The King of Xenophobia Shouldn’t Be President
If Donald Trump becomes the next president, most international students will choose to pack their bags and head home to avoid his xenophobic racism.
By Maria Alvarado, Savannah College of Arts and Design
As an international student, I decided that Donald Trump didn’t deserve my attention when he started calling Mexicans rapists and going on and on about how he wanted to build a wall around the country.
It’s hard to like Trump when it’s clear that he is a racist, liar, misogynist, narcissist, bigot and xenophobe. Yet somehow he managed to gather a number of followers that are willing to put up a fight to show why the republican candidate would be a good fit for president of the United States. Whatever argument his supporters have, I don’t want to hear it. I had already made up my mind before women started accusing him for sexual assault and the media started pointing out that he is lying.
It was shocking to find out that one of my roommates was planning to vote for Trump. The topic of the elections entered one of our conversations casually, and suddenly my roommate smiled and said, “I want to vote for Trump. I think he’s funny.” I couldn’t help but think she had lost her mind. My second roommate, however, didn’t seem quite as disturbed. It happens that roommate #2 doesn’t like him either, but doesn’t disagree with all his politics. When I asked roommate #2 what she meant, she said, “I don’t know. But he has some great points. I just can’t think of one off the top of my head.”
Even though Donald Trump has lost some support since the beginning of the presidential campaign, I still find that he has a fair amount of supporters. Trump has been praised for speaking his mind and insulting pretty much every other country that disagrees with his radical ideas. People think that he says what many think, but are afraid to say because they fear they might be judged or threatened. Perhaps it is also because of that reason that others find him funny.
To be honest, I don’t think I would be able to give him my support even if he was offering to reimburse my whole college tuition.
After legally studying in the United States for six years, I have come to notice that my opinion on politics can greatly differ from the American point of view. Due to the big variety of cultures and backgrounds from which foreign students come, it is not strange to hear them disagree with American politics. In consequence, I’m aware that I’m not the only one who thinks Donald Trump is a danger.
In a critical moment such as the presidential election, it feels like every vote is vital to free the country from what could be a bleak future. Sadly, students from other countries can’t vote, unless they become legal citizens of the United States. A great percentage of study-abroad students don’t have an American passport even though they have been in the country for many years. Because of the lack of choice, one could wrongly assume that international students are not at all concerned with the elections.
In reality, there is much that bothers foreign students about the possibility of Trump becoming the next American president. Not only because his presidency would mean to tarnish the United States’ relationships with other countries, but also because it could affect the flow of students that come from around the world and make the process of getting a student visa more exhausting. There’s plenty for international students to discuss about the presidential race, but I would be lying if I said that most of the conversations and expressed unease don’t rotate around Trump.
A close Brazilian friend has repeatedly told me how hard it is to enter the country with a student visa: The process takes a large period of time, and the paperwork seems endless. In addition to this, she is among the unlucky people who have faced racism in more than one occasion. When I asked her about her opinion on Donald Trump becoming the president, she fervently expressed her opposition to the idea.
“Why would anyone want to stay here if the president himself tells everyone that your people are a bunch of thieves and rapists? If Trump gets elected president, I’m packing my stuff and going back to Brazil. I’m not going to stay and risk getting called any of those things on the streets.”
Equally offended by Trump’s statements throughout the presidential campaign, a classmate from Australia stated that his attitude toward foreign people is repulsive. He also sees the danger in people agreeing with Donald Trump’s mindset.
“When you think about it, you have to realize that it’s really problematic. Because, even if he says that he is not against legal immigrants who have a college degree, people are still going to prejudge foreigners by the way they look or talk…it’s humiliating.”
I understand why many fellow students from around the world feel it would be better to leave than stay. Adapting to a different culture can be hard and put a person through a lot of confusion. It can take a long time just to overcome language barriers and even longer to adjust to a new way of life.
Now add to this having to deal with a president who isn’t afraid of getting up on stage, pointing at you and saying you are the reason why America is sinking.
It is clear why few international students are willing to deal with the outcome of Trump winning the 2016 election. Whether they decided to come study in the United States to get a good education in their degree path or better job opportunities after college, the result is growing dangerously similar. The wave of xenophobia that spiked from Trump’s hate discourse does nothing more than scare away students that are interested in pursuing a career in America.
Many Americans joke about leaving the country and going to Mexico or Canada if Trump gets elected. The fear of living in a country run by Donald Trump is big enough to make some people look for possible ways to escape. At this point, just about anywhere in the world would be better than the United States of Trump. For study-abroad students, however, going back to their home countries is a real option.