Undocumented Immigration, Distorted by the Ultra-Right, Threatens Joe Biden’s Reelection*

The crisis at the forefront of national anxiety is undeniably the product of populist propaganda, putting Democrats on the defensive.

Undocumented immigration has shot to the top of voters’ concerns for the first time this decade. This is bad news for Joe Biden.

There is no common national experience with the arrival of immigrants. It varies among states — often by their proximity to the border with Mexico — and between cities. It is different in rural and urban areas, with the added factor of differing economic activities dependent on immigrant labor.

It is also a fact that the figures about the fear of out-of-control immigration don’t reflect the reality of personal exposure to violence or the deterioration of quality of life caused by the presence of undocumented foreigners. Until about six years ago, I had never witnessed Latina mothers with babies in arms selling candy on street corners. It can’t be a coincidence, since I moved from a relatively wealthy area of Manhattan to a neighborhood with the largest concentration of Dominicans in the country during that time. And the experience did not cause me one single incident involving immigrants, even during the modest rise in crime in the city during the pandemic.

However, anyone interviewing voters at Donald Trump’s rallies in rural and white states will detect a panic about the supposed invasion of non-whites expressed by people who wouldn’t know how to point to Venezuela on the map.

The Hampton mansions of billionaires on the East Coast of New York, scenes of parties for Republican campaigns, would have overgrown bushes, dirty clothes accumulating, dirty bathrooms and dog mess spread across their backyards if it were not for the silent army of undocumented Ecuadorians and Guatemalans poured out daily by buses in the region.

Trump did not invent economic resentment or anti-immigrant racism; he has just broken the taboos of decency since he descended the escalator of his skyscraper in 2015, saying that Mexicans had exported rapists to the U.S. During the 1990s a good part of anti-immigrant bile came from the class of white workers made jobless by globalization, frequently Democratic voters.

Since Biden’s election, the alliance between the ultra-right and the press, reduced to Trumpist electioneering, has promoted the lie that foreigners are responsible for the wave of nonexistent urban crime in the country. It doesn’t matter that the FBI again recorded a fall in violent national crimes; it’s enough to have one Mexican commit a robbery or homicide, and the news is amplified as a sign of an epidemic caused by the porous Southern border. This is then eagerly consumed by the inhabitants of the bubble exemplified by Fox News or by the The New York Post tabloid, both owned by global public enemy Rupert Murdoch.

Biden would shoot himself in the foot politically if he were to speak the truth to voters: The unparalleled American post-pandemic economic recovery was propelled by foreign labor. Immigration as the crisis at the forefront of national anxiety is the inevitable product of populist propaganda, which puts Democrats and the media on the defensive.

Is it reasonable to argue that Trump’s announced plans to destroy protections for democracy constitute a greater urgency than the increase of arrivals across the Rio Grande? One person who disagrees stated that immigration, inflation (3.5% per year) and the economy (booming) are more important topics for new coverage, because of the polls. This is Joe Kahn, editor in-in-chief of the most influential English language newspaper, The New York Times.

About this publication

About Jane Dorwart 202 Articles
BA Anthroplogy. BS Musical Composition, Diploma in Computor Programming. and Portuguese Translator.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply