A reader of this blog kindly forwarded me a New York Times article that purports to give the inside scoop on Trump’s views on immigration. Since the NYT admits to a bias in favor of high (unlimited?) levels of immigration, one must take the article with a grain of salt, but I assume that much of it is true. I do wish to comment on this passage, though:
Those who know Mr. Trump say that his attitude toward immigrants long predates his entry into politics.
“He’s always been fearful where other cultures are concerned and always had anxiety about food and safety when he travels,” said Michael D’Antonio, who interviewed him for the biography “The Truth About Trump.” “His objectification and demonization of people who are different has festered for decades.”
Friends say Mr. Trump, a developer turned reality TV star, grew to see immigration as a zero-sum issue: What is good for immigrants is bad for America. In 2014, well before becoming a candidate, he tweeted: “Our government now imports illegal immigrants and deadly diseases. Our leaders are inept.”
The claim of “objectification and demonization” is an editorial comment, so let’s put that aside. Instead, I wish to make the point that one thing about Trump, whether a fault or a virtue depending on one’s point of view, is that he seems to have little or no willingness to keep any of his thoughts to himself. This must be kept in mind when the people in the article say things like the above. I am quite sensitive to this kind of thing, and have observed exactly the same, if less direct and overt, attitude in virtually everyone I know, especially in academia. It is natural, and the fact that Trump would voice it while others don’t does not mean the others don’t have such feelings.
And though “familiarity breeds contempt” in some cases, as a longtime student of race relations I have found that familiarity can also be part of the solution. Even this unsympathetic article seems to give Trump credit for developing genuine concern for the DACA kids and young adults after meeting some of them, and some of the Latino leaders seem to agree. If they and their allies in Congress would just concede that even Barack Obama expressed doubts about the legality of his (Obama’s) executive order, we might actually have a real dialog on DACA.
But the Times wouldn’t like that, would they?