Skidmore College

Supreme Courts ruling against immigration rights is embedded on populist beliefs.

The Supreme Court ruled against immigration rights with a 5-3 rule that non-citizens, and permanent residents will face deportation and the immigrants are not required to have a bond hearing if they have been held in detention for more than six months. “Supreme Court Ruling Means Immigrants Could Continue To Be Detained Indefinitely” by Domenico Montaro and Richard Gonzales state individuals has had constitutional protection since the time of slavery. The Supreme Court’s ruling indicates the notion that populism is prominent within the United States institutional systems and it is portrayed within the people of the United States. These ideologies also imply that the American population has seen an increase in polarization. Therefore, the groups of people against immigration are those who are “true American citizens” and they are fighting against the “other,” which in this case are immigrants. These ideologies were rooted and flourished during Donald Trumps campaign and after the Presidential election. Donald Trumps philosophies are believed to be right-wing populist, where he is both anti-pluralist and anti-elitist. These ideologist thus spillover onto the population as well as the Supreme Court, which portrays and supports Trumps populist rule. Thus, creating a danger to democracy within the United States.

Populism has been on the rise since Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign and he has ignited individuals who are anti-elitism as well as anti-pluralist. During his presidential campaign, Trump had a myriad of strategies that reflect populist beliefs. For example, his approach to illegitimating the media, the news, and his opponent, Hillary Clinton, shows that he uses populist strategies. According to Müller, populists believe they are the only morally legitimate candidates, similarly to the methods Donald Trump used to illegitimate Hillary. Trump attacked Hillary on several issues; however, specifically his attacks allowed American citizens to believe that Hillary did not represent them. Therefore, this tactic allowed a large percentage of citizens to believe that Donald Trump was their true Presidential candidate, and only he had the ability to represent them.

After winning the Presidential election in 2016, Trump was and still continues to be vocal against the “other” such as immigrants and refugees entering the United States. His beliefs that immigrants are stealing American citizens jobs and they are a security threat to the United States has stimulated right wing populism in the United States. Additionally, as President, Trump had the ability to appoint Supreme Court justices that reflected his right-wing populist ideologies, which is very concerning to democracy. Populism is dangerous to democracy because it increases polarization, which is supported from data provided by Bright Line Watch in their latest survey 4. The increase of polarization will divide the country and it will affect democracy moving forward. For example, Müller explains Brexit where the 51% are the true representation of the country, but the other 49% are not. Thus, the divide is inherently embedded and it will be difficult to mend moving forward.

The rise of polarization has created racism, sexism and heightened levels of discrimination. These results are also due to Donald Trump’s beliefs against immigrants and refugees, which has allowed Americans to freely express their racist thoughts. However, Müller addresses the issue regarding who really are the ‘people’ of the United States. I believe Trump supporters who fear globalization are hypocrites because America was founded due to globalization. Thus, to fear the fundamental reason why current American citizens are citizens of the United States is unjust to immigrants and refugees currently trying to enter the United States. My ideologies align with Montaro and Gonzales because they support immigration rights and reject the philosophies of the justices who have ruled for detention sentences for immigrants. This ruling is also a threat to democracy because it reflects the philosophies of populist beliefs. However, Kurt Weyland believes that the separation of powers inhibits the populist model in the United States such as restricting travel bans, but I believe that regardless of restricting Trumps initiatives, the Congress and the courts still give Trump what he wants. Thus, eroding democracy within the institutions.

Since the Presidential election, the Economist Intelligence has lowered the United States full democracy score. This indicates that democracy has eroded due to Donald Trump’s reign. According the Müller, for democracy to occur it requires pluralism, where every citizen is free, equal and diverse. However, the Supreme Courts ruling on immigrants and even individuals who have permanent legal residence are unable to receive the right to constitutional protection, and claiming these immigrants cannot receive bond hearing is unjust to their rights. If decisions like the Supreme Court’s ruling continue then polarization in the United States will result in the erosion of democracy. Democracy is supposed to highlight the diverse citizens in the United States, but if the institutions increase barriers of entry and obstacles then migration into the United States might stop inevitably. Hence, the quintessential foundation of the United States will not be the same and the “other” will always exist even if they are American citizens.

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