The ancestral immigrant history of anti-immigrant crusader Donald Trump

Roundup
tags: election 2016, immigration, Trum



Gwenda Blair is the author of the bestselling Almost Golden: Jessica Savitch And The Selling of TV News, and she has written for Politico, The New York Times and other publications. She is there author of The Trumps: Three Generations of Builders and a Presidential Candidate.

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When Donald Trump declared his candidacy for president at Trump Tower on June 16, the real kickoff wasn't the actual announcement ("I am officially running") but his remarks on immigration. "The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else's problems," he said, and then went on to denounce Mexican immigrants as criminals, drug dealers, and rapists. "We have no protection and we have no competence, we don't know what's happening. And it's got to stop and it's got to stop fast."

Fact checkers squawked. They pointed out that net immigration from Mexico is now zero, if not negative (that is, the number of people returning to Mexico from the U.S. is at least as great as the number of new arrivals), and that there are now more arrivals from Asia than from Latin America.

When questioned, Trump refused to back down. Instead he accelerated, pointing to a handful of criminal acts by undocumented immigrants as a virtual crime wave. Trump has since widened his scope of attack on immigrants by saying on Face The Nation that Syrian refugees may be "the greatest Trojan horse" — that is, there may be terrorists among them — and should be steered away from American shores.

But fact checkers aren't Trump's intended audience. He's targeting the mass of disaffected, angry, and largely white voters who feel that immigrants have stolen their jobs, their sense of security, and their self-respect. These voters are looking for someone to get things back on track, to bring back "their" America — and poll after poll shows that they like the Knight on a White Horse message Trump is delivering.

Trump's anti-immigrant rant and follow-up pledge to deport all undocumented immigrants and their families have proved a shrewd campaign tactic. But as I learned while writing a book about him, his father, and his grandfather, despite Trump's repeated claim to "tell it like it is," he has often failed to do so with regard to his own family's immigrant past. ...




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