With their latest move to strip Latino citizens of their passports and try to "prove" that their birth certificates were forged, the Trump regime takes another step on its path to reversing birthright citizenship for millions of Latinos and creating an entire class of nationless people to torment at will.
This is happening because white Republican voters have a problem. America has millions of Latinos in southern states and their population is growing faster than the population of angry white racists. Very soon now, Texas will turn purple and then blue, and that will be the last time a Republican sits in the White House. Florida and Arizona are another two that are reaching a tipping point. Combined with the black population of those states, Republicans also face losing control of the Senate forever since there's only so much voter suppression can do to overcome the demographic shift.
But stipping millions of people of their citizenship? That would be a game changer. Not only does it massively shrink the Latino voting block, it stops it from growing fast enough to be a threat for decades to come.
This is why we are seeing these new initiatives to strip people (Latinos mostly) of their citizenship. We're already spending millions of taxpayer dollars to find dozens of people that may have lied to get their citizenship papers. Now we're questioning the citizenship of people who have been Americans their entire lives:
A horrifying Washington Post article revealed that these Latino citizens are having their passports revoked in the name of "citizenship fraud," a problem that, like voter fraud, doesn't exist in substantial numbers to justify a change in policy, but is enough of a bogeyman for them to justify their end results.
On the one hand, this is all red meat for Trump's base. The rage addicted white nationalists that support Trump require regular outrages against decency to keep them happy. Stripping brown people of their citizenship will be like Viagra mixed with cocaine for the right wing.
But underneath the PR victory for racists is the longer game. By establishing a precedent in both the courts and the public's eye that citizenship is not a permanent thing, the Trump regime is making headway towards the Holy Grail of white nationalism: Ending birthright citizenship.
Making it legitimate in the public's eye (or at least the part of the public the GOP is interested in listening to) is important because when a government targets a vulnerable population for abuse, it can only do so when the nation is willing to allow it to happen. Think of the genocide of the Native American tribes or the Japanese Internment Camps. That required a complicit public. Moving the public's understanding of citizenship from something fundamentally unalterable to something fluid and easily revoked is a necessary step.
Once it's established that, my goodness, look at all these Latinos that obtained false citizenship!, it will be much easier to convince the public that the problem is much larger than it actually is. It's so large that we have to do something about all this lawlessness! Why, it's your white vote that's being stolen by these scofflaws and their children that shouldn't even be here! That's not fair to "real" Americans, blablabla.
If this sounds familiar, it should. It's the same set of lies used by the right to push Voter ID laws based on nonexistent voter fraud claims.
Which brings us to establishing legal precedent. By packing the courts with extremist judges, Trump and the GOP will have the ability to enact blatantly unconstitutional policies assured that their partisan cronies on the bench will uphold them. Not all of them will survive, of course; there are still plenty of judges placed by Obama and Clinton. And even the ones placed by Reagan and both Bushs are not nearly as extreme as the current crop. But many of the policies will and each one becomes a new legal precedent in place for the day Republicans feel ready to tackle birthright citizenship.
The case will be some dumb schmuck they found to be their patsy and the arguments will be ludicrous but it won't matter by then. Just like the coming push to repeal Roe v. Wade, they'll do it regardless of how unpopular it is with the nation as a whole. The only support they'll need is from the GOP's base and they'll have that by the truckload. Declaring millions of Latinos to be non-citizens is a wet dream come true for white Republican voters.
Naturally, the rollback will only extend just enough years to cripple the Latino population without harming white populations. Maybe the last 50 years or so. There won't a particularly compelling legal reason why the descendants of undocumented Irish or Italian immigrants from 100 years ago are legitimate citizens and why more recent Latino citizens are not but the pretense is, I guarantee the paperwork is already written up and sitting in Federalist Society safe somewhere.
And once millions of people are stripped of the citizenship, the real abuse can begin. White Republican voters have long argued that American laws and civil rights only apply to American citizens (they don't). Expect to hear that call be taken up again with a thundering boom. Jennifer Wright makes the compelling argument that stripping citizens of their citizenship is a mandatory prerequisite to genocide.` First, they have to become The Other, then they have to be a threat, then they have to have their rights taken away. After that, it's a hop, skip, and a jump to the cattle cars.
We can squeeze our eyes shut, plug our ears with our fingers, and shout "IT CAN'T HAPPEN HERE!" at the top of our lungs but 3 years ago it was unthinkable that the United States government would tear children from their parents and throw them in cages for the explicit purpose of torturing children. It cannot be stated often enough: White Republican voters do not have to be lead to atrocities the way the Germans of the 1930s did. They know exactly what they want and they're sprinting towards their atrocities, demanding to know what's taking so long.
Watch for Trump to escalate this war on citizenship at every available opportunity and for Republicans to pick up where he leaves off. This is a foundational goal for them even if they're not regularly talking about it in the open. Yet.