Leading advocates were quick to condemn the implications and motivations driving the Trump administration’s new “public charge” rule. The announcement is the latest evidence of Stephen Miller’s relentless assault on immigrants and refugees, as well as the GOP’s desperate and cynical “divide and distract” midterm strategy.
Among the key reactions included:
The new rules are “an example of Trump and Stephen Miller at their worst. They are scapegoating communities of color to excite their base.” Hincapié also noted, “The Trump administration is trying to achieve through the back door what it hasn’t been able to do through Congress, which is to radically reform the legal immigration system.”
I see the Trump Administration’s hostility towards immigrants as part of a strategy of mass distraction to keep the focus on fomenting outrage directed at Latinos while keeping the focus off of the corruption and graft that are gripping the White House and the GOP. From the first day of the Trump campaign, the message has been that immigrants are a danger and a drain. Trump wants you to think Latinos and immigrants are rapists and murderers, they vote illegally against him, they are lazy and at the same time are stealing American jobs. Today he’s selling the lie that immigrants weaken the U.S. economy when exactly the opposite is true. Hey, if I were Donald Trump I would want to talk about anything other than the indictments and Russian collusion, the tax-cuts to billionaires, and his taking health care away from American families. The fact is that the Donald Trump-led Republican Party is now the party opposed to legal immigration and allowing those here legally to ever fully integrate and apply for citizenship.
[The new rule is] nothing but a cynical ploy to divide and distract us from all of the ways in which the Administration is actually squeezing the middle-class. It also represents a slap in the face to the very immigrants—those who are legally present and have followed the rules—that President Trump and Republicans in Congress claim to support. The President’s strategy is simple: Rather than help middle-class voters—who face skyrocketing health-care, education, and housing costs at the same time that wages remain stagnant—President Trump and his party have chosen to hand kickbacks to the rich, defund our schools, and threaten cuts to Medicare and Social Security. He seeks to distract Americans from this legacy by fueling racial resentment and division with his constant attacks on minorities and immigrants. The proposed rule is simply the latest step in this strategy, and we should not fall for it.
The original public charge provision is rooted in the racist actions of politicians from 1882, the same year as the discriminatory Chinese Exclusion Act. Families are the cornerstone of any community and one of the most important institutions in our society. The government should be supporting families and helping them thrive during times of need instead of instilling fear.
[The new rule] jeopardizes children in the school cafeteria lunch line, people in need of lifesaving medical care, and immigrant parents working two jobs just to put food on the table. This move goes around Congress to tear families apart and reverse immigration policies and practices that have lasted for nearly a century—through Republican and Democratic administrations alike.
This has Stephen Miller’s fingerprints all over it. He and his cabal of hardliners are determined to keep out and kick out as many immigrants and refugees as possible.
This strategy is not only cruel, it’s purposeful. Miller and the Trump White House believe pitting people of color against their supporters will improve GOP prospects in the 2018 midterms. The Trump team – including super PACs aligned with Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan – want to say that Democrats stand with immigrants, and Republicans stand with taxpayers. It’s more accurate to say that most Americans stand for decency and unity, while the GOP stands for divisiveness and cruelty.
This is about more than ‘mobilizing their base.’ It’s about generating enough white noise to drown out discussion of a GOP track record that consists of lining the pockets of donors while raising the cost of healthcare, defunding education, and threatening Social Security and Medicare. With real wages flat and most people unhappy with the direction of the country, the Republicans can’t win an election focused on kitchen table issues. And so, they point fingers, stoke divisions and blow smoke.
We need leaders who bring us together to make life better for each and every one of us – white, black, brown and beyond. We need to join together with people regardless of background and birthplace to fight for our future – just like we won better wages, safer workplaces, and civil rights in our past. We need leaders who work for all of us, not just the wealthy few.