Ana Castillo shows a photo of her husband Marlon Castillo with two of her daughters during a press conference in Los Angeles, California. Marlon Castillo, 46, is one of the latest undocumented immigrants arrested while doing the paperwork to legalize his immigration status. EFE
After a campaign fueled by rhetoric against political correctness, one in which the immigrant became the scapegoat for all the problems of U.S. society, President Donald Trump is now the symbol of a country that shuts its doors in the face of immigrants.
This note appeared in the print edition of AL DÍA on Wednesday, June 6, 2018
Is America still a country of immigrants?
That is the question that we have all asked ourselves since that fateful day when Donald Trump became president.
This month of June, when immigrant heritage is celebrated nationally, we evaluate the 17 months of the Trump Administration, which is one marked by a wave of federal measures, and mined with xenophobic ideologies that have targeted the immigrant community with the promise to alienate it at all costs, forcing it to resist.
An announced crusade
Trump has been accusing the immigrant citizen of being a threat to the U.S. workforce since 2012. His speech rose at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference, when he urged Republican politicians not to approve immigration reform, saying that "immigrants would vote for the Democratic Party and steal jobs from Americans," The Washington Post reported at the time.
In 2015, Trump, the newborn politician, proposed "withdrawing the right to citizenship by birth" to children born to undocumented immigrants, whom he described as "anchor babies."
As he began his presidential campaign, Trump called Mexican immigrants "rapists" and "murderers," and filled his speech with erroneous data regarding the number of undocumented immigrants in the country.
He also promised a border wall with Mexico and the blockade of Muslim immigration to the country.
His erratic speech aroused a silent monster in American society that had been incubating in the uneducated white community, uncovering a new wave of unfounded racism.
A president who keeps his promises
On January 25, 2017, now President Donald Trump inaugurated his administration ordering the design of his promised border wall, and signed executive orders instructing the Department of Homeland Security to hire 5,000 new agents for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and 10,000 agents for Border Patrol, as CNN reported.
Thus, the administration started a new program of incentives and reinforcements within ICE, lightening the permissiveness when it comes to stopping and processing, attacking directly the so-called Sanctuary Cities and threatening to withdraw funds from communities that protect undocumented citizens.
On August 28, 2017, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) denounced ICE's attempt to destroy the records of harassment, sexual abuse, and death of immigrants in their detention centers as a preamble to their new measures of persecution.
During Trump's first year in office, the number of arrests and deportations within U.S. territory - that is, far from the border points - increased considerably, and with it raids in states known for their laws in favor of immigrants, such as California.
At the same time, the government:
Approved new questionnaires when applying for visas to the country.
Tried to implement a migration ban to countries with a Muslim majority.
Put an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA), eliminating protection for up to 800,000 undocumented young people
Announced the end of the Temporary Protection Status (TPS) for 1,000 people from Sudan, 5,300 Nicaraguans, 59,000 Haitians, 200,000 Salvadorans, thousands of Liberians, 9,000 Nepalese, and thousands of Hondurans.
The president argued for such decisions by saying that these immigrants came from "shithole countries,” according to those who attended a private meeting during the month of November in the Oval Room, the Washington Post reported.
With a budget tailored to his anti-immigrant wishes, the incorporation of a question of citizenship in the census, the militarization of the border, the announcement of the policy of "zero tolerance" by the Department of Justice before the prosecution of undocumented immigrants detained in the border, and the recent news of xenophobic attacks spread throughout the nation, this month of June should not only be known as Immigrant Heritage Month, but the month of the call to the Resistance.