Immigration and Racism

In 2019, immigration is one of the most polarizing issues in the US. Trump’s ‘wall’ is a perfect symbol for the current Republican sentiment that the US should close its borders. For hundreds of years, the US has fluctuated regarding its policies on immigration. It seems we are in the midst of a period of fervent anti-immigration sentiment, at least at the presidential level. As the son of an immigrant, I have always seen allowing immigrants into the US as a great thing. Given the fact that we are fundamentally a nation of immigrants, I find the US’ adopting an anti-immigration stance to be borderline absurd.

I try to avoid blindly throwing accusations of racism around. However, when considering the current dialogue surrounding the topic of immigration, one could make a very compelling argument for the existence of racism in the current administration and in the US as a whole. Many of those seeking to immigrate to the US are Latin Americans and Muslims fleeing dangerous situations in their respective countries. One need not look much further than the rhetoric Trump and other Republican politicians use about these groups to see that there is a great deal of bigotry against them. My point is it’s possible that racism may lie at the core of the US’ current stance against immigration. If this is true, it is deplorable and indicates that it’s time to change these policies.

The most obvious counter-argument to this accusation is denying the presence of racism in the US’ current immigration stance. Maybe the policies exist simply because politicians genuinely believe immigrants are bad for the economy. Maybe Mexican immigrants really are taking all of the farming jobs that are so deeply sought after by unemployed white Americans. However, given the ubiquity of racism in our country today (white supremacist groups, Mexican immigrant internment camps, police brutality, anti-Muslim rhetoric), it seems far from outlandish to assume that racism could play a role in our attempt to prevent Latin Americans and Muslims from entering the country. If in fact racism is dictating any public policies, it’s not going to end well for anyone. It’s time for Trump and other Republicans to recognize the existence of racism in politics and actively take a stand against it. I’m not especially optimistic that this will happen, in which case, we desperately need some new leadership in our country.

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