Trump Immigration Policies Have to Do More With Anti-Hispanic Cultural Views Than Fixing Illegal Immigration

Arizona border town condemns razor wire hung on fence.

by Alex Gonzalez

One rarely would see the need to add to Michael Gerson is political and cultural analysis, but in this case, it is important to underscore that Trump and Republican anti-immigrant policies, which have nothing to do with George W. Bush Compassionate Conservatism or Jack Kemp Economic Conservatism, are not about immigrants, as Mr. Gerson argues in his Op-ed; this is more about anti-Mexican anti-Hispanic racist and cultural views.

Mr. Gerson Argues that:

The president clearly regards resentment against migrants as the common, binding purpose of the Republican Party. And, so far, he has not been wrong. The success of Trump’s cynical ploy depends on the existence of genuine enthusiasm for exclusion within his party. His play only works if the party’s nativism is broad and authentic.

But resentment against immigrants alone is a very superficial analysis of  harsh anti-immigration policies such a “wall” that has no practical purpose and separating Hispanic children from their parents.

For years, experts have tried to tell Republicans that almost half of the undocumented immigrants (44%) currently in the U.S. are over-stays that came legally via a U.S Airport or crossed the border legally. Similarly, for the past three years, all data available, including Trump own DHS stats, shows that most illegal immigration is due to Asian and Indians overstays, not the US-Mexico border.

The recent report by Center for Migration Studies shows that:

For the past 10 years, the primary mode of entry to the undocumented population has been to overstay temporary visas. This report provides estimates of the number of noncitizens who overstayed temporary visas and those who entered without inspection (EWIs) in 2016 by the top five countries of origin.

 

However, Trump and Republicans in Congress never publicly talk about these facts and only refer to illegal Immigration as a U.S.-Mexico border problem because they know that is what gets the base morbidly excited about “protecting the border” with a 2000-miles big wall, concertina wire and images of active Military personnel at the border.

To these Trump supporters and “Republicans,” rather than addressing the real current source of illegal immigration – overstays from Asia and India  coming legally through U.S. airports –  is not important; building a wall to stop Mexicans and Hispanics from coming here is a stronger political and cultural images than actually fixing “illegal” immigration.

What is really the “Wall” about

The wall has not practical purpose in matters of National Security or stopping drugs from coming in the country and it is a waste of taxpayers’ money. The wall is not a conservative policy proposal. In reality, the wall is cultural anti-Mexico fever promoted by Trump, tea party groups, and culturalists like Pat Buchanan who for decades have painted Mexico and Mexican-Americans in the U.S. as the principal culprits of the decline of white-ness and Western culture.

Trump tends to use the Israeli-Palestinian “wall” argument in front of religious groups like Evangelicals to promote the notion that Latinos are not of Western European stock with no Christian values. This is the message often used by many culturalists like Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh to portray Latino immigrants and their culture as non-western, an “outside” culture that is similar to militant Muslims like Palestinians. And since they are not one of us, it is easier to legitimately create laws and erect walls that target the “outside” group.

This is a tactic used since the early days of mass Immigration to demonize immigrant Jews, and other non-Protestant groups. The demonizing of Hispanic groups, lately, as not being Western and Christians have often played out well in Conservative Religious circles that support Israel based on their Biblical beliefs. Frequently they used the U.S.-Mexico border as example of how things are in Israel by portraying Latin immigrants as Muslim militant Palestinians and the Israel as the defenders American values. However, as it is often the case, well –intentioned, ill-informed, religious Christian voters fall into a trap and consciously, or unconsciously, promote the wrong message under the mantel of “good Christian values” to de-legitimate and de-westernize group for political purposes. And this is what the wall is. A symbol of what Trump base feels will save white American from brown Latino and Mexican Immigrants

There is an entire movement within religious Conservative groups who want to portray Latino immigrants as though they are outsiders and not Christian. This would make it easier to separate them from us, Western culture Christianity and link them to militant Muslim organization promote anti-immigrant laws by scaring good-intention religious folks but in reality Latino Immigrant that cross the U.S.–Mexico border aren’t likely to be criminals. But they do tend to be Bible-loving Christians

For these people, the objective is to promote the idea that Latino Immigrants are not Christians like us. Therefore, putative laws like 187, SB1070 and a wall that is a physical barrier – even if it’s un-American,- is an accepted method to protect us, Christianity.

While Mr. Gerson correctly argues that “The president clearly regards resentment against migrants as the common, binding purpose of the Republican Party,”  Republicans have realized that showing an anti-Mexico approach is more effective to energize the base than actually fixing “illegal Immigration.”

 

Alex Gonzalez is a political Analyst, Founder of Latino Public Policy Foundation (LPPF), and Political Director for Latinos Ready To Vote. Comments to vote@latinosreadytovote.com or @AlexGonzTXCA

 

 

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