With approximately 43.3 million immigrants currently living in the US, a significant amount of the US’s population isn’t, technically, American. The topic of immigration and immigrants has been batted around the country since before Trump began his campaign. It has only been since his election to President that the feelings towards immigrants have resulted in violence, riots and protests from both sides of the argument.
Hate crimes, based on race and religions rose immediately after Trump's election with over 1,000 crimes committed with bias being reported within a single month directly after the election closed.
When Trump announced his ban to stop immigration from seven different countries to the US, there was both uproar and elation. Trump supporters were joyous at the prospect of fewer immigrants, taking the stance, in some instances of white supremacy, and in others with the argument that immigration threatens jobs of Americans, and that it can result in terror attacks that have been prevalent over the last few years worldwide.
Protesters quoted the declaration of independence and stated that the path for a free America cannot be taken silently. The fact that the seven countries chosen are predominantly Muslim is their religions did not go unnoticed. With thousands of Muslim-Americans standing up for what they believed to be racism against their faith.
Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff, said on NBC’s Meet the Press that Customs and Border Patrol agents have the “discretionary authority” to question U.S. citizens coming from the seven countries. This is something they already had the right to do.
Trump followed up these bans with a new merit-based plan for immigrants seeking visas. This plan would cut immigration by up to 50%. The idea is that visas would be approved based on the income and proficiency of the English language held by the individual. Trump argued that this will stop immigrants from coming to the country and using the country's welfare to fund themselves.
The amount of immigrants, both with and without a US citizenship, who have sought the advice of an immigration attorney has risen. And there can be no question as to why. The recent back and forward repertoire concerning the fate of second-generation immigrants, both legal and illegal, will have set many on edge as to the fate of their own lives, and of their families.
There is concern, however, on how the cuts to immigration and the deporting of existing immigrants will affect the country's economy. Some say that these actions will put the economy in jeopardy, with unknown repercussions and a direct, negative effect on any future growth.
Seeing as America was first colonised by immigrants, it is surprising the stance that the country is taking. It is also curious to see the rise of hate crime based on religion and skin colour, in a country that has held multiple wars within itself on the same matters, and who patriotically state that America is the land of the free.