By Arturo Castañares / Publisher and CEO
For all his tough talk on immigration, Donald Trump’s family has consistently benefited from the very programs he now opposes, including his current wife’s parents.
As most people know, two of Trump’s three wives are foreign-born women; one from Czechoslovakia, and the other from Slovenia, a former part of Yugoslavia.
Both women became United States citizens only after marrying the future president. Four of Trump’s five children have foreign-born mothers, and even Trump’s own mother was an immigrant from Scotland and became a U.S. citizen after marrying Trump’s father, himself a first generation American.
Yet, on the campaign trail and during his entire time in office, Trump has consistently railed against immigration policies that allow people to come to America in search of the same opportunities his own relatives sought.
One of the policies Trump opposes the most is what is known as family-based unification, a long-standing process where legal immigrants can petition to have their parents, children, and siblings also obtain legal status, and eventually, all become U.S. citizens.
Trump calls it “chain migration,” and claims too many immigrants misuse the program to bring their extended families into the country. He has called the policy horrible and harmful to our economic and national security, and has proposed that the policy be limited to only allow spouses and minor children to be eligible for legal migration.
But, in another irony of the many ironies of the Trump presidency, it appears that Melania Trump’s parents have come to the U.S. under the very same chain migration program after she gained legal status as the wife the bombastic billionaire.
Melania Trump’s parents, both born in Slovenia, came to the U.S. at least 11 years ago. They both now have permanent green cards and are expected to become U.S. citizens sometime this year. They have lived with the Trumps in the past, and are now frequent guests at the White House.
In Trump’s world, the rules that worked for him and his family now seem to be the scourge of the earth.
Trump’s companies outsourced manufacturing of their clothing lines to other countries, but now he’s against foreign imports and trade deals.
Trump used hundreds of millions of dollars in tax losses and loopholes to avoid paying taxes, but now he’s for eliminating those very same tactics for others.
And his family, from his German grandfather and Scottish mom, to his two immigrant wives and foreign born in-laws used the current system to become U.S. citizens, but now he claims the process is dangerous for the future of our country.
It’s been hard to explain Trump’s flip-flops on issues that he was for before he was against, but on immigration, it’s become easier to understand. From guns to abortion to taxes and even his support for Hillary Clinton, Trump has reversed himself on so many issues that no one is sure which positions were real and which are for just for show.
But Trump’s bias against people of color is just too blatant to ignore and to excuse.
Time and time again, Trump’s impulse to denigrate and demean people based solely on their race or ethnicity has shown his true bias toward others that don’t look like him and his family.
He launched his campaign by calling Mexicans rapists and drug dealers. His first executive order was a travel ban that targeted only people from Muslim countries. One of his oldest political dirty tricks was to question Barack Obama’s birthplace and say he wasn’t one of us.
And who can forget when he complained that we should have more immigrants from Norway and fewer from “shithole” countries in Africa.
On the other hand, Trump refused to condemn Neo-Nazis and white nationalists when they marched with torched and chanted hate messages against Jewish people last year, and he called Black football players that peacefully protested against racism “sons of bitches.”
Now, when discussing immigration, Trump again uses inflammatory language aimed at inciting mistrust and fear among his voter base against immigrants that primaries come from counties of color. This must stop.
Too many good people have stayed quiet for too long. Trump’s thinly veiled racism is clear and is damaging to the future of our country.
It’s true that the U.S. was founded, as a country, by immigrants from nations more closely associated with Trump’s relatives.
But, we must remember, that when those people landed on what is now America, they were greeted as immigrants by people with brown skin that has been here for thousands of years.
We are all immigrants from somewhere at some time. Whether we or our relatives came here last year or hundred of years ago, we are all part of a grand history of migration and immigration.
We cannot now turn away immigrants that are following our footsteps and seeking a better life here too. We should welcome them, and allow them the their chance to achieve the American dream.
Even Donald Trump’s in-laws deserve the same opportunity.