Liberal Americans like to think of Donald Trump as an aberration and believe that his idea of building a great wall along the U.S.-Mexico border to prevent immigrants from entering the country goes against American values. After all, as Hillary Clinton says, “We are a nation of immigrants.” In certain ways, in terms of the grim history of this country, they couldn’t be more wrong.
Donald Trump may differ from other contemporary politicians in so openly stating his antipathy to immigrants of a certain sort. (He’s actually urged the opening of the country to more European immigrants.) Democrats like Barack Obama and Bill and Hillary Clinton sound so much less hateful and so much more tolerant. But the policies Trump is advocating, including that well-publicized wall and mass deportations, are really nothing new. They are the very policies initiated by Bill Clinton in the 1990s and — from border militarization to mass deportations — enthusiastically promoted by Barack Obama. The president is, in fact, responsible for raising such deportations to levels previously unknown in American history.
And were you to take a long look back into that very history, you would find that Trump’s open appeal to white fears of a future non-white majority, and his support of immigration policies aimed at racial whitening, are really nothing new either. The policies he’s promoting are, in an eerie way, a logical continuation of centuries of policymaking that sought to create a country of white people.