There are occasions, when we, as mainstream American citizens, are tempted to hide our heads in shame, due to various perceived aberrant acts of our government. The number and perverse character of such explicitly, shameful and aberrant acts were materially, exacerbated, during the single and deplorable, four-year term of the Trump Presidency. Effectively, the cruel, un-American nature of the American immigration policy, under Donald Trump, can be evaluated by its stark comparison to the current context and treatment by several European Nations, of Ukrainian refugees, fleeing bombs and artillery shelling of the homicidal, Putin war.
We have witnessed numerous television broadcasts, of the unfolding, misadventure of Putin’s unjustified and unprovoked, attack against Ukraine, and are encouraged by the degree of success, to date, of the patriotic defenders. Putin, however, frustrated by disappointing results from Russia’s assaults upon the Ukrainian military, pathologically, has ordered Russia’s artillery, rockets and bombs, to be directed against non-military, civilian targets, hospitals, maternity wards, schools, food storage depots, residential apartment buildings and civilians.
It is every bit as repulsive and horrifying, to see the broken, bloody and dead bodies, including those of infants and grandmothers, as the nauseating view of roadkill (see, earlier essay, ”Viewing Roadkill”). The citizens of the assaulted Nation, understandably, are experiencing widespread, mortal panic and are fleeing the country. Scores of pictures of terrorized families, carrying what few possessions they can, and tightly gripping the small hands of their accompanying children, clearly evidence a universal fear of injury or death. The numbers of Ukrainian fugitives to date, reportedly, are in excess of 3.3 million.
Our strong feelings of condemnation and anger against Putin and Russia are, to a degree, somewhat assuaged by the warm welcome extended to the millions of Ukrainian refugees, fleeing the horror and danger of the war. Many European nations, including Poland, Romania, Moldova, Hungary, Slovakia, Scotland, England and Wales, have opened their doors, expressly inviting the refugees. We observed volunteers at one such facility in Poland, who, in addition to warmly welcoming the Ukrainian refugees, were distributing to them food, clothes and other necessaries.
During the four years of his administration, Trump, acting contrary to the history and established policies of the United States, courted his followers on the political right, by blocking immigration, and tactically defaming refugees, (fleeing from lives of danger and privation, in Mexico and Central America), as “criminals,” “rapists” and “human trash.” His hallmark campaign promise was to have an enormous wall erected at America’s southern border, to make it impossible for immigrants to enter the U.S. The “compassionate” Trump, additionally, saw fit to issue an order to arrest all “illegal” immigrants crossing the border, which tragically, resulted in the publicized, widespread separation of children from parents.
Trump’s racist pejoratives, defaming such people (who he never met), without factual basis, as” rapists,” “criminals”, and undesirables, was made more menacing by his false and creatively inciting warning that “Caravans,” of such undesirables, were descending upon our Nation, to carry on their nefarious criminal conduct and as well, to steal legitimate jobs.
This tactical fiction, viz., Caravans, (of undesirables) as denominated by Trump and right-wing supporters, for the unfortunate asylum seekers, fleeing danger, criminal gangs and economic privation, was, shamefully, successful. DACA was suspended and immigrants, seeking refuge from Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Mexico, who survived the grueling, bare-footed, trek, over the hot, arid Sonora Desert, were cruelly, turned back, or unjustly, imprisoned.
Trump and his loyal right-wing supporters, in the maintenance of their selfish, bigoted and uncharitable policy, chose to ignore many salient facts and historical, National tenets, on the subject of immigration (especially refugee immigration). Considering the overriding, empirical and contextual fact, that America as a Nation is composed 100%, of former immigrants and their progeny, we are easily disposed to detest and critically, question their notion of (selfish) inequality or limited entitlement, on the part of others.
Moreover, one can remind such bigots that the United States has relevant Statutes, providing for and permitting, immigration, most especially, refugees. We should also remind them that, in New York harbor, the world famous, Statue of Liberty is the undeniable, and eternal, American invitation to the beleaguered or troubled immigrant, to come to our country in search of a better life.
If Trump’s right-wing, sycophants, should elect to heed current events, they well might hang their reductionist-bigoted heads in red-faced, shame, viewing the humanitarian, charitable and welcome message to (currently) 3.3 million Ukrainian refugees, by the generous, participant countries, in stark, moral contrast to their seemingly, intractable, selfish and bigoted, xenophobia.