We have dizzily entered into the electoral year that, without exaggeration and in all ways possible, will mark the new history of the United States. Not only because 2020 will define whether today’s president will extend his almost autocratic reign another four years by utilizing high-intensity anti-immigrant rhetoric, but also because his pro-immigrant counterpart will do everything possible to win since he is impugning the democratic character of a republic that has run this country for more than 200 years.
On top of this, the scenario that has been forming since the beginning of the third decade of the 21st Century has the elements necessary to suggest that international stability is at risk and, with it, the intensification of human displacement across the globe.
Inaugurated with the execution of the Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, unilaterally ordered by the United States leader, and followed by the shadow of the political trial against him, it is already anticipated that in 2020 there will be no space for relaxation.
For example, the first half of this month has barely expired and we already have the context for the future presidential elections; in addition to the latent conflict with Iran, we have various issues such as the administration’s intention to divert $7.2 billion from the Pentagon in order to construct the border wall, this official obsession used as an obvious electoral strategy, and which curiously is not being paid by México, as was the supposed initial intention, but actually by the U.S. military and taxpayers.
On the other hand, we have seen a smaller Democratic debate, with little shine and evident examples of discord, like that starring Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders at the end of the recent debate, when what can be inadvertently heard over a live microphone captured more attention than what both of them said during the forum. It was a brief but angry tidbit of reclamations in which Senator Warren, refusing to shake Sanders’ hand, accused the elder legislator of having called her a “liar” publicly, a situation that does not at all please those who are calling for unity as a strategy to contrast with the profound divisiveness in which this country has fallen during the last three years.
As if that were not enough, a new and fortified caravan of Central American migrants is advancing despite everything against them, and knowing that around 70% of those who are able to arrive at the U.S. border and solicit asylum return to their countries of origin empty-handed after an experience that does at all match what they expected. However, there are not many options, and for those thousands of human beings it is better to risk the journey than remain where all has already been lost, including hope.
We also have the new revelations over the supremacist ideology of one of the main White House advisors, Stephen Miller, who is constantly trying to harm undocumented immigrants of color and people from poor and conflict-riddled nations. This concerns, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), an analysis of some 900 emails with racist content sent by Miller to the news site Breitbart between 2015 and 2016, apparently with links to various white supremacist portals.
Not lacking, of course, are legal challenges on the topic of refuge, some reversing executive orders that seemed untouchable, others reinforcing the president’s decisions; and in the middle of all that, new reports of the terrible conditions inside immigration detention centers. There is the case of the severe gastrointestinal illnesses that detainees have suffered after consuming food provided by immigration authorities in Arizona, according to local medical specialists.
That is, there is an avalanche of events that on the whole, in such a short time, have become a recognizable face for this year of latent tensions and which oblige, at least immigrants, to be on permanent alert, not only by being informed, but in understanding the next step to take depending upon the results of any of the issues in question. Among those stands out, of course, the outcome of the next step in the political trial of the president accused of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, as well as, if the leader overcomes these proceedings, the result of the presidential elections in November, which these days the whole world is watching closely.
Ultimately, if anyone has abused the term “historical watershed” to describe minor events, now is the moment to apply it in the most appropriate way, knowing that racism and xenophobia will hardly lose hegemony throughout the electoral process.
David Torres is a Spanish-language Advisor at America’s Voice.
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