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Trump, a real threat to immigrants 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: 

They say “new year, time to turn over a new leaf.” But that’s not the case for the thousands of migrants who continue to arrive at the border, many seeking asylum; nor for those who the Republican Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, continues to send from that state to Democratic cities, on buses and planes like a load of goods.

It also doesn’t seem to have brought changes at the political level with Senate Republicans, who insist on undermining asylum laws and reviving Donald Trump’s disastrous migration policies in exchange for freeing up aid to Ukraine.

This vicious circle that has rotated so many times seems to be greasing the wheel yet again, to keep a solution and the migration issue from being achieved, as if it were a malevolent act in and of itself that has the objective of negatively affecting hundreds of families who are only looking for the best possibilities in life, just like millions of migrants before them.

To that let’s add the fact that we are fully entering the election year, when political gamesmanship, and not common sense, typically dominates the discourse and narrative of candidates and primary candidates, particularly Republicans, who are not searching for solutions to migration problems, but exploiting them to their own benefit and that of their preferred GOP primary candidate, Trump. The very same man who has done everything possible to paint the worst images about migrants, thanks to the racism, xenophobia, hatred, and above all, violent attacks against minorities of color have intensified since he appeared on the political scene.

In fact, on the 15th of this month, the electoral process begins with the Republican caucus in Iowa, followed by the New Hampshire primary on January 23rd. In both States Trump has said that immigrants “poison and destroy the blood” of the United States, language employed by Adolf Hitler in reference to Jews. But in Iowa, Trump assured that he “never read Mein Kampf,” the manifesto where Hitler accuses Jews of having contaminated the blood of “pure” Germans.

This is also the language employed by white supremacists, along with the concept of “open borders” that Trump and the Republicans use indiscriminately, while their party blocks measures in the Senate that would designate millions of dollars to border security and assist states and cities who are absorbing migrants and refugees. The Republicans’ objective is not to solve the problem. It’s to exacerbate it to generate chaos they say they want to combat.

And they don’t mind utilizing the most inhumane of strategies, which is blaming the most vulnerable and putting them at danger along with their families before a never-ending supply of imbalanced people who have absorbed absurd conspiracy theories like the “great replacement,” costing innocent people their lives.

Because in reality, what Trump is heading up is a racial war in which immigrants and minorities are demonized for political gains. And in the same way, he heads up a crusade against democracy because, to this very day, his Republican allies and followers insist on affirming that the 2020 election was “stolen” from him, despite the fact that they know that is a lie. They also minimize what happened on January 6, 2021, when a mob of his followers attacked the federal Capitol, attempting to prevent the certification of Joe Biden’s legitimate win in that election.

This Saturday, January 6 will mark three years since the lamentable, shameful, and bloody incident that cost lives; demonstrated the fragility of our democracy; and exposed what Trump—who now leads the Republican battle for the presidential nomination for this party, despite the more than 90 criminal charges pending against him—is capable of.

This is another one of those dangers that lie in wait with the former president: twisting the concept of democracy until it becomes meaningless, something that has no validity in the Trumpian world, and where, for example, only white supremacy and the privileges he used to have with total impunity are acceptable, and where elections are only valid when his conservative cronies win.

In sum, 2024 is a new year with old problems, among them: the lack of serious and sensible immigration reform that deals with all the elements, including the legalization of the millions of undocumented people who are among us. And there is also the renewed threat of Trump’s potential return to power, if he wins the Republican nomination and unseats Biden in November.

That represents a critical threat if you consider that Trump would attempt to complete what he could not achieve in his first term, not only on immigration, but on other matters, and to try to give free reign to his aspiration of being an autocrat and employing the apparatus of the state to persecute his opposition. It would be like crowning his eternal egotism, where neither the nation, nor its history, achievements, or future fit.

Although it sounds dramatic, the threat is real.

To read the Spanish version of this column click here.