Accuracy in Media

President Trump did not order immigration officials to review cases in which people possibly obtained naturalized citizenship status in the United States through fraud to protect Americans but rather to safeguard a white voting majority, according to a piece Thursday on Slate.

Writer Jamelle Bouie said the effort to identify fraudulent applications – the government agency that handles this recently announced it will hire lawyers and immigration officers to review cases in which people may have used false information to obtain citizenship – would apply to only a few thousand people.

“The small scale of this effort belies its significance,” she writes. “As a country, the United States makes few distinctions between naturalized citizens and their native-born counterparts. The naturalization process, which includes long-term residents with deep ties to the U.S., is assumed to be permanent. This new task force on denaturalization throws that permanence into question, bringing suspicion on anyone who received their citizenship through means other than birth.”

And what will force the Trump administration to confine this pursuit to cases of cheating and fraud, she asks. “The Trump administration has shown, in its drive to criminalize asylum-seekers, that the existing processes for seeking legal status can effectively be criminalized at any time. The president’s willingness to demonize all immigrants as intruders on American soil offers little comfort.”

Not reported is that the president’s support among Hispanics is increasing, nor that he proposed a path to citizenship for 1.8 million “Dreamers” – an idea that jarred his anti-immigration allies.

But it’s about maintaining a white majority, Bouie wrote.

“The move to denaturalize some citizens is just the latest in a large drive by Republicans – led by key figures in the Trump White House – to preserve a white majority in American politics,” she wrote. “At the state level, Republican lawmakers take steps to protect GOP districts, dampen voter turnout and otherwise hinder participation, which raises the chances of Republican victories for Congress and the White House.

“In turn, Republicans in Washington nominate and confirm judges who give voter suppression the cover of law, giving incentive to new efforts at restriction and disenfranchisement. What Donald Trump brings is an explicit effort to write nonwhite immigrants out of the body politic, removing as many as possible and presenting the rest as a suspect class.”

Bouie wrote that Trump and his white Republican friends know whites will be in the minority in the United States at some point, “but there’s a difference between a nation’s population and its electorate,” and Republicans “are trying – at every level of government – to reverse-engineer a white electorate large enough to secure their own power, and along with it, the existing hierarchy of class and race.”

It’s not just Trump, she wrote. It’s also Attorney General Jeff Sessions, White House adviser Stephen Miller and former advisers Steve Bannon and Michael Anton, who are “unusually driven in their commitment to a racial vision of the American state” and “largely in line with Republican politics that’s become reliant on revanchist anger of a white minority.”

It’s a minority, but it’s a motivated one – so motivated, she wrote, that it elected a House majority in 2010, a Senate majority in 2014 and unified Republican control of Washington in 2016. The early victories produced the latter, she wrote.

Strict voter ID laws appeared in Alabama, Kansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin. Same-day voter registration ended in Ohio, and voter drives were restricted in Florida and Texas. Early voting was reduced in Georgia, Florida and Ohio.

This is why in Milwaukee, 41,000 fewer people voted in the presidential election of 2016 than in 2014, she wrote. It had nothing to do with a Democratic state feeling ignored by its presidential candidate, who never visited and took their votes for granted.

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