As the New York Times and numerous other outlets have reported since yesterday afternoon, the Trump administration has finally backed off of its harebrained scheme to intimidate immigrant communities by adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. This is, of course, great news. The decision represents a stinging defeat for the anti-immigrant movement that Trump has championed and ought to send a message to caring and thinking people all over that the fight for immigrant rights is a battle that they can win.
But a lot of damage has already been done.
As Thomas Saenz, of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund told the Times, “No matter what happens, there’s still a lingering hardship from how long the administration had this hanging out there, and the publicity it got.”
And, of course, there’s no indication that Trump and his minions have decided to retreat from their barbaric, fear-based strategy in other places and forums. As Raul Pinto observed yesterday over on the main Policy Watch site, legislation currently being advanced at the North Carolina General Assembly is based on the same premise as the now-rejected Census question and the horrific treatment of asylum seekers at the border: fear.
Of course, the most important antidote to fear is courage — courage to stand up to the bullies who seek to poison America’s longstanding heritage as a beacon — however flawed — of freedom in the world and a hope for the future. Especially as we celebrate the Independence Day holiday tomorrow, let’s take renewed courage from yesterday’s victory and celebrate it as a hopeful sign, and maybe even a turning point, in the fight to defeat the wretched, small-minded, bullying approach to life that Trumpism represents.