Rise of racism in US politics | Daily News


 

Rise of racism in US politics

US President Donald Trump and the four congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.
US President Donald Trump and the four congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.

President Donald Trump has brought racism deep into to politics in the United States with his call for four Democratic members of the House of Representatives, who are non-white; to go back to the countries they came from.

As divisions in the public increased over the rise of racism, the House of Representatives passed a resolution that condemned Trumps continued attacks on the four congresswomen, considered: “racist comments that have legitimized fear and hatred of New Americans and people of colour”.

The resolution condemning President Trump's racist comments directed at Members of Congress, said Immigration “has defined every stage of American history”, and that “all Americans, except for the descendants of Native people and enslaved African-Americans, are immigrants or descendants of immigrants”. It also noted that patriotism is not defined by race or ethnicity, “but by devotion to the Constitutional ideals of equality, liberty, inclusion and democracy”.

It was a highly polarized debate in the Democratic-controlled chamber, and passed with 240 votes to 187, showing the sharp division in the pro and anti-Trump political alignments.

The four Democratic Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib, who had criticized the treatment of immigrants and children in the migrant detention centres they are held in, have been described by Trump as anti-American. In a tweet he said they “originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe” and should “go back”.

President Trump had been accused of racism and xenophobia for telling the members of congress to leave the country. He says he is not racist, and ‘I don’t have a racist bone in my body’, and continues to carry on such attacks in public rallies too, where his supporters have begun calling for the congresswomen to be ‘Sent Back’.

Three of the congresswomen have been born in the US, while the fourth, Ilhan Omar, came as a refugee child from Somalia, and obtained US citizenship. All of them are elected to the House of Representatives as US citizens. The racism raised by Trump’s comments is now becoming part of the campaigning in presidential polls for 2020, when Trump will seek re-election as president, with increasing concerns about it dividing US society on racist lines as not seen so deep in several decades. While the wider public in the pro-Trump states that gave him a majority in the 2016 Presidential election, are strongly supportive of this racist move by Trump who now leads the Republican Party; the public in the pro-Democratic states see this trend as a dangerous division of the voters leading to the 2020 Presidential poll. Racism has been an underlying reality in the US through its history, but was considerably subdued in recent decades, that also saw the first black American, Barack Obama, elected president for two terms, before Donald Trump. Trump is clearly seeing the political advantages in racism, in keeping with his policies and actions against Muslims, and the opposition to migrants from South American countries.

The situation emerging from the rise in racism was summed up by CNN journalist and TV presenter Chris Cuomo stating: “Trump says he wants to ‘make America great again’. But what he means is ‘make America hate again’”

Trump vs. Immigrants

In another issue of political rivalry in the US, the Trump administration is moving to a legal confrontation with Mexico and other Central American countries, following this week’s move to dramatically limit the ability of Central American migrants to claim asylum if they enter the US by land through Mexico. It is the latest attempt by the White House to limit immigration and toughen the US asylum process amid, much criticized overcrowded conditions at US border facilities. This rule would prohibit migrants who have resided or “transited en route” in a third country from seeking asylum in the US, barring migrants travelling through Mexico from being able to claim asylum and as a result, drastically limit who's eligible for asylum in US. The majority of migrants are from the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. They've had to travel through Mexico to reach the border and upon arriving in the US; many turn themselves into the US Border Patrol and claim asylum. The rule would take effect immediately but is certain to face legal challenges. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which has filed challenges against other Trump administration policies, plans to “sue swiftly.”

“The Trump administration is trying to unilaterally reverse our country's legal and moral commitment to protect those fleeing danger. This new rule is patently unlawful and we will sue swiftly,” said the Immigrants’ Rights Project of the ACLU. Under US law, migrants are allowed to claim asylum once on US soil. There's a caveat, however, for those who come through safe third countries, meaning countries that the US has entered into an agreement with. The United Nations’ refugee agency defines “safe country,” in part, as “being countries in which refugees can enjoy asylum without any danger.”

However, President Trump has often referred to Mexico ‘one of the most dangerous countries in the world’ and claimed the murder rate in the country has increased. A recent Trump tweet said “The Coyotes and Drug Cartels are in total control of the Mexico side of the Southern Border. They have labs nearby where they make drugs to sell into the U.S. Mexico, one of the most dangerous countries in the world, must eradicate this problem now. Also, stop the MARCH to U.S.”, and could raise questions about it being a ‘safe country’.

The Mexican government has rejected the new US asylum measures. Mexico's Foreign Ministry stating the measure by the US was “taken unilaterally,” and “won't affect Mexican citizens”, adding that, Mexico will “remain alert to the implications that this US decision could entail to those seeking asylum from other countries that enter through its southern border. In this sense, special attention will be paid to respect the principles recognized by the current International Law.”

EU - Woman President

The European Parliament confirmed Ursula von der Leyen as EU Commission president in a secret ballot on Tuesday. She succeeds Jean-Claude Juncker to become the first woman to head the commission, which oversees policies for 500 million Europeans. She has announced her commitment to building a United States of Europe. In a narrow success, Von der Leyen received 383 of 747 votes, surpassing the 374 needed to secure the presidency, by just 9 votes.

Von der Leyen, 60, was born in Brussels as one of eight children to Ernst Albrecht, one of Europe’s first civil servants. When she was 13, the family moved to Germany, where von der Leyen went on to study economics at the University of Gottingen. She later trained as a doctor and went on to work in a women’s clinic in Hanover and got involved in local politics. In the early 2000s she joined Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU) party. When Merkel took office in 2005, she joined the federal Cabinet as a family affairs minister, and between 2009 and 2013 worked as a labour and social affairs minister. Von der Leyen is the only minister to have served continuously in Merkel’s government and was long seen as the likely successor to the chancellor. In 2013, von der Leyen was appointed Germany’s first female defence minister, but problems involving failing army equipment and shortcomings within military training quickly saw her popularity plummet.

Internationally, von der Leyen – who speaks fluent French and English – has built up a strong profile advocating greater EU integration, pushing for what she calls the “United States of Europe”. French President Macon has repeatedly praised her for having “the DNA of the European community” and lauded her for her cooperation on Franco-German defence issues.

Before her election she wrote to European lawmakers pledging to back a guaranteed EU minimum wage as well as an unemployment benefit scheme. She also said she would advocate more flexibility in the interpretation of EU budget rules. In addition, she said she would seek a cut in EU carbon emissions of up to 55 percent by 2030 and promised an overhaul of the bloc’s migration and foreign policies.

Sudan Accord

Sudan’s ruling military council and an opposition alliance signed a political accord on Wednesday as part of a power-sharing deal aimed at leading the country to democracy. The deal is meant to pave the way to a political transition in Sudan after military leaders ousted former President Omar al-Bashir in April, following weeks of protests against him. He was in power for three decades, leading to major political and economic crises in the country, with much corruption and attacks on opposition forces and protesters.

Sudan is the largest country in Africa and has a population of almost 28 million. About 60 per cent are Muslim, a quarter are animist and 15 per cent Christian. The population is made up of more than 300 tribes, mostly Arab in the north and African in the south. Once the largest and one of the most geographically diverse states in Africa, Sudan split into two countries in July 2011 after the people of the south voted for independence. The government of Sudan agreed to an independent South Sudan, where the mainly Christian and Animist people had for decades been struggling against rule by the Arab Muslim north.

Sudan has long been beset by conflict. Two rounds of north-south civil war cost the lives of 1.5 million people, and a continuing conflict in the western region of Darfur has driven two million people from their homes and killed more than 200,000.

 


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