By Eric Reeves
Hillary Clinton has been no particular friend of Sudan; she almost certainly shares the view of President Obama’s administration: what’s most important in the relationship between Washington and Khartoum is counter-terrorism intelligence that the National Islamic Front/National Congress regime might provide. No matter that senior regime military and security officials are heard in leaked minutes of an August 31, 2014 private meeting scoffing at the quality of the intelligence provided by Khartoum (these minutes are archived at | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1wk ). The minutes have been confirmed as authentic by the U.S. State Department (see also | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1w5 ). Former Secretary of State Clinton proved again and again how expedient she could be when it came to issues relating to Sudan and South Sudan. She is unlikely to change as president.
But Donald Trump is an unpredictable monster. He is, in the words of former Republican Secretary of State Colin Powell, a “national disgrace.” Trump is nasty, vicious, and dangerously xenophobic. His views on immigration and asylum are horrors. His coziness with Putin of Russia a sign of just how much he admires one of the most powerful, ruthless, and sinister dictators in the world. He has no policy on Sudan, knows nothing about Sudan, and whatever policies he would formulate if elected president might well be seriously destructive for the people of Sudan.
I write on this occasion because I have served as an expert witness in dozens of asylum cases involving Sudanese, both in the United States and Europe. I have helped, in every case settled to date, secure political asylum for those Sudanese who face persecution by the Khartoum regime, were they to be forcibly repatriated. I have worked on cases involving Sudanese from all over Sudan.
What I am sure of is that were Donald Trump elected on Tuesday, November 8, my work would become immeasurably more difficult—perhaps impossible. Trump is both racist and xenophobic; Sudanese seeking asylum in the U.S. would be squarely in the cross-hairs of his hateful policy views on immigration. His appointment of judges with jurisdiction over Sudanese asylum cases would be disastrous.
I urge those Sudanese immigrants in the U.S. who have voting rights to vote for Hillary Clinton—the lesser of two evils, but vastly less evil. In some states—and U.S. elections are decided not by a national voting total but by the votes in individual states—polls suggest a very tight election. In 2000, candidate Al Gore lost Florida—and thus the election—by some 500 votes.
Particularly important are the votes of Sudanese in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida. These are the make-or-break states for both candidates.
Many Sudanese immigrants have not yet achieved voting rights. But among those who have, this election is a very clear opportunity to help stop xenophobia from becoming the guiding principle of the White House. I urge you to hold your nose if you must, but vote for Hillary Clinton. A vote for Trump, or a non-vote, helps the chances of a candidate who represents a clear and present danger for all who live in the United States.
Eric Reeves has written extensively on Sudan for almost two decades; he is a Senior Fellow at Harvard University’s François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights