A VISITING American scholar has sharply criticised Donald Trump's policies on US/Mexican border control.
Dr Melissa Hidalgo, who was delivering a lecture at UCC yesterday, said president Trump's policies and his plans to build a wall to stop undocumented immigrants are the result of historically rooted racism.
“I had a visceral reaction the day he was elected. I felt it in my body there was something wrong. That was because anti-Mexican racism, in particular in the US around the border, has a deep-rooted history.
“The fact that a person was able to run his campaign on this premise of building a wall and get elected, really speaks to the deep-seated hatred towards Mexicans.” Dr Hidalgo said the American perception of Mexican immigrants is incorrect and largely based on stereotypical beliefs and added undocumented immigrants actually benefit US businesses.
“There's a perception and stereotype of the criminal Mexican, the criminal other. In the States the idea that non-white bodies are criminalised is part of this narrative of 'we have to stop immigration because they are coming to commit crime' and that's not the case,” she said.
“The people that are coming are not doing so to commit crime, they are coming because they are poor and, quite frankly, the US corporations benefit from not having to pay a proper wage to people that don't have papers.” “They pick vegetables, they are farm workers, they work in meat processing plants. They do dangerous jobs. They do this work, not because it's what they want to with their lives but because things are so desperate on the other end, they don't know what else to do.
“There are some people that laugh at him and say 'well you're not going to be able to do it anyway, because it's ridiculous expense', but it's the message that it is sending. It says 'we don't want you, enough of you are here, you are draining our resources and you're nothing but a bunch of criminals'.” Dr Hidalgo added that president Trump's border polices are now also being mirrored in the travel ban of seven predominantly Muslim countries by his regime.
“They are demonising the whole country without understanding the larger implications of policies.