tags: Press Releases

Another uphill battle for migrants, minorities, and democracy

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Washington, DC – Below is a column by Maribel Hastings and David Torres from America’s Voice en Español translated to English from Spanish. It ran in several Spanish-language media outlets earlier this week: 

We can conclude—without fear of being mistaken—that in the United States these days, hurricane winds are blowing against immigrants and minorities. In fact, just months before the intensification of another presidential electoral cycle, the challenges we face as a society and a democracy are enormous.

That’s nothing new in the history of this country, of course, but in the face of the current onslaught of attacks and disparagement, of intensified anti-immigrant rhetoric and the increase in voices that validate supremacist positions, the panorama has become ever more perturbing and sinister—in a century where there should supposedly be no more backsliding in history.

This past holiday weekend, when 247 years of the United States’ independence was celebrated, there are still some corners of the country where laws try to criminalize those who look different or who do not have their documents in order, as is the case in Florida, where the anti-immigrant law SB 1718 has been implemented starting July 1.

But it doesn’t stop there.

A conservative Supreme Court issued a series of troubling decisions during the final days before its recess, including the elimination of Affirmative Action in the acceptance process at universities, as if discrimination no longer exists in the real world and everyone has the same opportunities, regardless of the color of their skin or their national origin. If precedents in states like California and Michigan are indicative of something, it’s likely that universities will become more white and Asian, with fewer Hispanics and African Americans.

This carries a double intention. On the one hand, making people believe that merit is more important than opportunities for those who have never had them, because they have been systematically excluded in a country where segregation has prevailed; and on the other, to once again unleash that absurd competition between ethnic groups to see who is “better,” a type of neo-Balkanization that suits no one.

There was also a decision that undermines the rights of the LGBTTQ+ community, ruling in favor of an evangelical woman who designs wedding websites and deciding that given her religious convictions, she can deny offering services to same-sex couples, although the details of the case are a bit confusing, as the Associated Press reports.

The high court also canceled President Joe Biden’s plan to forgive $430 billion in student loans, arguing it is Congress’ job to legislate on a plan with such wide reach.

All of that is combined with two decisions from last year that expanded the rights of those who own guns, and revoked the decision in Roe v. Wade that guaranteed the right to abortion. And the rulings that are expected this fall.

In all of these decisions the influence of ex-president Donald Trump and the three conservative justices he nominated to the Supreme Court: Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, can be seen.

It’s clear that Trump bet on the immediate future and is now reaping the political fruits, before a base that has not abandoned him and would be disposed to doing whatever the ex-leader orders in a specific situation, as he already proved with the attack on the federal Capitol on January 6, 2021.

And it’s not because Trump has conservative convictions or any of that. He is a business and narcissistic entity, whose only conviction is his cult of personality and getting money from everything, even politics and the presidency. But as a candidate, president, and now aspiring presidential candidate, he has known how to handle his ultraconservative base, presenting himself as the defender of their causes, while in the background he doesn’t give a damn. The idea is to court the most supremacist and arrogantly white segment in the country in order to maintain a strictly personal agenda.

What is occurring at the macro level in the nation is being repeated in states by figures like the governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, who sells himself as the ringleader in the fight against undocumented immigrants.

His law, SB 1718, is already in effect. It’s already facing its first judicial lawsuit, and has generated chaos in diverse key industries of the state, not to mention the humanitarian crisis and fear it has generated among undocumented people and their permanent resident and citizen relatives.

Also, we find ourselves on the threshold of another presidential election, where Republican figures like Trump and DeSantis remain at the center of the debate with their anti-immigrant rhetoric, and where the Republican Party has normalized it, to the point of appropriating racist discourse once reserved for marginal groups, such as promoters of white supremacist conspiracy theories. They are so evident in their political and social anachronism that they will remain but an anecdote of bad taste in the national conscience, as time goes by.

But until then, there’s no doubt that another enormous challenge is in store for immigrants, minorities, and democracy, in the face of characters of such magnitude.

To read the Spanish version of this article click here.