Donald Trump’s latest spin on the immigrant’s issue ~ in the week preceding the midterm elections ~ is so repugnant indeed that it has almost immediately been trashed within the United States of America as the brainchild of a Head of State who seeks to be the President of some of the people and not all of them.
There is no mistaking that he has chosen America’s electoral moment to signal his decidedly wierd intent to end the right to American citizenship of babies born in the United States to “non-citizens”. Himself the son of an immigrant mother, he must be acutely aware that the US Constitution has recognised this birthright for over 150 years, and it is doubtful that he can simply order the change as an electoral gambit. While he will have to countenance the contretemps, Tuesday’s announcement is bound to exacerbate the immigration crisis that has festered since Election 2016.
The sensitive issue is inextricably linked to race, and President Trump seems determined to make immigration the major campaign plank for the November 6 election. Arguably, it is bound to widen the racist divide, as often as not mortal. He has already created a flutter in the roost, and it is pretty obvious that this hate-influenced strategy will dominate the discourse over the next six days. Using hate as bait, the US President is following a consistent strategy of creating crises over immigration and race to mobilise white support for Republicans in the midterm elections. Fearing that voters will elect an anti-Trump Congress on 6 November, he has made a clear choice to use hate and division to bait and provoke his opponents into a backlash which, he hopes, will energise white voters to support Republican candidates at the polls.
In point of fact, Mr Trump wants to make a show of force against what he calls a “caravan of migrants” from Central America, which he has rather mischievously described as an “invasion” and which he has falsely said contains “unknown Middle Easterners”. Not only is this claim untrue, but the caravan itself is daily shrinking in size and it is still in southern Mexico, miles and weeks away from reaching the US border at Santiago.
Nay more, Mr Trump is using his nation’s troops as partisan political props. It is profoundly unfortunate that the immigration issue may now have a bearing on birthright. The President of the USA has thus betrayed scant regard for the Constitution. He cannot unilaterally amend, far less abrogate, Article 14 which is explicit on the point that “all persons born or naturalised in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the States wherein they reside”. Any attempt by Donald Trump to buttress his birthright/citizenship agenda through unilateral action is bound to be legally challenged in the fountain-head of democracy.