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COLUMN: President Trump's immigration politics are race-based



Before the Trump administration officially announced it would rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the big news on President Trump’s immigration preferences was his support of the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment Act

The RAISE Act became famous for its laughable points system. The act awards points to those looking to immigrate based on age, education, English proficiency, prospective salary of job offers, financial investments and highly coveted awards, such as Olympic medals or Nobel Prizes, according to Time

While think tanks and newspapers were shocked that such a bill could even exist, the president was quick to support the bill for its “merit-based” system. In the press secretary office’s statement, the administration stated that American immigration does not prioritize the most highly-skilled immigrants.

According to President Trump and his team, we are prioritizing entrance to the United States to ungrateful individuals and families that rely on welfare programs, are low-skilled and possess little to no English skills.

The standards were so high that only about 2 percent of American citizens would pass the test.

The RAISE Act targeted legal immigration specifically. Regardless, conservative fear of any kind of immigration is irrational. 

Instead, pay attention to the overarching theme of Trump’s immigration politics.The people who deserve to assimilate into the United States are white Americans who can corroborate the nation’s myth that America was built on Caucasian, Anglo-Saxon hard work. 

Trump began his presidential campaign in the summer of 2015 by implying that all Mexicans were rapists. He repeatedly refused to condemn white supremacists and neo-Nazis after the Unite the Right protest in Charlottesville, Virginia. He belittled and attacked black athletes and their families for engaging in peaceful protests against police brutality and racism, while turning a blind eye on their white colleagues engaging in the same protest.

The Trump administration’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency has arrested more immigrants than Obama’s agency did in his last two years as president, according to Vox.com

From February to June 2017, ICE arrested an average 13,085 immigrants a month. Possible targets for deportation include immigrants who “have committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense” or immigrants who actively engage in “fraud or willful representation in any official matter.”

Most telling, however, is the stipulation that immigrants should be deported if they are a “risk to public safety or national security.” If all kinds of immigration constitute a risk to American security, essentially every immigrant is at risk for deportation. 

If there’s one commonality weaving together all of Trump’s policy positions on immigration, it’s racism. 

According to the Brookings Institution, DACA beneficiaries are overwhelmingly Latinx. The top four countries of origin for beneficiaries are Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. 

Additionally, beneficiaries come from Asian and African countries. President Trump, however, is only fine with granting amnesty to white people.

Trump is not concerned with the rule of law whatsoever, whether he is referring to the institution in a John Locke-esque or a law-and-order sense. He is only concerned with expanding a race-based meritocracy on immigration.

Trump’s racist story of immigration preferences is the context we use to read our current situation on DACA. Hopefully, he will keep his promise to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on protecting DACA beneficiaries for the present.

However, his previous actions indicate that he will refuse to help anyone who does not look like him.

jsbourkl@indiana.edu

@jsbourkland

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