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Is Donald Trump “Terrorizing” Non-Citizens with Census Questions?

Don Rose 22 July 2019 One Comment

We have found many words, sociological and psychological, diagnosing Donald Trump through the years: egomaniac, authoritarian, narcissist, sociopath, pathological liar, racist, xenophobe and even neo-fascist. Strong cases have been made for each–or for all collectively.



Now, however, based on his recent actions around immigration issues, from separating children and caging them in hellish conditions to lying about the reason to add a citizenship question to the decennial census to his threatened but fizzling “raids” on thousands of “illegals” in big cities, we can add another:




Yes, we usually associate terrorism with the violence of bombings, mass shootings etc–but those old white guys Merriam and Webster give us a simpler, all-encompassing definition: “The systematic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion.”


They go on to define terror as “A state of intense fear. ”


That’s exactly what Trump is attempting to do: Create a state of intense fear among migrants and thousands of people already here, with or without documentation.


By tearing children from their parents’ arms, cramming hundreds of adults into fecal holding pens and letting children sicken and die he is sending a terrorist message to potential migrants and asylum seekers: stay away.


Inflicting this form of violence on migrants is itself an act of propaganda. Every expose and photographic record of the way they are treated– important as they are in exposing this inhumanity–serves that underlying purpose.


Right here in the heart of the USA, he has worked feverishly to put a citizenship question on the census, knowing full well that noncitizens–especially Latinx–will avoid filling out  a census form for fear of being deported. This will reduce the true headcount of people living here–primarily in Democratic communities–thereby reducing the number of their congressional seats as well as funding going to those areas.


Even after the Supreme Court blocked including the question, he blustered for weeks on end about getting it back on.


The purpose of the continued bluster, of course, was to keep the issue alive, especially in the minds of undocumented persons, who will grow increasingly fearful of the census even if it doesn’t have that question.


By instilling terror he may already have reduced potential participation in the census..



Then came weeks of  threatening a nationally coordinated raid by ICE agents aimed at capturing and deporting tens of thousands of theoretically criminal undocumented residents. A starting date was announced…then postponed…then announced again as of a couple of weeks ago.


Fear was struck. Neighbors mobilized to help by passing out leaflets explaining migrants rights–and shelter was offered. Official Chicago and other cities refused to cooperate with ICE. Then, nothing.



Were many–or any–arrests and deportations made from any of the target cities? Thus far the word is no. Not that it cannot suddenly happen. But Trump intentionally caused terror as a means of coercion.  That’s state-sponsored terrorism.



Now, with the horrendous tweet telling four congresswomen of color to go back where they came from, and calling their dissents “communism” and “disloyalty,” is he not reconstituting Joe McCarthy’s red-scare reign of terror?

One Comment »

  • Pot Calls the Kettle Black said:

    No complaints when Obama opened the same detention centers and used the same methods of detaining adults and minors.

    What a difference a change in an administration makes in terms of criticisms of an executive.

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