An Immigrant’s Son

It’s hard to think of an American politician who is more vehemently anti-immigrant than President Donald Trump.

He wants to cut legal immigration by half. He has likened Mexican immigrants to rapists and criminals. He wants to ban most people from six Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. During his campaign, he said he could deport 11 million undocumented residents in two years. And his orders to detain people who are in the country illegally, whether or not they have committed a crime, are causing terror within the Latino community.

So where did the president’s suspicion of immigrants come from?

Certainly not from his family — the Trumps are a family of immigrants. Trump’s grandfather Friedrich was a German immigrant; his mother, Mary Anne, came from Scotland; and his wife, Melania, is from Slovenia. Four of Trump’s children have an immigrant mother. To me it always seems like a betrayal when an immigrant or an immigrant’s child wants to close the door to those who will come after. But that’s precisely what’s happening now in the U.S.

Does the president want to change the country’s demographics? Is the Trump administration concerned about the U.S. becoming a minority-majority nation?

Such qualms might explain Trump’s endorsement of a new immigration bill — the Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy Act, or RAISE — that would give entry priority to immigrants who speak English and have a college degree. The bill isn’t racist in and of itself — it doesn’t say that immigrants from the UK, Australia, Ireland, or Canada are preferred over Hispanic, African, or Asian immigrants. But that’s an outcome that may result from such legislation. (Today the largest group of immigrants in the United States came from Mexico; many of them crossed the border to join their families.)

Before 1965 — when U.S. immigration quotas were stopped — almost 9 out of every 10 American citizens were non-Hispanic whites. Some Americans wish that the U.S. could return to such a past, but that’s no longer possible.

By Jorge Ramos for SPLINTER
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