Trump Immigration Policies Could Target The Disabled For Discrimination

While most people have looked at the leaked text of Donald Trump’s next executive order attacking immigrants as an assault on the poor, they’ve overlooked its implications for a very different group of people: the disabled.

Here’s the relevant bit:

(ii) to propose for notice and comment a rule that provides standards for determining which aliens are inadmissible or deportable on public-charge grounds, and that specifies that an alien is inadmissible as a public charge if he is likely to receive, and is deportable if he does receive, public benefits for which eligibility or amount is determined in any way on the basis of income, resources, or financial need;

A surface reading is that this will target poor immigrants that rely on, say, Medicaid for their children. Those people who require “public benefits” are moochers and we (“we” meaning conservative Christians) hate them. But a slightly deeper reading is that even people trying to legally immigrate to the United States can and will be denied if they or a dependent are physically or mentally disabled.

In other words, if you want to move to the United States and you have an autistic or Down Syndrome child that would require government services like speech or physical therapy, you’re not welcome here anymore. Considering how rich and allegedly Christian America is, this is appalling. It goes against everything we claim to stand for: Compassion, generosity, humanity, etc.

On the other hand, looking through the eyes of white nationalists, it makes perfect sense. Bear in mind, these are the people that fully and truly believe that they are genetically superior to blacks, Latinos, Asians, Jews, etc. In this twisted worldview, mentally and physically disabled immigrants are a drain on society and must be turned away. But the long term implications are even worse.

If you consider disabled immigrants to be a drain on society, it’s a very short walk to considering all disabled people to be a drain on society. There’s a reason we here in the United States used to sterilize the mentally and physically impaired and why Nazi Germany did the same before moving on to simply killing them. The practice of eugenics is particularly seductive to the “chosen race,” giving license to enact the cruelest of impulses.

And while we’re not there yet, Trump’s executive order opens the door to targeting the disabled for removal. Combine this with Betsy DeVos’ absolute refusal to say that as Secretary of Education she believes all disabled students have the right to a “free appropriate public education” and a disturbing pattern emerges, one in which the disabled are cast aside and ignored. 

It’s possible that Steve Bannon (the person writing Trump’s executive orders for him) didn’t consider this. His previous EOs have shown either a pathological disregard or an amateur’s understanding of the consequences of his decrees. It’s possible that he will have Trump clarify that disabilities are not to be made part of the equation when determining who to reject. It’s a nice thought.

But it’s far more likely that Bannon simply doesn’t care and will have Trump keep America’s gene pool “pure” by casting out “defective” immigrants. It’s the Christian thing to do.

I’m a stay at home dad, father to a special needs son and a special daughter, a donor baby daddy, a militantly pragmatic liberal, the president of the PTA, a hardcore geek and nerd and I’m going to change the world. Or at least my corner of it.