It’s been difficult to identify Donald Trump’s approach to public policy. At best, it’s elusive. But I think it’s safe to say, after waiting many, many months for him to present greater details on, let’s say, his “immigration reform,” we aren’t going to get anything more substantive out of him. His public policy approach is what it is, and it’s not complex, to say the least.
I don’t think Trump feels he’s lacking details, and his supporters surely aren’t left wanting. He feels that the solution to America’s problems is rather quite simple.
Let’s start from the beginning. Trump won the Republican nomination for President because of two things: (1) his machismo, and (2) his promise to deport all undocumented immigrants, aka, Mexicans. There are other promises too, like making Mexico pay us to build a wall to keep them out. But the point is that the most crystal clear of his pubic policy positions is his anti-immigration one––mass deportation, building a wall, and talking our country back from Mexicans–––a people whom he referred to as “criminals, drug dealers, and rapists.”
Anti-immigration is Donald Trump’s cure-all for what his supporters feel is an America in crisis. Through mass deportation we can solve everything––crime, the national debt, strengthening the military and veterans’ programs, jobs and the economy––and here’s how.
Mass deportation removes those “criminals, drug dealers, and rapists” in one fell swoop. It gets us our so-called country back and restores order to the social chaos that undocumented immigrants bring. Trump’s evidence of this chaos are the Angel Moms–moms who have lost their children to crimes committed by undocumented immigrants–that he showcases at his political events. Mass deportation solves America’s crime.
Mass deportation will remove the drain on our national budget because undocumented immigrants take up social resources, like welfare and other programs, even though they don’t pay into these programs (which is untrue–––in fact, undocumented immigrants pay into these services, but because they’re undocumented, can’t get anything out). Mass deportation solves America’s national debt.
Because mass deportation moves our national budget from red to black, it allows us to strengthen our military and put more resources into veterans’ programs. Mass deportation solves America’s weakened military and lack of services for our vets.
Mass deportation will restore good paying jobs to American workers because undocumented immigrants bring wages down, or worse, steals American jobs. Just like undocumented Mexican immigrants, their country as a whole takes advantage of Americans by negotiating trade deals with our government that puts Mexicans first, not Americans. Mass deportation solves America’s unemployment and stagnant wage crisis.
You get the point.
Mass deportation is Donald Trump’s cure-all for everything ailing our society to date, and if we are able to kick undocumented immigrants out of our country, then we’ll get it back and “make it great again.”
The problem with the cure-all is that it’s not really simple—it’s simplistic, and there is violence in this kind of political philosophy.
First, he has latched on to the anti-immigrant undercurrent flowing in the Republican party’s base and has used it opportunistically. It really is irrelevant if Mr. Trump is personally racist or prejudiced against Mexicans and the broader Hispanic community. He has used race baiting to rally anti-immigrant sentiment against a specific group in our society, and tried his best to break any remnants of worker solidarity that his supporters have with their Latino/a brothers and sisters. This break has lead to direct violence against the Hispanic community—and Mr. Trump is responsible for it as the movement’s head.
Secondly, there is indirect violence committed against our Latino/a brothers and sisters when Donald Trump calls them “criminals, drug dealers, and rapists.” This is the violence of the dehumanization of others, and the violence of indifference towards others’ experiences of crime, drugs, and rape that are plaguing their community as well. Ironically, most undocumented immigrants leave their countries precisely because they and their families are victims of—not the perpetrators of—the very things he calls them.
The political philosophy of the cure-all does not solve public policy issues. Rather, it evades them by accusing one group or community for our common ills—and the thinking goes—we quickly eliminate the problems by eliminating them. It is a radically exclusionary practice of politics that historically has proven to lead to genocide and civil war, and when it is a practice based on race, it is called the social sin of racism.
Donald Trump and his supporters are engaged in this social sin, exposed in his cure-all approach to public policy. America is a complex, multicultural, post-modern, and global society, and a cure-all to social problems is a particular form of state violence, and in this case, a racialized form of state violence that African-Americans know too well.
Instead of a cure-all, we need leadership that can direct our society towards inclusionary practices, where secondary attributes of what it means to be human aren’t used by the state to degrade those that are within its borders. Instead of a cure-all, we need leadership that can empower subsidiary institutions at the local and regional levels that can inspire particular solutions to particular problems that the Hispanic community in the U.S. faces today.
Instead of a cure-all, we need leadership that ensures that society doesn’t take the easy way out of what commonly ails it, because after we have rid ourselves of those whom we feel are the culprits, we will quickly find what ails our society hasn’t been cured at all.