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EDITORIAL: Trump’s plan can affect us


EDITORIAL: Trump’s plan can affect us

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QUESTION: should Barbadians pay attention to a divisive campaign in the United States over its future immigration policy? Answer: an emphatic yes. Reasons abound.

For one thing, almost every Barbadian family has a close relative living, working or studying in the US. For another, America has an almost unshakeable grip on the imagination of a majority of our youth, who see the North American colossus as an exciting place to jump start their dreams of upward economic and social mobility. Thirdly, their Bajan cousins, not to mention parents who in the past decade may have sent back, according to UN and the World Bank data, at least (US) $1 billion, speak frequently about the US being the “land of opportunity”. After all, people reason, if Rihanna can make it there, they too can do it.

So when Donald Trump, the billionaire Republican presidential front-runner who wants to succeed President Barack Obama in 2017, unleashed some inflammatory and bigoted immigration proposals, people everywhere sat up and took note. Many support him.

First, he accused Mexico of sending rapists and murders to the US. Next he proposed building a wall along the Mexico-US border to keep out foreigners. Then, there was the outlandish idea that 11 million undocumented immigrants in the US would be deported if he became president. Any such plan would involve Bajans and their neighbours. Now, in the wake of the ISIL-inspired attacks in Paris and the San Bernardino massacre of 14 innocent victims in California, the narcissistic presidential candidate is demanding that all Muslims be barred from the country. That would be odious and unconstitutional religious test that could also negatively affect Barbadians, Jamaicans, Guyana, Trinidadians and a host of people across the Caribbean, not simply Syrians, Iraqis and other Muslims in the Middle East.

The obvious question is, who will be next? Will they be Caribbean immigrants who have dreadlocks?

The tragedy is that while a few Republican presidential candidates and party leaders have sought to distance themselves from Trump by disagreeing with his Muslim proposal, not one has said that they wouldn’t support him if he won the nomination to their party’s standard-bearer in the next presidential election. It’s time that they stand up and draw that line.

David Cameron, Britain’s Prime Minister, has quite rightly rejected Trumps’ Muslim proposal as “divisive, unhelpful and quite simply wrong”. France’s Prime Minister, Manuel Valle, complained that “Trump, like others, stokes hatred”. In Turkey, a senior presidential adviser charged that Trump was “going racist in a country of immigrants”.

On and on go the examples of outrage. Barbadians too must lend their voices to the chorus against this shameful display of nativism and religious intolerance that if given the light of day would adversely affect them, their relatives and their country.