On immigration, Trump is wilfully ignorant

By Esther Cepeda / The Washington Post / February 23, 2017

 

Is it just me or does anyone else get the feeling that President Trump and others in his administration don’t see any difference between unauthorized immigrants and those residing in our country legally?

This seemed obvious in his first immigration-related executive order — halted by the courts — barring refugees and citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for at least 90 days. In the days before the ban was stopped, border agents were making no distinction between people arriving on various visas and those with legal permanent residency in the United States (also known as green card holders) or those holding dual citizenship.

If the changes to current immigration policies that were leaked in the form of draft executive actions last week ever become law, it will underscore the Trump administration’s core belief that all immigrants — and not only unauthorized ones — are problematic to our country and need to be thinned from our ranks.

 In addition to speeding deportations for unlawfully present immigrants, the leaked memos set off worries among immigrant advocacy groups that legal immigrants who access public assistance could be deported. And that individuals who are otherwise eligible for green cards could be denied admission to the U.S. if they were determined to potentially become eligible for any kind of means-tested government assistance.

To be clear: The Associated Press debunked the myth that such an executive order has been signed, but the fear and confusion are palpable.

At the very core of the bias against immigrants, be they legal or not, has been a constant drumbeat from the far right that has, for over a decade, referred to immigrants as insects and vermin. Most recently, Trump himself has referred to Latino immigrants as rapists, drug dealers, gangbangers and, generally, prone to violence.

Though these persistent myths have been debunked over and over, in an environment teeming with rampant and freely shared fake news it is more important than ever to push out legitimate unbiased information about immigrants.