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Space for ‘other' in Trump’s America

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Space for ‘other' in Trump’s America

Since the campaign trail and the Presidential declarations to stymie the entry of population from seven Muslim nations and South America, it no longer remains a convenient task for the fastidious fortune seekers to milk the land of Oregon trail and the North Eastern seaboard. Apart from that, the Trump Administration has rescinded from its ‘iron door with spikes policy’ by announcing that the progeny of adult aliens would not be separated from their parents in detention centres

The USA is known across the international polity as a multitudinous melting pot. Since the last two millennia, America has witnessed Asian and European exodus by the “other” to seek shelter in the American homeland in the face of exploitation, penury, and religious-ethnic repression.

Since the campaign trail and the Presidential declarations to stymie the entry of population from seven Muslim nations and South America, it no longer remains a convenient task for the fastidious fortune seekers to milk the land of Oregon trail and the North Eastern seaboard.

In the contemporary context, the sequestration of families with the parents staying away excommunicated from their progeny in American detention centres remains a far cry from the notion of an all welcoming and embracing America. Apart from that, the Trump Administration has rescinded from its “iron door with spikes policy” by announcing that the progeny of adult aliens would not be separated from their parents in detention centres. Thus, the all-pervading notion of President Donald Trump being an inhuman and cruel capitalist amounts to the genre of over simplification, as quite generally speaking the idiom of national security along with the tenet of human security of the American homeland is the primary prerogative of any American President and its executive despite even seasoned Republicans opposing President Trump’s separation plan in the US Congress.

Thus, here one can witness the anti-establishment and the overtly true blue American strain of thought on “National Security First” approach towards policy making in general and immigration policy in particular.

It can be argued that placing American interests on the forefront amounts to a deft implementation of the theme and practice of economic nationalism. It is in this domain that President Trump intends to assuage the concerns of the American workers and industry. Trump has repudiated the DACA law promulgated by President Obama which amounts to “Deferred action for childhood arrivals”. The schemata on immigration proposed by Trump as part of a factual interlude proposes to initiate a 12 years procedure for around 1.8 million immigrants who are aliens as they arrived as undocumented entrants when they were  in their toddlerhood. The visa lottery along with green cards for distant relatives and delimiting the provision of green cards only for children and spouses are the key constituents of Trump’s immigration plan. The US Supreme Court has ruled the aliens under the DACA cannot be deported until the matter has not been pondered over by courts.  The courts have placed a dragnet over the Department of Homeland security in the context of the DACA deportations.

A Trump tweet explains the Presidential positioning which is no more a posturing. Trump tweeted, as this is sourced from one of his present tweets, “When we have an ‘infestation’ of MS-13 GANGS in certain parts of our country, who do we send to get them out? ICE! They are tougher and smarter than these rough criminal (elements) that bad immigration laws allow into our country. Dems do not appreciate the great job they do!”

Thus, the “infestation” rhetoric back on the tracks with the establishment expressing concern about the undocumented aliens being a security threat to the homeland security. And, why not? It has been observed that radicalisation of youth becomes a much easier pathway for establishing the peacenik apple cart of the US despite strivings being on by the education policy wonks in the US.

President John F Kennedy of the yore used to explicate rather honestly that America is the land of immigrants. In the light of a literacy test being imposed on the immigrants by the US Congress in 1897, the melting pot heydays of the American homeland were obstructed to a certain extent. President Woodrow Wilson, President Cleveland and Taft vetoed the legislation and but President Kennedy too tempered down his “America: The land of Nations” argument and his 1960 campaign document in the light of some reservations about the “new arrivals”. EL Doctrow in his seminal and popular novella Ragtime also picturises the sub-human state and toil of the immigrants during this American epoch. EL Doctrow clinically creates a telling imagery of the squatter dwellings, dirt ridden and squalid roommates in the underbelly of the city of New York. The dream was not so bountiful for many but the caveat before we dwell upon the failings of the American dream is that the populations were saved from the threats of genocides and had prospects to rise up the ladder as the national industry and strength gradually augmented.

A Senate Press Release in 1960 informs us about President Kennedy’s pledge that high priority would be given by the Democrat Administration to make amendments in the immigration and naturalisation laws in order to rid the land of discrimination based on national origin. In the European context, too, the German Chancellor is under the threat of her ruling coalition being destabilised on the fractious issue of immigrant refuge and shelter and neighbourly responsibility to respond to the surge of immigrants.

President Reagan was not too much confrontationist about the theme of receiving immigrants. It was his commitments to keep the trade and immigrants free in his nation. President Reagan was a conservative by political texture but he opposed the legislations and the activism by the likes of Lou Dobbs, Bill O’ Reilly, Pat Buchanan and Tom Tancredo of Colorado who bore the anti-immigration whip during the eighties. President Reagan too believed that the immigrants possessed a determination of hard work and steadfast growth had been registered by them.

President Trump on the other hand is an iconoclast and a renegade from the establishment for the blue collar America. The actual sentiment of being driven by the sentient of “America First” is a hard reality of the core of the denizens in the homeland. As an instance, the larger population is also tired of the usurpation of employment opportunities and the realisation of the “American Dream” by the immigrants who work hard and have attained prominent stations in the American-scape. Thus, apart from the imminent homeland security threat, an ingrained cultural bias pervades under the much hyped and politically correct lore of multiculturalism and integration. The Reagan-era Immigration and Control Act of 1986 redefined the scenario in the conglomeration that the United States actually is. The Act made it a requirement for the American employers to desist from hiring workers without permits and papers.

Thus, economically speaking also, the immigrants matter a great deal for the American economy and some observers have gone on to contend that the domestic American economy runs on the immigrants. Phantasmagorically speaking, the construct of “mutants” from outer space getting hold on political power and all American resources very well explains the American anxiety. 

(The writer teaches International Relations at Indian Institute of Public Administration, Delhi)

 
 
 
 
 

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