The recent decision of the President of the United States to deploy federal agents to different cities in the country, with the apparent intention of restoring “law and order,” was preceded by a long and now a long-lived list of mandates and occurrences that have become direct attacks on minorities in this nation. Actions that, of course, had no intention other than to keep the support of his most loyal base, supremacists and nativists, alive, especially now that the presidential election is so close and his approval ratings continue to decline.
That is what happened in Portland, Oregon, where said federal agents, some of them covert and driving unidentified vehicles, appeared to suppress, through blows and tear gas, those who had been protesting against police brutality after the death of the African American George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota this past May.
To these actions are added the intention of also sending federal agents to cities like Chicago and Albuquerque, which has unleashed a wave of criticism across the country, not only for the bad timing the leader has chosen to intimidate his opponents—given that our full-frontal attack should be focused on the COVID-19 pandemic—but also for the adoption of social control practices belonging to regimes bearing the ugly face of fascism.
As if that were not enough, also these days the government of the United States, a country that claims that “no one is above the law,” has challenged the Supreme Court by not permitting its immigration officials to receive new applications from young people to continue the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, despite the justices’ decision that Trump’s attempt to cancel it was arbitrary and capricious; so that the Dreamers can continue to benefit from work permits, social security numbers, and being protected from deportation.
Not content with that, and also contravening a judicial decision, the leader issued an unheard-of memorandum that excludes undocumented immigrants from the Census count, despite intense campaigns to convince all people to be counted, regardless of their immigration status, and what the Constitution clearly says: the entire population must be counted.
On the other hand, the Associated Press recently brought to light that the Trump administration continues to detain migrant children, even as young as one year old, now in hotels for weeks, with the goal of deporting them to their countries of origin, justified by “policies that have effectively shut down the asylum system during the coronavirus pandemic.” According to the investigation, hotels from the Hampton Inn & Suites chain have been used almost 200 times, “while more than 10,000 beds for children sit empty at government shelters.”
Meanwhile, more and more cases of bullying on the part of nativists against people of color, whether it be due to the color of their skin or their appearance, accent, or because they are heard speaking in another language as if expressing yourself in your preferred language is against the law in this country of freedoms. The white supremacists think, of course, that their privilege is even determining how someone speaks, what he speaks about, and in what language he speaks. Bilingualism and multiculturalism mean nothing to them. For this and other reasons, those supremacists and nativists were left behind a long time ago and now they want to recuperate some terrain that they never fought for.
Moreover, as no one forgets, of course, the separation of families at the border; the way in which immigrant children were caged; the migrants who have died in ICE custody, especially the children who could have been saved; the contempt toward asylum-seekers who lived through psychological torture—those who stay—on the Mexican side in hopes of a response that will come difficultly in the short term; the exclusion of undocumented immigrants from the economic stimulus, despite the billions of dollars that they actually do pay in taxes; the racism and xenophobia; as well as the attacks and discrimination against young Latinos in the military and other minorities within army installations (the murder of the young woman Vanessa Guillén seems to be the tip of the iceberg of an anomaly that could be even more sinister).
No, effectively, the United States is not the country that was heading to be a model of democracy where human coexistence would be more possible than in other latitudes. Having renounced its leadership in service of the narcissism and political ineffectiveness of just one man is costing it so much that it will be difficult, if not impossible, to reach the level that other nations have achieved today, especially in the midst of the pandemic. Because sinking the country with measures that more closely resemble the terrible fascist experience of other eras represents a historical lag that no country should have to suffer.
Especially not the country that aspired to be so much more than that.
To read the Spanish version of this article click here.