What is a Dictatorship?

Kayla Lien, Opinion Writer

What is a dictatorship? I ask myself. By the dictionary, it is government ruled by a dictator, a person with total power over a country. A tyrant, it says, an oppressor. What is a dictatorship? It is what is quickly becoming the United States of America.

At a hastily stitched-together news conference, Donald Trump said he’s running a “fine-tuned machine.” Would such a well-running, successful machine be falling into “chaos,” as he himself puts it? “I turn on the T.V., open the newspapers and I see stories of chaos.” He remarks, insisting that the media is dishonest.

Donald Trump fired the acting Attorney General, Sally Yates, because she refused to defend the immigration ban. The “immigration ban” is reading off as a Muslim ban since Trump banned refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

It has led to people being detained in airports, and lowered the number of refugees to be accepted from any country, not just the seven he banned. The total number of refugees the U.S. will take in 2017 was originally 110, 000, but it is now only 50,000. The immigration ban has suspended the Syrian Refugee program indefinitely.

John F. Kelly, a retired Marine general who’s now the secretary of homeland security, signed two draft memos that would allow Donald to direct his authorities to enforce the immigration laws more aggressively and to publicize crimes done by illegal immigrants, stripping them of their privacy and privacy protections. Both want local police officers to enforce these injustices, as well as creating new detention resources. Trump is trying to discourage those seeking asylum, and immigrants already in detainment could be deported immediately. The directives offer mercy to the “Dreamers,” those who were brought into the country illegally as children, a small victory, but still greatly appreciated by that community.

These new immigration policies are sure to be welcomed by law officials around the country, those who wish to crack down on illegal immigration. But regardless of their acceptance, these policies are doing the exact opposite of what many of our presidents were taking steps towards. Former Presidents Barack Obama and George Bush were hoping to balance protection of our border with humane rights and laws for illegal migrants.

Luckily, all policies such as these will need extensive funding. So far, Trump hasn’t said a word about where he would get the billions of dollars needed to pay for new border control agents, detention facilities, and a complete wall along the entire border between the U.S. and Mexico.

Sean Spencer, the White House press secretary, said that the new codes made it clear that “the No. 1 priority is that people who pose a threat to our country are immediately dealt with.” Isn’t that what all the leaders of our country have been working towards? Under Obama’s administration, officials were to have undocumented immigrants who caused serious crime be the top priority of deportation. Trump’s plan isn’t just those who’ve committed crime, but anyone in the country illegally.

Trump believes that “criminal aliens” come into the U.S. and “routinely victimize Americans,” and ignore the “rule of law and pose a threat” to us. Despite this statement, the American Immigration Council released a study that shows lower levels of crime among immigrants than native-born Americans. Additionally, the use of calling immigrants “aliens” is extremely racist and politically incorrect. An alien is someone not from this earth (though all humans are), but can also mean “strange” or “disturbing” and calling someone as such is rude and wrong. Using the term “alien” instantly creates a “them vs. us” complex, breeding hatred and fear towards immigrants.

This program is being resisted across the country, and the Mayor of New York City said that “what we will not do is turn our N.Y.P.D. officers into immigration agents”. Sanctuary Cities have refused to allow their government officials to round up the undocumented immigrants.

Immigration advocates are rightly disappointed in Kelly. They were hoping for a more balanced voice, since he expressed sympathy for women and children arriving in the U.S. after fleeing Central America. Their hope is gone and wasted.

We have an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in America. What will happen to our workforce if we deport that many people? What about the millions of jobs nobody but illegal immigrants are willing to take? Our country’s founding fathers were immigrants, and yet, Donald Trump thinks he has the right to call them criminals and rapists. The only criminal and rapist I see here is the President of the United States of America.

Not only are rights and privacy for illegal immigrants being taken away, so are the rights and privacy of our students, regardless of being a U.S. citizen. Trump has revoked the laws allowing transgender students to use the bathroom that fits their gender identity. He has overridden his education secretary and former President Barack Obama’s administration.

This has left Trump’s administration heated. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos originally declined to sign off on it since she felt uncomfortable at leaving our transgender students in the way of potential harm and harassment. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has a history of being against any LGBTQ+ rights movements, and has pushed Ms. DeVos to stand down. At a meeting in the Oval Office, Trump told her to drop her opposition as well. In order to avoid having to resign, DeVos signed for the laws to go through.

There is no accurate number to describe the amount of transgender students in the U.S., let alone those in the rest of the LGBTQ+ community, but the results of these new policies will no doubt be heartbreaking for all of us across the country.

After all, this isn’t just about bathrooms. This is about privacy, discrimination, and the loss of protection for the minority youth in America. Donald Trump is taking away basic human rights of those who can’t defend themselves. It’s like taking candy from a baby.

We as minors can’t vote. We don’t have a say in laws being passed, what our school board does, who is in charge of our lives, etc. When you take away something that makes us feel safe, something we have a right to just because we’re human, we should be angry.

When we’ve stripped the liberty of every minority in America, how many of us will be here to reap the benefits? If we don’t stand up for our rights and the rights of others, will America still be here for us to inherit?

 

Sources:

The Guardian: Trump Immigration Ban

New York Times: Trump: “Fine-Tuned Machine”

New York Times: New Deportation Policies

New York Times: Deportation Polices: Deporting More Immigrants

Fortune: America Without Immigrants

The Blaze: Betsy DeVos’s Take on the Bathroom Laws

New York Times: DeVos-Sessions Conflict on Bathroom Laws

Salon: Stop Calling People “Aliens”