Our nation was formed by immigrants and it has shaped our nation to become what it is today. That diversity and the mixing of so many cultures and different ways of thinking turned us into a global superpower. Since ours is a nation that offers a unique way of life built upon the backs of immigrants, one has to wonder why Republicans, and Donald Trump, in particular, have decided to appeal to their voter’s most base and primitive emotions- fear and anger. They have turned immigration, or rather anti-immigration craziness, into their cause célèbre particularly against Mexican Immigrants.
While vicious anti-Mexican immigration rhetoric is a major Republican talking point in the 2016 election, the conservative heroes Reagan and Bush recognized the contribution to the American way of life by Mexican immigrants. Bush said: “Because, as we have made illegal some kinds of labor that I’d like to see legal, we’re doing two things, we’re creating a whole society of really honorable, decent, family-loving people that are in violation of the law and secondly we’re exacerbating relations with Mexico…These are good people, strong people.”
Reagan said: “Rather than talking about putting up a fence, why don’t we work out some recognition of our mutual problems? Make it possible for them to come here legally with a work permit. And then, while they’re working and earning here they can pay taxes here. And then when they want to go back, they can go back. Open the borders both ways.” As we know, President Reagan passed legislation giving a pathway to citizenship for more than 3 million immigrants.
Donald Trump has raised the specter of xenophobia to new levels in his presidential announcement speech, creating a crisis over immigration that doesn’t exist, purposefully playing ethnic politics for idiotic statements referring to Mexican immigrants as ‘drug addicts’, ‘rapists’, ‘violent criminals’, furthered by the disrespectful and outrageous claim that he is going to have Mexico build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico to keep Mexicans out. As Trump found more and more support for his ideas, in his base of Republican crazies, he is claiming that he is going to round up and deport 11 million hardworking Mexican Immigrants presently in the U.S. And most recently, he challenged the Fourteenth Amendment by claiming that birthright citizenship should be denied to children of undocumented Mexican immigrants born in the U.S.
The fact is none of Trump’s immigrant bashing is true : “Immigration and crime levels have had inverse trajectories since the 1990s: immigration has increased, while crime has decreased. Some experts say the influx of immigrants contributed to the decrease in crime rates…”
Facts, of course don’t matter to Republicans and their supporters as they continue to mount their relentless assault on Mexican Immigrants, and Trump, despite his idiotic xenophobia, continues to lead in the polls.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.