anti-immigrant xenophobia in the United States

This weekend’s Financial Times contains a very dark essay from FT columnist Simon Schama. He argues, correctly, that nativism is nothing new in the United States. What worries him is that it now dominates the office of the President.

[T]he moral stench of anti-immigrant xenophobia is nothing new in American history. What is new is that it now lodges in the White House. This is a radical departure from presidential norms, Republican as well as Democratic. …. Ronald Reagan declared his aim to secure control of American borders but not before he had given an amnesty to 3m illegal immigrants. George W Bush tried time and again to persuade his party towards a humane immigration policy and, six days after 9/11, made a point of going to the Islamic Center in Washington to denounce precisely the conflation of Islam and terrorism that now animates the incumbent.

The world is separating into two irreconcilable halves: those who want to live only alongside those who look, pray and speak like them, and those millions in the great ethnically jumbled cities who want to share the neighbourhood.

Simon Schama, “America‚Äôs immigrant dream collides with nativist nightmares“, Financial Times, 4 February 2017 (gated paywall).


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