America’s Anti-Immigrant ‘Atmosphere’

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A hostile U.S. “atmosphere” toward a wide range of immigrants, not just Muslims, has followed President Trump’s travel ban aimed at six mostly Muslim countries, reports Dennis J Bernstein.
Dennis J Bernstein

Beyond the specific language of President Trump’s revised travel ban aimed at six predominantly Muslim countries, the executive order creates a climate of hostility toward a much larger number of immigrants, says Indian historian Vijay Prashad.

Following the roll-out of Trump’s executive order, I spoke with Professor Prashad, author of more than 15 books and nine anthologies, including most recently The Death of the Nation and the Future of the Arab Revolution and Arab Spring, Libyan Winter.

Donald Trump speaking with the media at a hangar at Mesa Gateway Airport in Mesa, Arizona. Dec. 16, 2015. (Flickr Gage Skidmore)

We also spoke about allegations of Russian interference in the U.S. elections, and what a Trump presidency might mean for US-Israeli-Palestinian policies.

Dennis Bernstein: Let’s talk about some of Trump’s open salvos and let’s come in through the travel door. You’ve been doing a lot of traveling lately.

Vijay Prashad: Well, you know, the new travel ban is out and I suppose narrower in its scope than the January 27th order. But it’s nonetheless quite significant, in that he has, President Trump has, decided that six countries, not seven–he’s removed Iraq from the list–must have its citizens be under further scrutiny if they want to come to the United States. And I think what people need to understand is that the actual letter of the travel ban, of the executive order, is less important than the atmosphere that such executive orders create.

The atmosphere of this executive order, for instance, has already created a great deal of sensitivity…shall I put it like that? Sensitivity among people who work for the Customs and Border service, at the border. And we’ve had, already, dozens of stories of people who come from none of these countries, none of these six named countries, people who are in fact nationals of countries such as Canada, being not only stopped at the border, but turned away.

So, I think…

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