The Hill (Op-Ed)
By Jason Nichols
May 03, 2017
President Trump and his representatives are using racial stereotypes to further their political agenda and placate their supporters on immigration, who according to studies, likely harbor racist views.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer blasted a decision by Federal District Judge William H. Orrick that stalled an Executive Order that could potentially take away Federal funds from Sanctuary cities.
Spicer stated that Sanctuary cities have “the blood of dead Americans on their hands” and the White House released a statement calling the decision an “egregious overreach.”
A closer examination shows that the Trump administration’s attempt to connect immigrants with crime is unfounded and illogical. Native born American citizens are more likely to be incarcerated than immigrants. Young immigrant men between the ages of 18-29 with low education coming from Central American are among the most likely to be undocumented.
However, they are far less likely than American citizens of the same age group with similar levels of education to see the inside of a jail cell.
However, the Trump administration is counting on a popular media image of young Latino men as violent gangbangers to scare up support for deportations and a wall. Researchers have found that immigrants are less likely to be involved in antisocial behavior.
In addition, the LA Times has reported that the Trump administration’s database to track the criminal immigrants in custody actually listed the names of children, some still in diapers. While the Department of Homeland Security has said this was an error, some say it is evidence of disorganization that comes from the top down.
In addition, it can be argued the unauthorized border crossings are an issue that have been all but solved. In fiscal year 2015, the number of undocumented Mexicans stopped at the border reached its lowest point in 50 years. However, the Trump administration’s commitment to their original ideas and fulfilling campaign promises seem to overpower fact and reason.
Trump and his surrogates often invoke the tragic death of Kathryn Steinle who was killed but repeat offender who was an undocumented immigrant in the San Francisco area.
However, there are many examples of American citizens killing immigrants that seem to miss the president’s attention.
For example, Wade Michael Page murdered six people in a Wisconsin Sikh temple, some of whom were immigrants. Three men in Garden City, Kansas plotted to bomb a Somali immigrant community just before the election. Though their plans were thwarted, they planned to cause a “bloodbath.” Much like at the Temple, some of the people in the Somali community were undoubtedly citizens. If Mr. Trump wanted to keep Americans safe, he would use resources to stop White Supremacist violence and terrorism.
Preliminary reports suggest that he plans to cut the budgets of TSA, FEMA, and the Coast Guard to fund the wall project. The White House claimed this report was not entirely “accurate”, but gave little detail after that.
The Trump administration is seemingly showing a fundamental misunderstanding of how drug smuggling and terrorism have taken place over the last 30 years. According to the Christian Science Monitor, the Coast Guard is responsible for the seizure of 201 metric tons of cocaine that would have hit the streets of the US in 2016 alone. They have also intercepted 6,346 undocumented migrants and in some cases kept them safe from dangerous vessels that transport them.
Trump claims to want to bolster the military, and increase its funding.Though the Coast Guard has been recently moved under the umbrella of homeland security, they are still considered a military service. Significantly cutting their budget by 14 percent seems counterintuitive to his stated objective.
Two-thirds of undocumented immigrants have been in this country for more than a decade and the vast majority are not committing crimes. Trump’s targeting of this population is nonsensical, other than to satisfy the racial animus of his supporters.
Historically, black and brown people have always been scapegoated for crime and alleged to be a threat to employment of whites, which is an example of entitlement culture. The fact that this administration suggests significant budget cuts to essential parts of our government that promote housing, education, diplomacy, and the environment for a border wall and deportations show that the goal is truly not public safety.
The public is made safer by environmental protections not deportations, ask the people of Flint.
Jason Nichols is a full-time faculty member in the African American Studies Department at the University of Maryland College Park. His writing has appeared in the Baltimore Sun.
The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.
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