Trump Won’t Stop Trying to Keep America White

Dana Milbank, Washington Post, February 13, 2018

The efforts by President Trump to keep America white are getting increasingly dark.

Make no mistake: What’s happening on Capitol Hill this week, at Trump’s behest, is nothing other than an attempt by Republicans to slow the inexorable march toward that point at midcentury when the United States becomes a majority-minority nation.

In the long run, they are merely putting a finger in the dike. But in the short term, the Trump-backed immigration proposal, combined with other recent moves by the administration and its allies—support for voter suppression, gerrymandering and various other schemes to disenfranchise minority voters—could extend the white hegemony that brought Trump to power and sustains Republicans.

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{snip} In the immigration fight on the Hill, there is broad bipartisan consensus to legalize the “dreamers”—illegal immigrants brought here as children—and to fortify border security. The dispute is really about the Trump proposal to rein in legal immigration by undoing the family-based approach, in which immigrants petition to bring over immediate family, that has always been at the heart of U.S. immigration.

Though details aren’t yet known, estimates are that the legislation would cut legal immigration, currently 1.1 million per year, by 300,000 to 500,000 annually. A previous version of the “chain migration” proposal by Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.) would have cut legal immigration by half a million a year, by their own account.

Essentially, Trump and the Republicans are threatening to make nearly 700,000 dreamers subject to deportation unless Democrats agree to close the door to tens of millions of future legal immigrants.

This won’t stop the loss of a white majority; the youthful Hispanic population already here, with its higher fertility rate, makes that inevitable. “It’s almost impossible to become whiter as a country,” the Brookings Institution demographer William H. Frey tells me. {snip}

But the GOP might delay by a few years the point at which the United States becomes majority-minority, now expected in 2044. Minorities vote at lower rates than whites (52.7 percent in 2016 vs. 65.3 percent for whites), so, if Republicans can sustain that disparity, the white voting majority that the party relies on could last several years beyond 2044.

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The administration has given tacit support to other voter-suppression efforts in the states, in the form of voter ID laws and restrictions on early voting. {snip}

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Trump’s voter-fraud commission, based on the fallacy that millions of illegal immigrants voted in 2016, has collapsed, but not before an ugly attempt at stigmatizing Latinos. As The Post’s Spencer S. Hsu and John Wagner reported, documents show that a commission representative asked for Texas voter records and requested a “Hispanic surname flag notation.”

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