In 2016, Donald Trump ran his campaign around a plan to buckle down on immigration and build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Remember that? Well, here we are, four years later. Trump is in office and his administration plans to waive 10 federal laws in order to accelerate the border wall construction (Business Insider, “Trump administration will waive 10 federal laws to speed up border wall construction in California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas,” 02.18.2020).
Worse than this disregard for procedure, laws, and cultural heritage, however, is the fact that now Trump is unleashing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids on immigrants in sanctuary cities in California, New York, Illinois and elsewhere throughout the country (The Nation, “Trump Is Unleashing Militarized Goon Squads Against Immigrants in Sanctuary Cities,” 02.18.2020). On the personal orders of the apricot authoritarian, the units will be employing techniques developed for confrontation with some of the most dangerous drug smugglers and cartels along the U.S.-Mexico border on these local civilians.
The vast majority of undocumented immigrants in these sanctuary cities are not drug smugglers or cartel criminals (Cato Institute, “New Research on Illegal Immigration and Crime,” 09.24.2019). These people are working here and making just enough to send some money home to their families, and keeping just enough for themselves to live on. These people are parents, they are grandparents, they are aunts and uncles. They are families. President Trump has given a direct order to have squadrons go into these homes and treat these people, who have done nothing more than seek a better, safer life for themselves and their families, as if they were criminals of the state, as if they were pests necessitating extermination. He does this even as the places in which they live wish to welcome them and provide them security. It is disgusting, it is inhuman and it is not the image of America we wish to project.
This country has struggled with centuries of racial apartheid which nominally ended in the 1960s. However, we have not delivered on that promise of equality. Immigrants who come here and do not speak English perfectly are treated as second-class citizens and even those whose great grandparents grew up as slaves in this country are still held back by the structural elements of our country’s racist history. This country claims to be a beacon of freedom and encourages people to “lift themselves up by their bootstraps,” but our politicians time and time again express fear of innocent immigrant families and workers just trying to make a living and move up in the world. Donald Trump will not fight for an America that welcomes those who are different. He will not fight for an America where white is not dominant, numerically or politically. Donald Trump fights for an America of xenophobia, Islamophobia, sheer racism and inhumanity.
Hey Donald, how about instead of targeting innocent workers and families, we go after the gun lobbyists who see the statistics about school shootings but still maintain that assault rifles fall under the protection of the right to bear arms? How about we target the fossil fuel and fracking industries that threaten our environment on a daily basis? How about we fight the big business pharmaceutical companies that want to charge $750 for a singular pill of Daraprim, used by some AIDS patients (CNN, “Here’s what happened to AIDS drug that spiked 5,000%,” 08.25.2016).
How about instead of launching attacks on innocent families using your racist ideologies to call them all rapists and murderers, we launch attacks on these other real threats to our country? This is what threatens our country on a daily basis, and innocent immigrants seeking the safety of cities that welcome them do not fall into that category. But none of these real issues are of concern for President Trump, because his fan base is more intent on harming those who don’t look like them than solving issues that are of real danger to them.
Let’s end a history of racism and xenophobia and acknowledge that immigrants are what makes America great. You want to make America great again? Tear down the walls, stop the raids.