The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

'A voice for the voiceless'
Kiley O’Brien ’25, Assistant Features Editor • July 18, 2024
Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim '25 M.A., Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

Zero tolerance, one hundred percent hate


Trump’s policies perpetuate discrimination

Immigration reform seems like an abstract concept or a buzzword topic thrown around during election cycles; but for many people in this country, these two words spark feelings of uneasiness, frustration, or even fear.

Since his election, President Donald Trump has done some egregious acts towards immigrant populations, including people of Latino heritage. With over 80,000 deportations, the building of an 18 billion dollar border wall, and the despicable separation of families and detainment of Latin American immigrant children, Trump has set the tone for his zero-tolerance immigration policy.

The issue with a zero-tolerance policy is that when you have zero-tolerance policy placed on people, you overlook their humanity. Treating immigration as something that is abstract or a platform to rest political campaigns on is dangerous because we as a country forget that these issues and policies being reformed affect actual people and families.

Now this zero-tolerance policy has evolved from a political issue to a social one as more and more people feel less accepted in their own country, the United States.

Part of the reason Latin American immigrants feel less accepted by the United States is because American media outlets frequently portray Latin American immigrants in a “criminal” light. The Washington Post conducted research on three prominent news magazines -Time, Newsweek and US News and World Report- to see how these publications present immigrants in their stories. The research concluded that these magazines perpetuate a narrative of a “Latino threat” and portray Latin American immigrants as criminals.

These types of media sources are not only allowing this type of discrimination to exist, but they are also perpetuating this negative stigma about a group of people. It is no wonder Latin American immigrants, but also the Latino population in general are feeling less at home in America.

Attitudes toward Latin American immigrants, and Latinos in general, have become increasingly negative since Trump’s election in 2016. According to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, Latinos make up about 81 percent of the undocumented immigrants in the United States and one out of every two Latinos in the United States says that life has become more difficult for them in the past year.

This statistic is surprising and saddening since, as Mark Lopez the director of global migration and demography research at the Pew Research Center said in an interview with NPR, Latinos are generally more optimistic than the rest of the U.S. population. Pew also found that nearly four out of 10 Latinos have experienced some kind of harassment because of their ethnicity in the past year.

This harassment came in the form of being asked to not speak Spanish in public, demands to go back to their own country, or even threats to call the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). These survey results are heartbreaking. Our country is a country of immigrants, but there is a prevailing discriminating concept of “right” and “wrong” immigrants.

This “us” versus “them” mentality has provided a new platform for hate and discrimination. However, this platform has lies and misconceptions as its infrastructure. Corrupt news outlets and  uneducated political leaders feed the American people falsities and overt lies about immigrants and immigration policies. Here are common lies and misconceptions that foster negative attitudes towards Latin American immigrants and Latino people:

Lie: Immigrants steal American jobs.

Truth: According to the Urban Institute, there is little connection between immigrant jobs and native-born employment rates. In fact, immigrants and native-borns rarely compete for the same type of jobs.

Lie: Immigrants contribute to the high crime rate.

Truth: According to a 2015 report from the American Immigration Council, immigrants are less likely to be incarcerated than native-born citizens.

Lie: Undocumented immigrants don’t pay taxes and burden the U.S. economy.

Truth: A 2017 report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy showed that undocumented immigrants pay an estimated 11.74 billion dollars in state and local taxes a year. In addition, The U.S. Social Security Administration estimated that, in 2010, undocumented immigrants and their employers paid 13 billion dollars in payroll taxes alone for benefits they will never get.

These lies have contributed to American ignorance about issues happening within their own borders. One lie in particular that has sparked the naïvety, negative attitudes and crackdown on immigration policy is this: it is too easy to enter this country illegally.

Unlike some politicians who are writing immigration policies, I have actually been to the U.S.-Mexican Border and I have spent time with immigrant families. I have listened to the desperate stories of arrival and survival in this country. I have heard the fear in these people’s voices when they spoke of their encounters with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and hateful Americans. I have seen the conditions they suffer through to live in this country.

These people exist in a state of instability and insecurity for fear that each day could be their last day with their families in this country. Immigration cannot be viewed in the abstract. Immigration can no longer be viewed as something outside of humanity. Immigration has a heartbeat.

To the Latin American Immigrant and Latino populations at St. Joe’s, we see you, we love you, and we accept you.

View Comments (1)
Donate to The Hawk News

Your donation will support the student journalists of St. Joseph's University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Hawk News

Comments (1)

All The Hawk News Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • G

    GringoSep 21, 2019 at 10:47 am

    I dont hate immigrants..I do hate white liberals who use race as a weapon..who in turn use immigrants to a weapon against the white working and middle classes…white liberals are the biggest racists of all