It’s more than just vulgar words: 45 denies people from Haiti, Belize and Samoa temporary work visas
President Donald Trump is a lot like many in his base: racist, crass, hypocritical, isolationist, self-important and scarcity-fixated. Their economic arguments are often pretexts for racism. Their fear of globalism in-breeds tribalism. Instead of investing time, energy and resources into global citizenship, they cleave to variations of “but, I’m white, therefore [insert the status quo, attack on safety nets and the political expectation that white European immigration to the U.S. is always welcome at the expense of darker-skinned and differently descended people, including people whose ancestors were trafficked to these lands against their will].”
And yet, the predictability of Trump’s othering policies should not mean that American people disengage politics, abandon resistance and ignore the ways in which history unfolds. People who do not learn history are often destined to replicate it.
Shortly after calling African, Caribbean and Latin American countries “shithole” nations — and salivating over the prospect of an influx of Norwegian immigrants — the Trump administration moved to block people from Haiti, Belize and Samoa from applying for temporary visas, classified H-2A and H-2B. The visas cover agricultural and non-agricultural work. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) provided traditional notice of the prohibition and also accused Haitian people of “high levels of fraud and abuse and a high rate of overstaying” their visa terms.
Even if civil wars, and acts of God like hurricanes and earthquakes, that rendered some of-color countries unlivable and made the U.S. a desirable next move for immigrating populations do not motivate policymakers, you might think the monetary implications would. While these particular visas do not implicate professional classes of immigrants, the reality remains that immigrant labor is interwoven at every level in American society.
“Haitian farmworkers on the H-2A visa that I have studied in Alabama added $4,000 to the U.S. economy per worker, per month,” Michael Clemens, a senior fellow at the non-profit think tank Center for Global Development, told NBC News.
Clemens said that this change removes the only American work visas that most people in Haiti can apply for and realistically receive. This prohibition also followed the Trump administration’s announcement to end temporary protected status for people from El Salvador and Haiti.
But in Trump-land, it seems legal immigration should only provide one a white wife. In that same land, immigration does not sustain an infrastructure for people of color from other places to contribute their labor and love to America — without easily foreseen attacks.