Donald Trump’s campaign to become president began with a racist, factless rant about Mexican immigrants. It’s fair to say that nationalism and nativism are cornerstones of his political identity.
Of course, immigration in the United States is not currently causing economic problems. Most of the immigrants who live in the United States have been here for 10 years or more, and are productive members of the economy. Many pay taxes. Immigrants commit crime at a lower rate than natives (“illegal” immigration is not a criminal offense, but a civil one). Most immigrants without documentation overstay visas, as opposed to sneaking over the border. And the fastest growing group of immigrants is Asian, not Hispanic.
In other words, this is a non-issue. It’s not real. It’s made up. Why? Because the right wing uses identity politics to frighten racist whites, turning them out in high numbers. It’s one of the only ways the GOP continues to win elections. Hispanic immigration is the bogeyman used to scare rural whites into voting. Interestingly, if people of color were truly a problem in society, you’d expect those with the most contact with them to be the first to say so—yet urban whites are largely Democratic and anti-racist, unlike their rural counterparts, who have much less exposure to other cultures.
That’s why Trump’s wall is an utter waste of money. It’s a monument to racism, not good border policy. It does nothing to protect American workers from having to compete against exploited laborers without documentation who are paid less than minimum wage. It does nothing to stop people from coming through border checkpoints, which is how most actually enter the country. It does nothing to stop people from overstaying visas. It’s a billion(s)-dollar mistake that will be defeated by tunnels and ladders. Most of the border that would benefit from a wall or fencing already has it. Why build a wall over rough terrain hours from any road?
In a recent press conference, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders flipped out on CNN’s Jim Acosta when he tried to ask several very reasonable questions about the administration’s stance and policies going into the debate with Congressional Democrats over DACA and the wall.
“Does the president want a wall in exchange for giving those Dreamers protection?”
“The president wants border security, just to be clear,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders aggressively replies.
“What does ‘border security’ entail? Does it include the wall at this stage, or could the wall wait until later?”
“The wall is one of the pieces, as well as technology and a number of other things that have been laid out by [Trump’s] Department of Homeland Security.”
“The wall has to be part of the deal in order for these Dreamers to have protection?” Acosta asks, looking for clarification.
“Border security does have to be part of this process,” she says, continuing to refuse to give a direct answer.
After another brief exchange, Acosta states, “But you understand how ‘the wall’ can be different from ‘border security,’ Sarah, it can be…”
Sanders then cuts him off, saying, “No, actually I don’t, Jim.”
Acosta attempts to explain: “Border security can mean drones, it can mean agents, it can mean more fencing, it doesn’t necessarily mean a physical wall…”
Sarah Sanders finally ends the exchange with, “Jim, I’m not negotiating with you. I’m going to let Congress take care of that.”
Except, Jim Acosta wasn’t trying to “negotiate” with her. He was attempting to understand the administration’s perspective, which Sarah Huckabee Sanders refused to explicitly state.
Here’s the video:
Trump, demonstrating he doesn’t care a bit about crime, has recently revealed his true colors when it comes to immigration. Rather than concentrating on criminals, as he has tried to promise, he rescinded DACA. That means his administration is now out to deport young students and professionals who came to the United States as children without a choice, and who have in many cases never lived in their country of origin except as small children. Despite not having documentation, these people are clearly a benefit to our country and society. Holding them hostage in order to build a pointless wall is morally reprehensible and economically stupid.
Unfortunately, according to the Trump administration, they’re the wrong color. For that reason, they’re being used as a bargaining chip to get the wall built. He’s also rescinded protections from refugees from various countries that have lived in the United States for years—often more than a decade. He’s destroying lives and tax paying businesses in the name of racism and nationalism.
It has nothing to do with crime or protecting Americans, and everything to do with the dream shared by many in the Trump administration of a white ethnostate. It is racist policy, pure and simple. Yet they’re so cowardly they can’t even call it what it is or own their own beliefs—they have to couch it in lies and propaganda in order to make it palatable. They know it’s evil and wrong, and they don’t care.
Featured image via Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images