Disturbing Trends in Anti-Immigration Policies
Arts & Culture Editor
Though Donald Trump’s election came as a surprise to many people, it is anything but abnormal. It displays a disturbing trend in global politics. Over the past few years, there has been an increase in popularity of far-right parties in the U.S., Europe and other parts of the world.
Trump’s campaign centered on anti-immigration policies, the promise to build a wall on the US-Mexico border, and to “Make America Great Again”. On his first day on the campaign trail, Trump said of illegal Mexican immigrants: “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” After these remarks and other inflammatory comments, many political pundits dismissed his campaign as a joke, and believed he would not make it very far. However his popularity grew, and Trump built his presidential campaign on racism and islamophobia. Unfortunately, this type of presidential campaign is not an unusual feature in European politics.
Currently, the Netherlands, France, Austria, Germany, and Hungary all have growing far-right populist parties. They have been able to grow steadily through anti-immigration and anti-Islamic sentiments. Geert Wilders, leader of the Netherlands far-right Party of Freedom, is one the top contenders for the upcoming federal election. Wilders Twitter page is filled with extreme nationalist sentiment, as well as several photos with the tagline “Stop Islam” written on them. Marie Le Pen, leader of France’s far-right National Front Party, has also campaigned on anti-immigration and anti-EU sentiment. In her bid for the French presidency, Le Pen said: “We do not want to live under the rule or threat of Islamic fundamentalism. They are looking to impose on us gender discrimination in public places, full body veils or not, prayer rooms in the workplace, prayers in the streets, huge mosques […] or the submission of women.” Evidently, such notions are false, racist, incite hatred, and ignorant of Islam. Le Pen, like Wilders and many other far-right populist leaders in Europe, supports Trump’s presidency and his decision to implement the “Muslim ban.”
The rise of far-right populist leaders comes with more than just unpredictable politics; it also comes with a social cost, such as the recent shooting of 6 innocent men praying in a mosque in Quebec City. Many people attribute this shooting to the election of Donald Trump as well as the prevalent racist undertones in Quebec politics. When political parties run their campaigns on xenophobic and policies o prejudice, it empowers those who hold similar views to act discriminatorily towards the persecuted groups.
Though citizens may like the “act now think later” policies of populist groups, these policies are harmful to society. As Hunter Thompson, an American journalist, said: “The main problem in any democracy is that crowd-pleasers are generally brainless swine that can go out on a stage and whip their supporters into an orgiastic frenzy—then go back to the office and sell every one of the poor bastards down the tube for a nickel apiece”.