas in Morocco as well as here. Like other Arab-Americans, Moroccans are more prone to COVID-19 complications due to comorbidities such as diabetes and hypertension.
The Trump administration has downplayed the severity of the virus in this country, while ignoring the guidance of doctors and scientists, and overseeing a weak response, leading to more than 200,000 deaths. Not only will Biden implement a compassionate, science-driven response to this crisis — including free testing; overturning Trump’s public charge policy, which discourages immigrants from seeking health services; and increased unemployment benefits — but he will also ensure that all Americans are properly covered by affordable healthcare.
While Trump is obsessed with getting rid of the Affordable Care Act — without offering any alternatives — Biden’s plan includes lowering health care deductibles and out-of-pocket spending; ensuring that prescription drugs are affordable; and preventing insurance companies from denying coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions.
Education is another issue that deeply impacts immigration populations and their children. The Moroccan population is no different — we also want our children to receive a quality education that does not place our families into deep debt. While student debt in the U.S. increases, Trump’s administration has continued to make cuts to programs designed to provide debt relief. He’s called for roughly 8% cuts in education budgets, and $170 billion in cuts to student loan forgiveness programs.
These cuts are a stark difference to the policy proposals of Biden, who knows that getting a college education is expensive in the United States. For families making less than $125,000, Biden will make public college tuition-free. He will also forgive student debt for low-income and middle class families who attended public colleges. These are policies that speak to our communities and their needs — not the pro-wealthy, pro-1% policies of Trump.
Another major issue for the Moroccan-American community are cruel immigration policies — from unlawful detention to deportations that were heightened under President Trump’s administration. His crackdown is about more than profiling based on race or religion — it is questioning the very legality of deportation and basic precepts of due process.
Today, our immigration system is under greater stress, and as Moroccan-Americans we have a say and stake in this debate. We saw the heartbreaking images of children placed in protective child custody — well, that was the reality for many Moroccan families and children who had to endure Trump’s immigration crackdown. The reality of a transformational agenda rests, as a first step, on our vote to put a stop to Trump’s misguided policies. This means a vote for Joe Biden.
Biden’s immigration plan recognizes the pain of families that had to go through deportation and separation from loved ones, and he pledges to uphold laws humanely and preserve the dignity of immigrant families. Biden’s immigration plan pushes for further oversight and regulation of Immigration and Customs Enforcement as well as Customs and Border Protection to ensure that accountability for inhumane treatment is actually enforced.
He will immediately begin working with Congress to modernize our immigration system, with a priority on keeping families together, and setting a “roadmap” to citizenship for nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants. Our Moroccan brothers and sisters in this country are part of the undocumented population still living here, illegally.
Compared to other immigrant groups in the United States, Moroccan-Americans are still in the nascent stages of political engagement in this country. Much of the population did not arrive here until the end of the 20th century, making their concerns and priorities unique. As the second generation of Moroccan-Americans reaches voting age — and in some cases, the third generation, though concrete numbers related to this community are difficult to come by — it is this November presidential election that we must make our voices heard.
Never has an election been more vital to a nation nor to immigrant and minority groups as this one, and never has the choice been more clear: Biden is the only candidate who will property fulfill the needs of our community.
Leila Hanafi is a Moroccan-American international development lawyer and post-doctoral researcher and lecturer in law. Dr. Hanafi is the principal of ARPA law firm and Morocco World News Board member.
Sarah Alaoui is completing a PhD in the Middle East Studies department at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). She is also a global public affairs and communications consultant.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial views.