Photo: Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters/The Washington Post
Refugees and migrants were teargassed at the U.S.-Mexico border between Tijuana and San Diego.

Trump’s Quixotic Quest for a White Nationalist America


To no one’s surprise, our Commander-in-Chief decided to circumvent Congress by declaring a national emergency to construct his border wall. The declaration releases up to $21 billion from the Homeland Security and Defense departments and from other sources. Trump currently plans on using at least $5 billion to build his “great, great wall” — one thirty feet tall, 1,000 miles long, and that he promised  Mexico would fund. Although what he will actually be able to build while in office remains to be seen.

The border wall has evolved into the symbol of the Trump presidency – an embarrassingly ineffective debacle that is impossible to ignore.

To build the wall, Trump will need to navigate through a maze of property owners, Native American tribes, land management laws, water rights issues, court challenges, and natural geographic barriers. Previous wall projects did not reduce overall immigration. Rather, they incentivized visa overstays as migrants chose to enter at legal points of entry but were afraid to return home because of toughening laws and increased numbers of border agents.

White Nationalists falsely believe that this wall will protect them from the inevitable browning of America — from “s—– countries” and Mexican “rapists” and “killers” who they believe will decimate their “American” culture. The definition of an “American” under the current administration has become lighter-skinned, is exclusively English-speaking (or willingly illiterate), a forgiver of white supremacy and sexual assault, evangelical, older, and definitely not an immigrant.

There is no room for my family, or yours, in a white nationalist America.

When Trump and his sycophants rant about the dangers of “illegals,” “monsters,” “terrorists,” and people with “disease” at the border, they echo the dehumanization of human beings from the darkest days of the 20th century.



Americans already know what a white nationalist world looks like.

It looks like mass deportation, detention camps full of innocent people of a targeted culture, incremental actions to revoke citizenship, racial profiling and incarcerating immigrants under pretense. Trump nationalists look away or actively defend acts of violence, abuse, and terror against immigrants, including children in “tender age” camps that house babies and children under age five.

The first steps towards the ethnic cleansing of our nation have begun. Incremental changes to immigration law under this administration have led to thousands of children kidnapped from parents seeking asylum, the deaths of at least two children, the abuse of thousands of others, sexual abuse against detained women and teens, “collateral arrests” of innocent immigrants and citizens alike and the looming threat of stripping passports and citizenship from people of Latino/Hispanic origin. In some parts of the United States, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can arrest you as you walk down the street if you “look” undocumented.

Living in Fear

Maybe when you see a police officer, you turn down your salsa music and slow down your car, just in case. You debate over checking “W” or “H” for your kids — especially your boys — when they go to school or the doctor. If you are light-skinned like me, it means that you get to hear the racist rantings of angry white Americans who hate that “black and brown” kids go to the same school as their kids — because I’m not dark brown like my Dominican family, they mistakenly think that I must agree with them. Conversely, it also means getting weird angry looks and being harassed because I look too “ethnic.”

As a light-skinned Latina, I can choose to “out” myself as Latina. The choice is subconscious – especially when I am going to an interview, business meeting, or am around new people. “These earrings, not the hoops,” I say to myself, or “nothing too flashy or colorful,” “maybe not that necklace,” or “don’t call your baby boy papito in public.” My heart physically aches when I witness Latinos being treated like indentured servants and criminals just for being brown and speaking Spanish.

In Trump’s America, I live as a shadow of myself to protect my family.

The reality is much, much harsher for immigrants and people of color. In many immigrant communities, parents aren’t sending their kids to school anymore because of ICE. ICE has been known for chasing down ambulances and camping out at churches to make arrests in violation of sanctuary protections. Communities that have been raided violently by ICE become ghost towns. ICE arrests 400 people each day, and most of these arrests are illegal. People are too afraid to go outside. Talented students stay home from college to avoid exposing their parents’ immigrant status.


Meanwhile, our bloated immigration system takes years and years to process a backlog of applications.

We don’t need a wall. We need immigration reform.

We don’t need family internment camps. We need aid workers.

We don’t need abuse. We need compassion.

We don’t need fear. We need change.


We can’t depend on the current administration or Congress to pass the sweeping reforms that American families desperately need.

Trump’s border wall symbolizes the failure of our immigration policies.

We need a Brand New Congress that will stand up for the rights of

every human being and push for true immigration reform in 2020.


Brand New Congress will fix our broken immigration system, protect deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) and temporary protected status (TPS), abolish ICE and provide undocumented Americans a pathway to citizenship.


How can you help?

Join trailblazers like Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Cori Bush, and Paula Jean Swearingen in fighting to #AbolishICE, and VOLUNTEER.

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Know someone amazing in your district you would like to see in Congress?  NOMINATE the for BNC today!


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Author S. Peña Young is an award-winning composer, TED Talk speaker, Latina filmmaker, writer and has been a dedicated volunteer at Brand New Congress since 2016.