Monday, June 12, 2017

On immigrants and refugees in trumpistan

Soon it will be the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere.  But then, every day has seemed long like the longest day ever since the disastrous November election.

The president campaigned on various hateful themes, including putting an end to Muslim refugees and to undocumented immigrants. Those themes, and more, won him the few votes that made all the difference in states like Pennsylvania where Hillary Clinton got 2,926,441 votes versus 2,970,733 for trump.  A difference of 44,292 votes.  Clinton's share was 47,46% of the votes cast, and trump's was 48.18%  The winner-take-all electoral votes went to trump.

How are things in trumpistan?
Immigration law is being enforced more aggressively. Out in rural Pennsylvania, in a county Donald Trump carried with 66% of the vote, this is already having a devastating effect on the economy and culture.
That is from an uber-left publication?  Nope; it is an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal!
Beautiful as it is, York Springs is the sort of place people leave after they finish high school. When I moved here in 2012, real estate was cheap and abandoned houses dotted the back roads. The town was aging and dying, though Mexican newcomers were already bringing green shoots. Over the past five years I’ve seen a steady renewal. Townspeople have fixed up many old houses and are raising families.
There has been a little tension, but York Springs in recent years has developed a vibrant, intersectional culture, insofar as that’s possible in such a sparsely populated place.
And then the elections happened.
This stringent enforcement of immigration law is destroying a rich, new rural culture. It’s likely to destroy the economy, too. The orchards generate over $500 million a year, and, one way or another, most of the jobs. But the local growers, many of whom have been operating the family orchards for generations, worry they won’t have enough manpower this fall to harvest the crop.
Sure, a lot of the white folk out here voted for Mr. Trump. Even then, many of them had reservations specifically about his immigration stance. I heard them expressed by Trump supporters in line to vote at the Latimore Township building. Now as we spiral into a local depression that is personal, cultural and economic, a lot of them are going to regret voting for him anyway.
An hour away from York Springs is Lancaster, deep in the Amish country.  This area too was won by trump.  What I didn't know until today is this, which I came across in my Twitter feed:
The ever doubting me did a quick Google search.  It is true.  Like in this news report from a couple of months ago:
Here in Lancaster County, a politically conservative area well known for its Amish community, traditional Christian values run deep. Since the Church World Service opened a Lancaster office 30 years ago, it has been a favored destination for resettling refugees because churches here easily assemble welcome teams whose members see it as a godly duty to care for those in need.
In the last fiscal year, Lancaster County resettled more than 400 refugees from all over the world, with the largest numbers coming from the Congo and Syria.
For once, I hope that the white supremacist British bastard, aka Churchill, was correct when he said that Americans will do the right thing after they exhaust all other possibilities.  After electing trump, there is nothing worse that we can do.  Here is to hoping that better days are ahead.

But, of course, hope alone won't change the world.  So, I did the next best thing that I could: I donated.


2 comments:

Ramesh said...

Going off on a tangent.

Anecdotally, sometimes people who emigrate from one culture to another, seem to be stuck in a time warp and are often more conservative than their tribesmen back home. For example the Dutch settlers invented and propagated apartheid in South Africa - yet the Dutch in the Netherlands had soon transformed into one of the most liberal of societies. Same I am told is true of the Japanese who emigrated to Brazil.

Perhaps the extent of racism that seems to exist in rural America is a throwback to this peculiar trend. While racism exists in Europe, its largely diluted. Yet it seems to be strong in rural America amongst the original European migrants.

Doesn't seem to be true of Indian and American migrants to the US. Maybe its because of the overwhelming weightage of professionals in this lot, who are mostly liberal in the first place.

Sriram Khé said...

I want to address your comment about the Indian immigrants to the US ... They increasingly seem to bring with them a huge baggage that includes: the India-Pakistan hostilities; (b) caste issues; (b) Hindutva ... which is a big reason why, for instance, there was a committed group of Indian-Americans who were/are for trump!

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