Let’s face it—The anti-immigration rhetoric is not only about illegal immigrants

Felicia Persaud | 11/10/2016, 11:58 a.m.
By the time this column is published, U.S. voters would have chosen the next president of the United States.
Immigration Flickr/Creative Commons/Jeff Djevdet/speedpropertybuyers.co.uk

By the time this column is published, U.S. voters would have chosen the next president of the United States. Many hope that the plain hate, rancor, anti-immigrant vitriol and the bile that’s been stirred viciously into the divisive campaign run by Donald J. Trump will magically slither back into Pandora’s Box.

But sadly, I’m not so optimistic. From where I sit, Trump did not simply foster a new negative emotion. He empowered those living in ignorance and with hate in their hearts to be able to express it, and now Pandora’s Box is wide-open and that’s frightening.

Trump tapped into what experts call the institutional racism that exists in America and the institutional racists who bought into Trump’s “Build a Wall” plan and the “Deport the 11 Million” fallacy, all hiding behind the claim that it’s not immigrants and immigration they hate, but those who come in illegally.

That’s a big fat lie!

The reality is that many blue-collar white men in America, without college degrees and even some with degrees, feel they are fast becoming the minority in a country where whites were always the majority and in control. Brown and Black immigrants have added to the African-American population to push the United States to a place where the minority is fast becoming the majority, and that is scary to many, especially in rural white America.

It is no wonder that they opened their arms in embrace to Trump and his rantings because he attacked the people who they feel are taking their power away—not Black Americans, but Black and Brown immigrants. All immigrants—not just those they claim fallaciously are “pouring over the border like thieves in the night.”

They hide behind the smoke screen of upholding laws, protecting the border and keeping out the “illegals,” but the reality is that the hate is palpable for all Black and Brown immigrants—legal or not—because they are leading to the darkening of America. If these undocumented immigrants were mostly white, then it would be a different story all together.

We have seen that played out over and over again. Last week in Wisconsin, a student studying legally in this country but born in Saudi Arabia, was attacked without provocation and beaten so badly by a group of white men that he died the next day. What did this immigrant student do? He did not sneak over the border. No, he was here legally on a U.S. student visa. He is believed to have been targeted and attacked because of the way he looked—foreign, Black and Muslim. All of the groups that Trump riled up his ignorant base to see as threats to their vision of a “Great America.”

The 2016 presidential campaign of Donald Trump has proved that even if all the undocumented immigrants are deported from America, immigrants in this country will still face hatred simply because of the color of their skin, their accent, their culture or the way they look.

And that’s a fact.

So to those immigrants who like to claim they came legally and did “the right thing” unlike the undocumented, think again. At the end of the day, you are immigrant and to the growing number of people seeing nothing but white in this country, that makes you as guilty as if you were “illegal.”

Let’s pray the postelection rancor that is sure to linger passes soon and we can move beyond hate and understand that at the end of the day, we all bleed red, and a lot of times red, white and blue.

The writer is CMO of Hard Beat Communications, which owns the brands News Americas Now, CaribPR Wire and Invest Caribbean Now.