It would appear as though Donald Trump is trying to weed out non-native individuals from the United States. The first few blows were specific, intentional – the building of a wall along the US-Mexican border for one, and the indefinite ban on incoming refugees. Trump was delivering the promise he had made to his bellicose voters – he wanted to make America ‘great’ again.
What was unforeseeable, and therefore took everyone by surprise, was when Trump singled out seven Muslim-majority countries (Syria, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Iran, and Yemen) and denied temporary entry to its nationals. The move was unprecedented and unconstitutional. Immediately, the world broke into an uproar; several Americans poured onto the streets in protest and called out to what seemed to be Trump’s anti-Muslim policy, directed at banning a certain religious community from the United States.
In a frenzied attempt to defend himself, Trump released a statement complaining, “To be clear, this is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting. This is not about religion — this is about terror and keeping our country safe”. But here’s the thing, Trump and his coterie of advisers do espouse the belief that terror is characteristic of not jihadist groups like the al Qaeda or ISIS, but is rooted in Islam itself. In fact, Trump’s appointed national security adviser, Michael Flynn went on record (http://bit.ly/2eOSrN7) to call Islam a “cancer”; that it was a “political ideology” which hid behind “being a religion.” Flynn has also tweeted that “Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL”. Therefore, to call the travel ban an anti-Muslim ban wouldn’t seem far-fetched.
There are many who may label Trump’s puerile spewing of rants and executive orders as erratic, shallow, improvisational and not well-thought-out. That these orders don’t tie up to neatly in a bow to suggest that Trump has a grand strategy in mind. However, if you pull back for a moment and try to steer away from the distracting cacophony engineered by Trump through his consistent riffling of bans and orders, you’ll realize that there is, a plan after all. The dots do connect.
Let’s list a few things down: a) The administration’s recent declaration that it may crack down on H1-B visa holders is a troubling one. It would ensure that foreign-born workers legally working in America could no longer do so. The move would ultimately push them to leave the country. If they don’t work in the United States, it would mean that in the future they cannot apply for a Green Card or become permanent citizens. Which terminates the possibility of having first-generation immigrants becoming ‘Americans’ and therefore never leaving the country. Under the title, “Protecting American Jobs and Workers by Strengthening the Integrity of Foreign Worker Visa Programs”, the order would also shorten the duration of the permitted Optional Practical Training period provided to foreign students who wish to work in the United States. The OPT gives students the visa to work in the States for a certain period. Thanks to the Obama administration, it allows students to work for a period of 17 months.
b) Then there is the immigration ban which will soon see the deportation of more than 300,000 Filipinos illegally living in the U.S. (http://bit.ly/2jWDFEQ). c) Trump Administration has denied entry to refugees indefinitely. d) There is also the infamous wall that is soon going to be cemented in place to ensure illegal Mexicans cannot enter.
The implications of how all this is playing out seems interesting. It seems as though Trump is trying to push out non-native individuals, a step that neatly aligns with his intentions of making America ‘great’ again. In the Trumpian view, America may be a country which deserves to be a land inhabited solely by Americans – not immigrants, legal or illegal, and definitely not refugees. With no foreigners competing with Americans for jobs, there will be far greater employment opportunities for them. What Trump refuses to acknowledge is that the very thing that makes America ‘great’ is the fact that its inhabited by immigrants who’ve painstakingly helped in building the American identity (http://bit.ly/2kFknCl).
The move to cull non-Americans therefore, falls inline with Trump’s grand design to “bring jobs back to the United States”. Throughout his campaign, he emphatically stated that since American companies were investing overseas, jobs were being robbed from American nationals. It led him to threaten these companies by imposing a 35 percent tax on their products if they continued to do so. When he learned that the automobile giant Ford had plans to invest in a plan in Mexico, he vociferously threatened the company to retract. In an interview with Fox News, he said, “When that [Ford] car comes back across the border into our country that now comes in free, we’re gonna charge them a 35% tax. And you know what’s gonna happen, they’re never going to leave.” That underhanded threat prompted Ford to pull out of the plant deal it had with Mexico. The move apparently spawned 700 fresh jobs in Michigan, where the company is based.
Is Trump then the incompetent, flippant architect of a grand strategy or a Machiavellian orchestrator of political theater? If Trump successfully handpicks and throws out foreigners; if he is able to arm-wrestle companies to create homegrown American jobs; if he successfully builds walls (tangible and intangible); it might make the country more inclusive, and in all likeliness birth stronger feelings of xenophobia and jingoism among its citizens. He is dangerous and he has made that crystal clear.
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