Donald Trump’s presidential campaign capitalized and succeeded off the fear of “others,” Chris Welzenbach, the author of this article defines “the other” as those who speak a different language, have a different religion, or look differently. These individuals have long been labeled as un-American, and Trump’s campaign reached out to those in fear of people they do not understand or relate to.
Welzenbach discusses World Relief, a group that assists refugees, as defined by UNHCR criteria. Funding cuts as well as new limits to the number of refugees and immigrants who will be let into the country leaves organizations like World Relief in a limbo of uncertainty and little control. World Relief specifically prioritizes their reunification program, which “seeks to keep refugee families together.” They are specifically worried about what will happen to their organization’s mission with the current political climate and activity.
This issue goes beyond political debate and discourse – “the lives of both refugees and immigrants have been jeopardized by Trump Administration policies.” People are living in fear for their lives. Welzenbach talks about how for these people, it is like being told they have a terminal illness, it is like putting a timer on someone’s life and safety. For some, the fear is even worse because of the political discourse around undocumented Latin American immigrants. For white immigrants, even if undocumented, Araceli Masterson says “no one sees them.” She points out that there is definitely a racial context to have this discussion in – as she points out, the term ‘illegal’ is “reserved exclusively for those of Latin extraction.
The most vulnerable members of our community are being targeted and made to fear everything. As Welzenbach outlines, this problem has always existed, but Trump has now given voice and a platform to those who feel this way.
Read the full article on counterpunch.org here at: The Plight of the “Other”: Immigrants and Refugees in America’s Heartland