In a new piece – a translation of his column running in several prominent US Spanish-language outlets , columnist David Torres, an Advisor at America’s Voice, delves into Trump’s relentless nativist campaign to divide and distract the American people in the midst of a national health pandemic. Torres refutes the administration’s notion that closing the border is key to protecting the U.S., and instead diagnoses Trump with an illness described as the “virus of xenophobia.”
Below is the translated column and to read the Spanish version of this article, please click here.
The president feels uncomfortable. Enough with seeing him emit official declarations these days. The rapid growth of the coronavirus in the United States has taken him so much by surprise that he is looking all over to find someone to blame for this pandemic anomaly that began in the Wuhan province of China, and has literally unbalanced the entire planet.
But based on his “scientific intuition” (oxymoron intended) the leader has focused already, of course, on immigrants as his first and only scapegoat: the eternally damned, looking for accommodation and better horizons wherever they can. For example, here.
And that is why, according to him, “now more than ever” we have to build a wall on the border, perhaps thinking that the virus, upon confronting concrete and metal, will disintegrate and like that, the threat will be gone, once and for all. The world of fiction, however, does not plagiarize plots from reality.
It’s interesting that no one seems to realize—neither him nor his advisors on the topic—that there is still no evidence that any immigrant, documented or undocumented, has infected residents of this country. Those who have been diagnosed with the illness (more than 1,000 people, according to official data, and counting) and even those who have unfortunately died (31 and also counting) have no nexus whatsoever to the issue of immigration.
In fact, let’s imagine just for a second that a situation like that were to occur, and an undocumented immigrant ended up infected. Immediately, the government and its cronies would politically exploit the matter, engaging in a ferocious campaign like they have done in the last almost four years in order to dehumanize immigrants even more, and in that way justify all of these immigration policies that have the country in a permanent crisis in this matter; from the separation of families at the border, to the illogical and cruel “Remain in Mexico” program that has thousands of asylum seekers into a situation of extreme precariousness and danger in Mexican territory, waiting for a response that does not come.
And that is the other irrefutable fact: how could this group or others be agents of contagion and responsible for what is happening now in U.S. territory, if immigration authorities won’t even let them enter the country? And on the other hand, those who have been here for years have not been able to travel abroad for the simple reason that, upon doing so, they would automatically complicate their ability to return forever. In fact, the most vulnerable members of the immigrant community do not even approach hospitals for fear of being arrested and eventually deported, which is the reason why ICE has promised not to carry out raids in health centers, thanks in part to the pressure of organizations who have demanded a stop to these operations, given the emergency.
There is no doubt that being uninformed about the historic reality of immigrants leads one to make decisions that approach the absurd, the perverse, and even violate human rights.
That is, the official focus on considering immigrants as a potential threat—especially if they come from poor countries and are dark-skinned—collapses immediately in the face of the actual numbers about Covid-19 expansion. For example, Mexico has only registered seven officially confirmed cases, while in the rest of the Latin American region the only fatal victim of this virus has been a 64 year-old man in Argentina. There is no way that the immigration issue could be responsible for this public health crisis that has everyone on alert.
It turns out that Trump is terrified, to the point of a nervous breakdown. That is, since he has no idea how to care for the people, just himself alone and his businesses, he doesn’t know what to do in order to confront a real social problem, a public health problem like that which this country and the rest of the world is suffering from right now. Putting on a red hat with his campaign slogan (“Make America Great Again”) has seemed to him to be enough of an antidote to not become infected in official acts, as he did this past 6th of March during an event with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CD) in Atlanta. Taking political advantage of this misfortune via the red hat also sends a perverse message.
But if one looks closely, his individualist way of seeing things is one of his biggest weaknesses in such a vast situation and his responsibility. It’s a fact that the leader is afraid to appear before his people and say something more or less coherent regarding a pandemic like the coronavirus; except to blame immigrants, of course.
This anti-immigrant frenzy that has defined him from head to toe since the beginning of his campaign carries with it another type of virus: the virus of xenophobia, which has become ever more lethal, upon expanding rapidly in a nation that once prided itself on reaching the highest ethical standards in the battle for civil rights and called itself a country that is pluralistic, diverse, and more and more anti-racist.
At the end of the day, the carriers of this virus of xenophobia have perhaps not realized that, with the expansion of Covid-19, at some point they may have to take a spade and ax to tumble the border wall that has been built until now, in case it is necessary to look for an escape route via our neighbors to the south.
For now, the polls in November could become the most effective cure to combat this very danger, the expansion of the xenophobia virus.