The Trump Administration’s New Birtherism

As if separating families at the border, throwing legal permanent residents out of the military, and attempting to denaturalize citizens wasn’t enough, here’s the latest xenophobic effort of the Trump administration:

Juan is one of a growing number of people whose official birth records show they were born in the United States but who are now being denied passports — their citizenship suddenly thrown into question. The Trump administration is accusing hundreds, and possibly thousands, of Hispanics along the border of using fraudulent birth certificates since they were babies, and it is undertaking a widespread crackdown…

In some cases, passport applicants with official U.S. birth certificates are being jailed in immigration detention centers and entered into deportation proceedings. In others, they are stuck in Mexico, their passports suddenly revoked when they tried to reenter the United States. As the Trump administration attempts to reduce both legal and illegal immigration, the government’s treatment of passport applicants in South Texas shows how U.S. citizens are increasingly being swept up by immigration enforcement agencies.

Frankly, I can’t read something like that without thinking about the fact that Donald Trump launched his entrance on the national political scene by questioning the citizenship of our first African American president—demanding that he show proof of his place of birth. That kind of noxious racism is now being wielded against Americans who live along our southern border.

For some of us, the Trump presidency has meant managing our mental health due to the constant barrage of outrages. But if you are brown-skinned, things have gone way beyond that. You could be jailed and deported or denied passage back into this country in a heartbeat. You could also face the prospect of an ICE workplace raid, like the one that happened in Sumner, Texas, this week. That is what it means to be brown in America in the era of Donald Trump.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly. Follow her on Twitter @Smartypants60 .