I don’t doubt that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump isn’t really as ridiculously over-the-top on immigration policy as the image that has been concocted for him during his campaign.
But the fact is that Trump decided early on which segment of our electorate he wanted votes from, and those are the people to whom anything resembling immigration reform had better include increases in deportation and set restrictions against people who aren’t exactly like themselves.
IN SHORT, TRUMP sought the bigot vote. That’s what he’s going to get (and being bigots, they think their votes are the only ones that ought to count).
So what do I think of the news reports Tuesday that say Trump really doesn’t want to boost deportations? He merely wants to enforce the immigration laws as they currently exist now.
That’s probably correct. Although one should keep in mind that the current federal immigration policy is a bureaucratic mess – one in serious need of reform. The kind of reform that President Barack Obama has hinted at wanting to implement, but the Republican majority that controls Congress has repeatedly thwarted his efforts.
So is it accurate to say that Trump would merely maintain the Obama way of doing things? Yes, but only if you fail to take into account that it was the system that Obama inherited – and has been unsuccessful in his attempts to alter.
THERE’S A REASON that Latino activists with a particular interest in federal immigration policy refer to Obama negatively as the “deporter-in-chief,” acknowledging the fact that more people have been removed from this country for immigration policy violations than during any other presidency.
The idea spread amongst activists is that Obama was too weak and ineffectual to stand up to the people who were the problem. A Trump presidency likely would put those people in full control of any change that occurs in the near future.
So while Trump may think he’s going to be able to tone down his rhetoric in ways that a few more people in the Latino segment of the electorate will consider voting for him, it’s not likely to occur. Those opening campaign wisecracks about Mexicans being rapists and drug dealers will likely work their way into his eventual obituary!
Because the real changes desired to make sense of our nation’s immigration policy are ones that acknowledge the fact that many of the people who are trying to come to this country do have a worthy contribution to make to our society.
IN FACT, IF we really wanted to judge a person’s right to U.S. citizenship based on what they offer to society as a whole, we’d probably find that many of these nativists and their xenophobic thought processes would be the first people in line for deportation – regardless of how many generations ago their families arrived on this continent.
Besides, my own thoughts about immigration policy are set largely based on the reality that there isn’t any difference between the newcomers of today and my own grandfathers – both of whom settled in the same neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago about 90 years ago.
A time either before there was a specific federal immigration policy or when the rules were loose enough that the restrictions of later didn’t apply to them.
Of course, I don’t doubt that the Trump-ites will dismiss any such claim. They don’t really seem to care about facts. In fact, I think the fact that Trump doesn’t burden their thought processes with “facts” is a major part of his appeal to them.
BESIDES, IF TRUMP were to go too far in softening his rhetoric on immigration policy, it probably would hurt him.
Because the kind of people who are determined to cast ballots for him come Nov. 8 are the ones who want these kind of absurd immigration policy changes to become real. They want someone who is willing to ignore sense because it fits with their own view of our society.
There’s no way he can say anything that will get him significant Latino support – heck, he’s going to do worse than the John McCain of 2008 or Mitt Romney of 2012. He’s going to create the false impression that Latinos love Hillary Clinton.
When in reality, our regard for Trump is that we Latinos think he’s lower than any soccer goaltender who faces off against the Mexico national team in a match at Mexico City’s Aztec Stadium.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Here’s what fanaticos de Equipo Mexico think of those visiting team goaltenders.