Donald Trump has made quite a show of his anti-immigration stance for quite some time, and it is not always easy to tell whether he is that bigoted or just trying to appeal to an ignorant mass. However, his latest executive action to identify and remove immigrants who have been convicted or just charged of a crime in a weekly list is a new level. Is he committing a’ deportation crime’ of his own, and dressing it as some kind of legal process?
Trump is prejudiced. Or he pretends to be prejudiced – I’m not sure which is worse. To specifically target immigrants who have committed crimes, or have been accused, is one of the most ludicrous attempts to scapegoat crime onto the shoulders of immigrants. Moreover, it could even be stepping awfully close to finding an excuse to commit a deportation crime.
It is true that the UK also has systems in place where a visa can be curtailed or revoked if the holder commits criminal offences, so the idea of deporting a criminal is not a “new” idea at all. However, there is a big difference between wantonly targeting and publishing lists of all immigrants who have committed a crime and merely undertaking the rules of a visa.
This is different. This is vindictive. Perhaps it is about time we stopped satire and actually addressed the issue.
If a school decided to name, shame and permanently exclude children of immigrant families when they misbehaved we would – I truly hope – be up in arms. The school would be in breach of fair treatment rules as well as discrimination laws. If a company did the same to its employees we should expect that employment law would stand in their favour. This is not to suggest that breaking rules or committing crimes should be allowed for immigrant children or adults any more than those who consider themselves native. Although, the term “native” and American brings up a whole other issue of immigration, settlement, genocide…but that’s a whole other blog to write.
Nevertheless, it is ironic that Trump is so set on daemonising – yes, I used the English spelling – immigrants when the entire nation is a collection of predominantly immigrant population. Even the settlers then brought in immigrants as slaves for hundreds of years. So just like the UK, the very idea that “immigrants” should be treated differently becomes somewhat laughable when you look at the cultural make-up of the country. A royal family with Germanic and Greek origins; a population that thrives because of and not in spite of immigrants settling.
America is no different, and it only takes a cursory look at crime statistics to see that it isn’t the immigrants that are committing the majority of crimes in the USA. So, surely threatening a minority with deportation is disproportionately unfair because it presumes that immigrants are more dangerous. Surely this is contrary to human rights: a deportation crime.
So if the conditions of a visa or green card or other immigrant status requires deportation if someone is convicted of a crime then there can’t be any real complaint against such cases. But what we should object to is Donald Trump using this to justify his own anti-immigration narrative: suggesting that “immigrant” = “criminal.” Inferring that America would be safer without immigrants is a joke.
And that is why using the scapegoating technique that sounds more akin to Goebbels-style Nazi propaganda is nothing short of racism or xenophobia. Using such prejudice to fuel racial unrest and hatred is nothing short of criminal. Deporting people – or even threatening to do so – who are merely charged, and not yet convicted, is surely criminal. It should be called out for what it is: deportation crime.
Donald Trump is not thinking about his nation any more than he is driving his own ego and continuing to play to the same dangerous narratives he spouted in his campaign. The only difference now is that he is trying to dress what he is doing in executive orders; trying to make it legal; trying to practise racism under cover of law.