Should Democrats Stop Negotiating With a Racist President?

Racism is a lie that is often spread via ignorance. So it is no surprise that a president who lies compulsively and is dangerously ignorant would also be a racist. When it comes to immigration, here are some of the things he’s said:

  • Immigrants from Haiti and Africa come from shithole countries.
  • Nigerians who come to the U.S. would never “go back to their huts” in Africa.
  • On the visa lottery system: “They give us their worst people.”

Just to be clear, that is a lie:

Governments are not deciding who to send. People are deciding to leave, often at great risk, out of personal motivation. Those who come are the ones “who had a special love for freedom and a special courage that enabled them to leave their own land, leave their friends and their countrymen, and come to this new and strange land to build a New World of peace and freedom and hope,” as Ronald Reagan once put it.

Those are just some of the things this president has said that are either lies or things he believes out of ignorance. He has also regularly said that immigrants: pose a national security threat, are criminals, take jobs away from American citizens and cost taxpayers money because they depend on welfare. None of those things is true of immigrants as a group (while they might be true of individuals, that is why we have a rather rigorous vetting process).

I say all of that to demonstrate that, when it comes to immigration, this president’s policies are based on racism. That won’t surprise a lot of you, but it is important to state plainly in these days when the real “political correctness” is to frame discussions like this in euphemisms.

Based on that, as well as the fact that Stephen Miller is working behind the scenes to sabotage the negotiations on DACA, I have to wonder whether it is time for the Democrats to pull the plug on attempting to work with this racist administration on immigration.

Yesterday Senate Democrats presented the president with a compromise they had negotiated with their Republican counterparts. Not only did Trump reject it, he made his “shithole” comment and took a “victory lap” on the phone with some of his allies. He then went on a Twitter rant this morning blaming Democrats for a looming government shutdown if a deal is not reached.

To the extent that the federal court ruling this week protects Dreamers while the issue about Obama’s executive order winds its way through the courts, it might be time to allow congressional Republicans the space to deal with the government shutdown Trump has been angling for since last May. After all, they’re the ones that have more to lose than the president, since he’s not on the ballot this November.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.