It is ironic that a nation founded, populated, and built by immigrants has raging xenophobia in a large segment of the population to the point that American citizens distrust, discriminate against, and hate human beings who emigrate to America for its promise of liberty, opportunity and open arms for freedom loving people. In fact, throughout American history, there has always been suspicion and discrimination against immigrants regardless of their nation of origin or race, but non-whites are targeted as interlopers based primarily on their skin color. It is no different today, and despite the fact there were no indigenous white people in America, the idea of racial minorities, especially immigrants, still strikes fear in a specific demographic that portends perpetual disunity and prevents America from progressing beyond tribal sensibilities. The election of an African American as President resurrected contempt and hatred for minorities, but Hispanics have been singled out as targets of conservatives’ rage and deep-seated, irrational hatred of “foreigners” who are “not like us” and certainly not “real Americans.”
President Obama’s announcement yesterday that his administration would no longer seek deportation of undocumented immigrants’ children was the result of the Senate’s refusal to act on passing the Dream Act that gives a path to citizenship to immigrant children who came to America through no fault of their own. Senate Republicans held up passage of the Dream Act that could not garner the new 60 vote minimum required to pass any legislation. Of course, the announcement enraged the right who accused the President of overstepping his Constitutional authority, but as noted here, President Obama did not change or make a law, grant amnesty or immunity to undocumented aliens, but no thinking human being expects anything less from Republicans. The President’s decision is, for one thing, the type of compassion that such notable conservative heroes as Ronald Reagan, Rick Perry, John McCain, and George W. Bush espoused in treating Latino immigrants with a modicum of humanity. In fact, the only president to grant amnesty to undocumented immigrants was conservative icon, and man-turned-god, Ronald Reagan.
The President’s announcement incurred the wrath of right-wing pundits and legislators alike who have used Americans’ xenophobia as a tool to pass discriminatory laws such as Arizona’s “papers please” laws and various state laws targeting undocumented Mexican immigrants. The Republican push to purge America of Hispanics has a long history that predates Obama’s Presidency, and reveals a long-held view among many that maintaining racial purity is paramount to America’s survival. Indeed, the presumptive Republican presidential candidate turned heads during the Republican primary when he proposed that undocumented immigrants self-deport to their native country and that he would veto the Dream Act. He also pledged to make life so miserable for undocumented immigrants that they would “self-deport.” Romney’s racist tendencies are rooted in his cult’s belief system that proffered dark-skinned people were cursed by god and therefore not deserving of equal rights, and his use of a Ku Klux Klan slogan, “Keep America American,” in his campaign was not coincidental and primarily aimed at Southern state voters. The slogan was also used during the 1850s by the anti-immigrant movement known as the “Know Nothing Party.”
One can hardly blame poor Willard for his racist tendencies, because “white supremacy is very inherent in the Book of Mormon. The books of Nephi and Moroni state the inherent supremacy of the white male. Women and blacks are far inferior in their view,” which after a lifetime of indoctrination must certainly inform Willard’s contempt for dark-skinned immigrants. In fact, Mormons in Utah are still discriminating against immigrants, especially if they speak out about the history of racism in LDS literature. An immigrant in Utah on a student visa from an African nation felt the wrath of Mormon judges, prosecutors, and ICE agents after openly questioning the church practices of discrimination against dark-skinned people. The immigrant, who remains in hiding, shared court documents, immigration proceedings, and University records that clearly show prejudice on the part of elected officials and ICE officers (all Mormons) that were initiated after expressing dismay at the racial policies of the church. It is important to remember that up until 1978, Mormons held the belief that dark skin was a “curse from god,” and their almighty founder, Brigham young referred to “African American slavery as a religious necessity.” After 125 years of discrimination and theories used to justify their policies impugning dark-skinned people as cursed, the LDS church has neither formally apologized nor repudiated their position. After the federal Civil Rights Act, church leaders received a corresponding, and very convenient, new revelation that dark skin was no longer a curse from their god.
There is no reasonable excuse for discrimination against any race except pure unadulterated bigotry. President Obama’s decision was not based on race, but the response from the right is inherently racist and little else. The President’s decision to not pursue deportation of undocumented immigrants’ children between the ages of 16 and 30 takes into account that children who were relocated to America by their parents had little choice in the decision and had assimilated, learned English, attended school, and for all intents and purposes, became Americans. The President’s decision is in stark contrast to Willard Romney’s proposal that Mexican immigrants “self deport,” and whether he was pandering to racists, or following ingrained church doctrine, his position is clear; dark skinned undocumented immigrants must vacate the United States. Romney’s stance on immigration, although nectar to racists and bigots, does not sit well with the increasing numbers of Mexican Americans who are part of the fabric of this country and within a generation, will be a majority of a truly diverse population.
The President’s critics claim his decision was for political expediency in an election year, but he has been a strong advocate for passing the Dream Act throughout his term. Republicans ratcheted up the pressure on Hispanics to garner support from the racial purity crowd shortly after the President took office, and the rise of the teabaggers and the 2010 midterm elections gave Republicans majorities they needed to target Mexican Americans whether they were documented citizens or not. Immigrants built this country into the once-great nation it was, and Mexican Americans had no small part in defending our freedoms throughout the nation’s history. One would think that after their sacrifices and incredibly hard work harvesting America’s crops, building roads and bridges, and toiling to build a decent life in a free society, Republicans would cherish their contributions and at the least offer a path to citizenship that Republicans once thought was just. However, if Americans have learned anything in the past three years, it is that justice and equality are not the purview of Republicans, and the defining moment was the election of the first non-white President that has inspired them to new heights of discrimination, contempt and hatred of Americans with dark skin. President Obama made the only determination available to a fair-minded, decent human being who shows compassion that Willard Romney wouldn’t know if it hit him in his wealthy, lily-white, son of a Mexican immigrant, face.