Republican Anti-Immigration Rhetoric Is Causing These Iowa Immigrants to Vote for Change

Trump and other Republican campaigners’ rhetoric is striking fear through the heart of Iowa’s immigrant community. Trump once declared that they were “poisoning the blood of the country,” and now these immigrant voters are prepared to fight for change.

The American Dream Under Threat

The dreams that brought immigrants to America are encountering unexpected challenges in the heartland, particularly in Iowa. For Norah Innis, a 60-year-old shopkeeper originally from Liberia, the American Dream is losing its lustre.

The Celebrity International Store, which had once been her aspiration, is now facing declining sales and the looming threat of anti-immigrant sentiment fueled by Donald Trump’s campaign ads leading up to the 2024 Iowa caucuses, “It scares me,” she admitted, “it scares me a lot.”

Economic Struggles Amidst Political Tension

As Iowa becomes the battleground for Republican contenders, immigrants like Innis find themselves caught in the crossfire. Trump’s divisive rhetoric on border security and immigration has created a hostile environment, impacting businesses and stirring fears among those who have chosen Iowa as their home. 

“They’re poisoning the blood of our country,” Trump has said in the past. Innis, grappling with economic challenges, now wonders if returning to Liberia might be a more viable option.

The spotlight on border security, coupled with caustic language from Republican candidates, is creating an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty for those who hoped for a better life in the United States.

The Threatening Tone of Campaign Ads

Leading Republican candidates have spent over $5 million on anti-immigration ads in Iowa since December alone. The ads depict a grim picture of the southern border, with ominous warnings about criminals, terrorists, and the possibility of attacks.

The inflammatory language used by candidates like Donald Trump has shown the potential demonization of immigrants, both documented and undocumented. Des Moines, Iowa’s capital, boasts one of the fastest-growing immigrant populations in the nation.

However, the current rhetoric seems to overlook the positive contributions of this diverse community. “They poison — mental institutions and prisons all over the world,” Trump continued in his rant.

Robert Brownell, a Republican supervisor, noted that the vital roles immigrants play in filling critical jobs are overshadowed by the relentless focus on strict immigration policies.

Streamlining work visas for asylum seekers, a policy that could benefit both immigrants and the local economy is dismissed as advocating for “unfettered immigration” in the current political climate.

Fear and Family Concerns

Melvin Paye, Innis’s son, echoed the concerns of many immigrant families.

After fleeing civil war in Liberia in 2002, Paye worries that the current rhetoric, especially Trump’s divisive comments, might lead to increased violence and tensions reminiscent of events like January 6th.

Despite the family’s deep ties to Liberia, the U.S. is home for Paye, who is prepared to defend it if necessary.

Already facing economic pressures, immigrant families like the Payes fear that the inflammatory rhetoric provides an easy scapegoat for larger societal issues.

Trump’s words, combined with rising inflation, create a dangerous narrative that may divert attention from real economic challenges and lead to increased hostilities towards immigrants.

Republican candidates Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis have also spoken about immigrants in a demeaning manner, used to scaremonger voters. Haley said in a campaign that they need to seal the Southern border, “before it’s too late.”

DeSantis also talked about securing the border by using force, “We’re going to leave them stone-cold dead,” he said about those attempting to cross the Southern border.

The Human Impact of Campaign Imagery

Gloria Henriquez spoke of how her fear of being perceived as an outsider has intensified since Trump’s “poison” comments, and she worries that Trump’s choice of words will contribute to a negative perception of immigrants. She decided to turn the words back on Trump, “I will use Trump’s own words: He will poison Americans’ mind-sets,” she said. For Henriquez, Iowa is her “forever home,” and she is gearing up to vote for the first time in November. 

The Resilience of Immigrant Voters

The commitment to civic engagement among immigrants is a powerful response to the divisive rhetoric. Despite the challenges and negative portrayals, immigrants like Henriquez are determined to exercise their right to vote, showing their contribution to the democratic fabric of Iowa.

Amidst the fear and discord, some immigrant communities are turning to faith and community service. Eugene Kiruhura, a pastor in Urbandale, stressed the importance of creating a haven for everyone, “I was a stranger and you invited me in,” he noted.

The church led by Kiruhura organizes community service initiatives, hoping to counteract negative perceptions through positive actions. The pastor and his congregation embody a commitment to peace and community building, challenging the divisive narratives with deeds that reflect the values of compassion and inclusivity.

The post Republican Anti-Immigration Rhetoric Is Causing These Iowa Immigrants to Vote for Change first appeared on Edge Media.

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Oscar Davies, an expert in US and UK politics and sports, is renowned for his sharp and engaging writing style, appealing to a broad spectrum of readers.

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