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ICYMI: Julio Ricardo Varela in Washington Post “Trump turns to a familiar scapegoat: Immigration”

 

In a must-read op-ed published yesterday in the Washington Post, Julio Ricardo Varela exposes Trump’s attempt to point fingers and scapegoat immigrants in an attempt to deflect accountability for his failure to respond to a global pandemic.

As Varela writes, “First, he blamed the Chinese. Then, he blamed previous administrations. Now, President Trump has taken the most predictable path in his coronavirus denial program: Blame it all on immigration.”

The op-ed is excerpted below and can be read in full here:

… Weeks into a global pandemic that he knew was coming but chose to downplay — as new reporting from U.S. intelligence sources shows— Trump is running out of scapegoats. He might as well go back to his tried and true trope: the blatant dehumanization of migrants

… Instead of following the lead of governors and mayors who start their daily briefings with data and practical information about the outbreak, Trump has gone down the neo-nativist path. He has his accomplices, such as Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, who made sure to sound like his boss at the Friday briefing when he said that “during this pandemic, a number of health challenges arise when illegal immigrants arrive at our northern and southern borders and are taken into immigration custody.”

… The latest language linking the virus to immigrants is exactly what the anti-immigration lobby has been pushing for years. On Sunday, the Trump campaign sent a message to supporters: “Pres. Trump is making your safety his #1 priority. That’s why we’re closing BORDERS to illegals.” Migrants will always bring disease. Migrants will destroy America. We need a new protector to make us great again. Enter Trump, and now a global pandemic has become the xenophobes’ golden ticket. Never mind all the facts that point to how immigrants have benefited this country enormously…

… We must be vigilant for dangerous xenophobic language, now more than ever. Trump is making his response to the novel coronavirus (which he insists on calling the “Chinese” virus to deflect blame and stoke xenophobia) a political issue. He is returning to what worked for him so well in the past. But we can’t have him distract us with hate and division — the country can’t afford that right now in the face of a global pandemic.