For the entire world, it has become clear that the image that the United States once had, of an idyllic country to which migrants from all parts of the world aspired, regardless of their condition, has become faded, battered. In nearly three years, the rise of a new form of treating “the other” has changed, perhaps forever, the possibility of becoming a true nation of welcome.
It is unknown whether, demographically-speaking, welcoming the downtrodden had been the real intention at one time, with everything and the existence of a symbolic Statue of Liberty that has now been devalued by the immigration policies of the current government; but what is more evident is that a good part of U.S. society has germinated a deep sense of exclusion. So much so that its members have been able to erect as the leader of this new “movement” a president who, in image and likeness, paints immigrants from one extreme to another. And they intend to keep him in the White House for another four years.
From the threat to construct a wall to prevent the passage of undocumented immigrants, to the malicious slandering of Hispanics as delincuents, or the intimidation upon separating migrant children from their families, on top of putting obstacle after obstacle in the way of people seeking asylum, this new current of thought has continued advancing, in society as well as in the administration, despite the fact that the political and social counterpart has also created a movement of resistance in diverse fronts —legal, political, social, and community-based— that, unfortunately, has not been able to stop neither the anti-immigrant rhetoric nor the fortification of hate toward minorities.
It is this dangerous equation that has deepened further the division in a country that supposedly arrived at historic-social maturity where those ghosts of the past that have done so much damage to humanity no longer fit: racism, xenophobia, indicators of fascism, social prejudice, among so many others.
But these have revived in such a way that they have completely disfigured the face of multiculturalism they had been sculpting before the rest of the world since the fight for civil rights. It is noted that this chapter of history did not please everyone and that, on the contrary, it was simmering a definite animosity that was unleashed upon arrival of the current occupant of the White House on the political arena.
And from there a new historical watershed was established, which will be easily analyzed by future generations, but right now looks like a fledgling society, immature, a young nation that had everything, including the possibility of being a unique and worldwide model of development, despite its arrogance about being “the best” that has ever existed in human history.
This is, of course, part of its own mythology, and that is why it still represents a “beacon of hope” for many who literally have nothing and after overcoming the pride in the land where they were born, have to separate themselves from the concept of belonging to that place and reinvent themselves in other latitudes with the goal of not fading away as people, as a family, as productive and thoughtful beings.
But in the United States, they have met an invisible wall that right now frustrates this very objective.
In that sense, returning newly to its immigrant essence is being complicated, as the U.S. has lost the hegemony and reputation it used to have on this topic; it will not be easy, perhaps, to educate new generations to remove racism once and for all, but we cannot stop trying, for the good of humanity, as UNESCO notes in its report “Migration, displacement and education: building bridges, not walls,” from its Global education monitoring report 2019: “immigration and displacements continue stirring up negative reactions in modern societies, exploited at the same time by opportunists who believe it beneficial to construct walls and not bridges.”
But that will be a countercurrent social process that for now, in the context of the 2020 presidential elections, will be stranded before the sick reinforcement of anti-immigrant rhetoric, before that invisible wall of racism that forms the essential part of the campaign of he who currently holds the power.
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