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The Dark Plight of Immigrants in the Racist Era of Trump - The Political Anthropologist



























		
		































































 

















The Dark Plight of Immigrants in the Racist Era of Trump

By Alvaro Huerta

This essay argues that President Donald J. Trump represents an existential threat to immigrants in the United States. Trump’s immigration rhetoric and policies consist of racist, xenophobic, enforcement-only and divisive positions. This includes his racist and belligerent isolationist and unilateralist policies. Trump aims to re-invent the country’s dark past with his racist slogan, “Make America Great Again.”

 

President Donald J. Trump represents an existential threat to immigrants in the United States. More specifically, Trump’s immigration rhetoric and policies consist of racist, xenophobic, enforcement-only and divisive (i.e., “us-versus-them”) positions. Moreover, Trump’s domestic positions on immigration interconnect with his foreign diplomacy based on isolationist and unilateralist policies. While former U.S. presidents espoused (and implemented) similar anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies, such as the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882[1] and the internment of an estimated 120,000 individuals of Japanese heritage (both immigrants and citizens) during WW II,[2] Trump, during his presidency, aims to re-imagine and re-invent the country’s dark past with his racist slogan, “Make America Great Again” – which Trump originally claimed he coined; yet, Trump actually stole from the late President Ronald Reagan.[3]

Americans and people around the world shouldn’t be surprised by Trump’s current xenophobic (or anti-immigrant) rhetoric and policies, however. On June 16, 2015, for instance, when he delivered his “famous” presidential announcement speech (or “infamous,” depending on your political affiliation), Trump launched into a diatribe against Mexicans: “…When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people…”[4][5]

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About the Author

Dr Huerta is Assistant Professor of Urban and Regional Planning and Ethnic and Women’s Studies at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. He is the author of Reframing the Latino Immigration Debate: Towards a Humanistic Paradigm (San Diego State University Press, 2013). He holds a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley and a B.A. and an M.A. from UCLA.

References

[1] “Chinese Exclusion Act (1882).” Harvard University Library Open Collections Program. Accessed on February 1, 2018. Online: http://ocp.hul.harvard.edu/immigration/exclusion.html

[2] Frail, Tom. “The Injustice of Japanese-American Internment Camps Resonates Strongly to This Day,” Smithsonian magazine (January 2017). Accessed on February 2, 2018. Online: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/injustice-japanese-americans-internment-camps-resonates-strongly-180961422/

[3] Margolin, Emma. “‘Make America Great Again’–Who Said It First?” NBC News (September 9, 2016). Accessed on February 1, 2018. Online: https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2016-election/make-america-great-again-who-said-it-first-n645716

[4] Staff, “Full text: Donald Trump announces a presidential bid,” Washington Post (June 16, 2015). Accessed February 2, 2018. Online: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2015/06/16/full-text-donald-trump-announces-a-presidential-bid/?utm_term=.56b516e5af3a

[5] Huerta, Alvaro, “Trump’s anti-immigrant comments help Democrats,” The Gulf Today (July 18, 2015). Accessed on February 3, 2018. Online: http://gulftoday.ae/portal/9f29dd13-63c6-4798-924c-90f3fc626b51.aspx

[6] Gómez-Quiñones, Juan. “La Realidad: The Realities of Anti-Mexicanism – A Paradigm,” HuffPost (January 25, 2017). Accessed on February 8, 2018. Online: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/guest-essay-la-realidad-the-realities-of-anti-mexicanism_us_5882f84ce4b0111ea60b9658

[7] Balderrama, Francisco E. and Raymond Rodríguez. Decade of Betrayal: Mexican Repatriation in the 1930s. University of New Mexico Press, 2006.

[8] Grossman, Roger, “The 1954 deportation of Mexican migrants and the ‘wetback airlift’ in Chicago,” Chicago Tribune. (March 4, 2017). Accessed February 8, 2018.

Online: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/commentary/ct-flash-deportation-migrant-mexican-0305-20170303-story.html

[9] Martinez, Jack. “Republican Democrats Debate Immigration as Trump Praises Eisenhower’s ‘Operation Wetback,’” Newsweek (November 10, 2015). Accessed on February 9, 2018.

Online: http://www.newsweek.com/candidates-immigration-debate-392730

[10] D’Antonio, Michael, “Trump’s Move to End DACA has Roots in America’s Long, Shameful History of Eugenics,” Los Angeles Times (September 14, 2017). Accessed on February 9, 2018.

Online: http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-antonio-trump-eugenics-daca-20170914-story.html

[11] Huerta, Alvaro. “No Deal on “S—hole’ Border Wall!,” ImmigrationProfBlog (January 25, 2018). Accessed on February 10, 2018.

Online: http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/immigration/2018/01/alvaro-huerta-.html

[12] Dear, Michael. Why Walls Won’t Work: Repairing the US-Mexico Divide, 2003. Oxford University Press, 2013.

[13] “Presidential Results.” CNN Politics. Accessed February 10, 2018.

Online: http://www.cnn.com/election/2016/results/president

[14] Dawsey, Josh. “Trump derides protections for immigrants from ‘shithole’ countries,” The Washington Post (January 12, 2018). Accessed February 10, 2018.

Online: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-attacks-protections-for-immigrants-from-shithole-countries-in-oval-office-meeting/2018/01/11/bfc0725c-f711-11e7-91af-31ac729add94_story.html?utm_term=.07d3f07a4116

 

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