SOTU and Immigration: Donald Trump's Racist 18th Century Vision of America

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Trumpeting racism. Screenshot: CNN

During Tuesday’s State of The Union address, Donald Trump gave us another grandiose grandstanding performance filled with distortions, half-truth and lies about everything--including the racially-charged issue of immigration.

In a State of The Union address, supposedly about unifying the country, Trump used the immigration issue to do what he does best: preach prejudice by inflaming racial divisiveness and fear about non-White immigrants.

Trump, like other Republicans, is using the immigration issue for partisan political purposes. His comments make it clear certain Republicans will now attack all non-White immigrants, not just “illegal” Mexican immigrants, to score cheap political points with their base.

In a speech littered with lies, Trump made this absurd claim “Under the current broken system, a single immigrant can bring in virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives.” There is a family-reunification program but it’s a racist fear-mongering lie than you can “bring in virtually unlimited” immigrants into America.

Trump also lied when he claimed the diversity visa lottery was “a program that randomly hands out green cards without any regard for skill, merit, or the safety of our people.” Were America’s White colonialists the most skilled folks coming from Europe? Weren’t most of these Whites fleeing economic hardship and other problems?

Reportedly, under this lottery program, every year 55,000 visas are awarded annually. Is Trump’s opposition to this program rooted in the fact that Africans from “shithole countries” come into America under this program?

As we already know, at the time this despicable statement was said, Trump made it clear he didn’t want Black immigrants from Africa or Haiti. He allegedly asked why there weren’t more immigrants from Norway. Here we see what “make America great again” means: make America Whiter again.

Because, what Trump is really saying is: he wants White immigration increased. In fact, isn’t the real underlying fear behind immigration, not just “illegal immigration,” the country’s darkening demographics, with a steadily shrinking White majority population?

According to William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institute, “Native-born Whites become less than 50 percent before 2040.” Frey noted that “These new estimates — showing declining white births…and pervasive losses in the nation’s under age 20 white population — indicate that future generations almost everywhere will be increasingly made up of minorities.”

"This is without historical precedent,” said Kenneth Johnson, senior demographer at the University of New Hampshire’s Carsey School of Public Policy. “The minority population is growing, and the non-Hispanic White population is not.” Doesn’t this speak to why some don’t support DACA and the “Dreamers?”

Historical precedent tells us the immigration issue has always fraught with racism.

The Naturalization Act of 1790, known as the “Nationality Act,” was the first codified law in America regarding which “aliens” could be granted citizenship. It stated clearly that citizenship was restricted to “a free White person… of good character.”

Under “Manifest Destiny” only White people are supposed to reap the benefits of the land that was stolen from Native-Americans—and from Mexico, after the 1846-48 Mexican-American War. Thru the 1848 Treaty of Guadeloupe Hidalgo, America seized Mexican territory that turned into the states of New Mexico, California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming and Colorado.

Texas was stolen from Mexico in 1836—by White settlers angry with immigration limits being imposed on them by Mexico.

Do White-Americans understand that many people they call “aliens,” who come from other corners of Latin America, are ancestors of the very Native-Americans who had their lands stolen by Whites?

After the 1790 “Nationality Act,” other racist legislations followed: like the Alien Sedition Act of 1798, Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the Immigration Act of 1917, the Immigration Act of 1924, etc. All these laws, at the core, were about limiting, or, excluding immigrants—particularly non-White immigrants.

Similar historical patterns, with racist hysteria, are presently at play in America.

It is true, that in early America—after the troublesome Native-Americans were massacred—that some people now classified as “White,” were themselves targets of America’s prejudicial immigration policies. Prior to the turn of the 20 Century, only people from places like: England, Germany, Norway, the Netherlands, Scandinavia and Ireland were considered “White.” People such as the Greeks, Italians, Hungarians and Polish had to earn their way into “Whiteness” in America—as the Irish did before them.

The primary position these groups were expected to take to gain acceptance into America’s “White” race was: they had to embrace the racial oppression of African-Americans. This partially explains why working-class Whites, from these groups, haven’t usually accepted African-Americans into their working alliances, such as unions.

Latinos are now being used as political pawns, primarily because their population expansion scares many Whites, especially regressive racists in the Republican Party. For these folks, Latinos represent a threat to the power balance of American “Whiteness.”

Those Latinos who have been encouraged for years to adopt racist attitudes against African-Americans are now learning the hard way they aren’t valued by many who want to “take the country back” to the “good old days” of White America.

During the State of the Union, Trump employed a political divide-and-conquer tactic. He brought two Long Island families to highlight as examples of violence by the MS-13 gang. Didn’t he clearly do this to stroke fear regarding illegal immigration and violent crime? And with the dark skins of these family members, how many Republican supporters—and casual viewers—realize the victims are also of Hispanic origin? Here the optics were no doubt used to encourage racial friction between Blacks and Latinos.

Of course, in America, violence is an internal problem that has little to do with illegal immigration. Republicans, like Trump, use the immigration issue to sow the seeds of political division—while these immigrants are exploited to enrich the same corporate entities that fund Republicans.

One of the most violent gangs in America is the institution of the police. Daily, Black America is victimized and murdered by so-called “law enforcement” officers. Yet self-righteous, sanctimonious political pretenders, like Trump, who talk about “law and order,” and “the rule of law,” say nothing about racist policing.

The demonization of Mexicans, and all Latinos, by characterizing them as violent and criminal is the racist justification being used by Republicans to rile up their base. However, Republican politicians are truly at variance with the wishes of their voters. The ugly secret Republican politicians are hiding from their voters is: they are beholden to economic interests who benefit from immigration—including illegal immigration.

During a presidential debate, in 2011, then Texas Governor Rick Perry exposed former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney as an employer of illegal immigrants. Reportedly, Trump has also used undocumented Polish workers to clear the site that would become Trump Tower.

The hypocrisy here is: Republicans, like Romney and Trump use illegal immigrants to save money. And, therein lies the reason why Republicans don’t want to really solve the illegal immigration problem: there’s an economic benefit from it for them and their donor-daddies.

In a June 12, 1987 speech, President Ronald Reagan called on Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall,” referring to the wall that divided East and West Berlin. But now, the same Republican Party cheers Trump’s asinine calls about “building a wall” and making “Mexico pay for it.”

Of course, if Republicans really wanted to stop illegal immigration all they have to do is punish corporate companies who hire undocumented immigrants. Can you imagine the chilling effect of seeing some CEOs being arrested—with hefty fines being levied against these companies?

How long would it take before businesses realized hiring the undocumented was not in their best interests? But, such a situation would place companies, and rich people like Gov. Romney, and Trump, in legal jeopardy. In the end, the bottom line is: illegal immigration is used by businesses for cheap labor—with the blessings of Republicans.

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