Sadly, America has a corrupt president who also spreads more hatred of immigrants than any American in history.
Donald Trump is an avowed “nativist” — someone who believes that the only Americans we should have in this nation are native-born Americans who are white, Anglo-Saxon and protestant.
“U.S. History is full of nativists,” said Tyler Anbinder, professor of history at George Washington University, “but this president is the most powerful one yet.”
Anbinder notes that nativists usually complain about one or more of complaints: “They bring crime; they import poverty; they spread disease; they don’t assimilate; they corrupt our politics; they steal our jobs; they cause our taxes to increase; they’re a security risk; their religion is incompatible with American values; they can never be “true Americans.”
Trump embraces all 10 of those complaints. He notes
No American president before him has publicly embraced the entire nativist worldview. A commander in chief who is also the nativist in chief has the potential to alter immigrants’ role in American society now and for generations to come.
In an informative article, published by the Washington Post, Anbinder says America has had more than its fair share of nativist presidents but most have been the ones to try and contain nativist zeal that emerges from Congress. Rutherford B. Hayes and Chester Arthur vetoed legislation barring importing Chinese laborers in the 1870 and 1880s. Arthur backpedaled on that veto and signed a 10-year-ban into law.
Presidents Grover Cleveland, William H. Taft and Woodrow Wilson vetoed a bills that required adult immigrant men to read. Congress managed to override Wilson’s veto in 1917.
“America must be kept American,” said President Calvin Coolidge in December 1923.
“By ‘American,’ he meant white in race, Anglo-Saxon in ethnicity and Protestant in religion. Coolidge endorsed the severe limits Congress placed on the immigration of Slavs, Poles, Italians, Greeks and Eastern European Jews and accepted a ban on immigration from Asia and Africa, as well,” says Anbinder.
Those restrictions remained in place until 1965, when Lyndon Jonson went to the Statue of Liberty to sign legislation ending discriminatory quotes.
He predicted that the federal government would “never again shadow the gate to the American nation with the twin barriers of prejudice and privilege.” But Johnson could not have imagined a president like Trump.
Trump’s anti-immigrant efforts have featured several classic nativist tropes. He falsely associates immigrants with crime, as when he said during his campaign that Mexicans are “bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.” In truth, immigrants commit significantly less crime than the native-born do. He scapegoats entire immigrant religious groups for the actions of one or two criminals, calling for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” after Syed Rizwan Farook (who was not even an immigrant) and his wife (who was foreign-born) killed 14 people in San Bernardino, Calif. He perpetuates the notion that immigrants pose a public health threat, as when he wondered in 2018 why we let “all these people from shithole countries come here.” One of his objections, reportedly, was that Haitians “all have AIDS,” though the White House denies he said that. He’s making it harder for low-income immigrants to come here in ways that would almost certainly reduce immigration from Latin America, Africa and the Caribbean, justifying his proposal on the grounds that he needs to “protect benefits for American citizens.” And he argues that even the U.S.-born children of recent immigrants — if they are part of ethnic, religious or racial minorities — are not real Americans, as he suggested when he tweeted that four congresswomen of color should “go back” to “the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came.”
One of the most visible effects of Trump’s actions has brought a 226 a 226 percent increase in hate crimes in counties that hosted Trump rallies in 2016, reports the Anti-Defamation League.
More examples, courtesy of Anbinder:
The president’s rhetoric inspires not merely petty violence but occasionally full-fledged acts of terrorism as well. Throughout the fall of 2018, Trump relentlessly sowed fears that an “invasion” of Central American refugees was imminent via an immigrant “caravan” heading through Mexico toward the United States. Before a gunman killed 11 worshipers in a Pittsburgh synagogue in October 2018, he apparently justified his actions on the grounds that the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, which these days assists refugees from all over the world, “likes to bring in invaders that kill our people. I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered.”
Five months later, the man accused of killing more than 50 Muslims at two mosques in New Zealand hailed Trump as a symbol “of renewed white identity” in an online manifesto. In August, a man traveled to El Paso with the goal of killing as many Latinos as possible, authorities said, slaying 22 people at a Walmart. A manifesto linked to him echoed many of the president’s favorite talking points: It condemned “the Hispanic invasion of Texas,” charged that immigrants are taking jobs from natives and lauded Republicans for reducing “mass immigration and citizenship.” These accused shooters all seemingly found Trump’s nativist rhetoric inspirational.
“While this upsurge in nativist violence is terrifying, history suggests that, over the long term, those who embrace immigrants will win out over those who fear them.,” he adds. “After all, most Americans understand that immigrants make America great.”
However, as long as a racist bigot like Donald Trump remains president, America remains under attack from the violence-prone nativists who revere him. Our country cannot be safe as long as he is in the White House.
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