MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
The bestowal of US citizenship on Viktor and Amalija Knavs yesterday -- the parents of Melania Trump who herself only became a citizen in 2006 under murky unclarified circumstances after receiving a controversial green card -- reeks of Trump hypocrisy.
From the very beginning of his campaign for president, Donald Trump has made it clear that he was going to virulently target non-white immigration. Like leaders of many white supremacist and nationalistic movements before him, Trump has kept up an ongoing drumbeat against the refugees seeking entry into the US from Mexico and Central America, referring to them as everything from "rapists" to an "infestation." His is the language of all fascists who evoke a national racial purity.
Trump understands that to build a fascist authoritarian base, followers need an enemy. He is dangerously riding a volatile backlash to the growing multicultural makeup of the US. This will increase if the Republicans continue to guarantee GOP electoral victories through gerrymandering and voter suppression.
That also explains why Trump is threatening to shut down the government by vetoing the fall budget if his wall along the Mexican border isn't built. The wall has become a symbolic goal for whites who see themselves as besieged by "criminal" immigrants. Trump's continued emphasis on the wall is another way to drive home his determination to strictly limit non-white immigration to the United States.
Now, the Trump administration is moving toward rescinding the green cards and citizenship of immigrants who are legally authorized to live in this country. According to an August 7 NBC News article:
The Trump administration is expected to issue a proposal in coming weeks that would make it harder for legal immigrants to become citizens or get green cards if they have ever used a range of popular public welfare programs, including Obamacare, four sources with knowledge of the plan told NBC News.
The move, which would not need congressional approval, is part of White House senior adviser Stephen Miller's plan to limit the number of migrants who obtain legal status in the U.S. each year.
Details of the rule making proposal are still being finalized, but based on a recent draft seen last week and described to NBC News, immigrants living legally in the U.S. who have ever used or whose household members have ever used Obamacare, children's health insurance, food stamps and other benefits could be hindered from obtaining legal status in the U.S.
Immigration lawyers and advocates and public health researchers say it would be the biggest change to the legal immigration system in decades and estimate that more than 20 million immigrants could be affected.
In short, if you are a hard-working but low-paid legal immigrant, you might be eligible for deportation. This is discrimination against the working poor.
So it is a bit cynical for the Knavs to receive their citizenship under a legal immigration route known as "chain migration." This allows US citizens to sponsor family members for green cards and citizenship. It is a program that Trump has repeatedly denounced, but without the White House of Melania revealing any details, the Knavs have now successfully taken advantage of "chain migration," and Trump is not voicing any objection. After all, they are white, European and not included in the "the others" who are seen as a threat by Trump's white supremacist coterie.
An August 9 New York Times article points out:
Even as his in-laws were going through the process, Mr. Trump was denouncing it. In November, he tweeted, "CHAIN MIGRATION must end now! Some people come in, and they bring their whole family with them, who can be truly evil. NOT ACCEPTABLE!"
Since initial reports emerged in February that the Knavs had obtained permanent residency in the United States, there has been a lack of clarity about when or how the couple received green cards. And unless the couple themselves divulge the timeline of their citizenship process, the applications and petitions are protected by privacy law.
Meanwhile, the Trump amen chorus on Fox is backing his blatantly dishonest approval of the Knavs' route to citizenship. As reported in the Washington Press, Fox host Laura Ingraham stated this week:
The America that we know and love doesn't exist anymore. Massive demographic changes have been foisted upon the American people.... Much of this is related to both illegal and in some cases legal immigration.
Meanwhile, in August a federal judge ruled that the Trump reunification plan for grotesquely separated families was not acceptable. Furthermore, as the Knaves were being sworn in as US citizens, another federal judge ordered the Trump administration to return to the US a mother and daughter who were seeking asylum in the US. According to NBC News:
Angered that an immigrant mother and her daughter who are plaintiffs in a lawsuit had been deported, a federal judge demanded the administration turn the plane carrying them around and stop removing people from the country who are seeking protection from gangs and domestic violence....
The ACLU lawsuit had challenged a decision by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to exclude domestic and gang violence as reasons for immigrants to be granted asylum....
"In its rush to deport as many immigrants as possible, the Trump administration is putting these women and children in grave danger of being raped, beaten, or killed," said Jennifer Chang Newell, managing attorney with the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project and the attorney who argued the ACLU case.
It is clear that Trump has one partisan strategy on immigration for people of color and those emigrating from the poorer countries that he has referred to as "shitholes" -- and one for the white and the rich. Of course, add his third set of in-laws to that last mix of those he would welcome to the United States. This stance can be dismissed as rhetoric to energize his base, but it is being carried out to the extent the courts allow. The Trump administration shows no signs of letting up. It should be regarded with the utmost of serious concern.