24 Julio 2017 11:54
‘The land of the free.’ Apparently.Even though the US literally owes its existence to immigrants, the Trump administration has taken a hard-line stance with undocumented citizens.
Racial profiling normally dictates who arouses suspicion to authorities, but an Irish (white) man has become one of the most well-known people originally from the Green Isle to be deported for not obtaining official documents of residence.John Cunningham came to Boston in 1999 with the assumption he would only stay for 90 days and work through the summer. But like so many Irish tourists, he never returned to his native home. After seeing that the grass was indeed greener on the other side, Cunningham worked as an electrician in the Massachusetts capital and set up his own business, easily slipping under the radar and enjoying the benefits of white privilege. Until now. On 12 June, almost two decades since he arrived in America, Cunningham was arrested by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement and was deported to Ireland on 5 July. The well-known paddy had originally travelled on a visa waiver programme and therefore has no legal right to a hearing. Donald Trump’s transparent racism against Mexican and Latino immigrants, not to mention his disgusting ‘muslim ban’ of people from several countries in the Middle East, has meant that the country’s ‘illegal’ immigrant communities are on high alert.
[caption id="attachment_5396" align="aligncenter" width="472"] ireland.com[/caption]But a broadening of racial bias towards white citizens, in particular men, is quite surprising given the president’s penchant for using his entitled male dominance to get whatever he wants, and the fact he claims to ‘love Ireland’. Speak to nearly any American group of people, be it tourists or in a New York bar, and there will nearly always be someone who claims to be Irish: ‘I’m a sixteenth Irish from my great-great-great-great grandfather who arrived here during the American Civil War.’ Such celebration of Irish heritage has even resulted in a nickname for those ‘pretending’ to be from the country: ‘Plastic Paddies.’ Cunningham’s deportation signifies a shift in cultural attitudes from the top-down. The Irish have almost always been given a stay of execution, in part due to warm diplomatic relations, but mostly because on the surface they can ‘blend’ into society with the colour of their skin. An Irish accent gives many a free pass that non-white undocumented residents are denied. Criticism has flown in the face of Cunningham’s deportation, not just for the obvious ridiculousness of the situation, but also because his story has been given more weight in the media than thousands of other ordeals suffered by latino families. Carol Rose, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, told the BBC that for every one story of a white immigrant who faces deportation, there are many other stories of non-white immigrant experiences not told. But for the Irish living in America, there are reasons for real concern too, even if skin colour is on their side. Unfortunately, whatever happens, the tiny island doesn’t have enough space or resources to welcome back scores of undocumented migrants with open arms.