Since the beginning, President Trump has used his twitter to express his feelings. He has used many words to describe everyone that has come in his path. On June 19, 2018, President Trump tweeted, “Democrats are the problem. They don’t care about crime and want illegal immigrants, no matter how bad they may be, to pour into and infest our Country, like MS-13. They can’t win on their terrible policies, so they view them as potential votes!” (). President Trump using the term “infest” toward illegal immigrants gained criticizes beyond in the media.
This tweet follows after responding to criticism of the policy that has lead children getting separated by parents in the border. Many people pointed out history is repeating similarly to back in the day with Nazi’s against Jews. President Trump’s usage of the word infest as a way to describe undocumented immigrants, in my opinion, it is not the best word utilized to describe those individuals that had helped build the economy.
My definition of the word infest is, bugs or animals that have taken over and created damage.
If we were to put my definition of the word infest into the context of Mr. Trump tweet it would mean illegal immigrants are animals spreading rapidly and causing damage. I don’t think President Trump is meaning to use the word to insult undocumented immigrants. It’s important we discuss the meaning of the word infest, specifically in this context, because of both through media and language such as infestation is dehumanizing immigrants can be serious consequences for the social and humanity treatment toward immigrants.
America is built of immigrants all over the world who came to the United States for a better future. Immigrants are the foundation of the American dream, without them the United States’ population would be decreasing. Coming from a family that immigrated to America for a better future, I take it very offensive to be called as pollutants. First, to help understand why the use of infested to describe illegal immigrants can be problematic, let’s explore how society defines the word infest.
In Merriam-Webster, the word infest is defined as “to spread or swarm in or over in a troubling manner” or “to live in or on as a parasite.” In a more less academic definition, in Urban Dictionary infested is defined as “it refers to the act of incest, but as a positive term, like “fest” in “beerfest.…” Let’s look at the more clear definition, in Dictionary.com is defined as “to live in or overrun to an unwanted degree or in a troublesome manner, especially as predatory animals or vermin” or “to be numerous in, as anything undesirable or troublesome.” Another example of definition, in Cambridge Dictionary, is described as “(of animals and insects that carry disease) to cause a problem by being present in large numbers.” Oxford living Dictionaries, an infestation is translated, “The presence of an unusually large number of insects or animals in a place, typically so as to cause damage or disease.”. No matter in what context you characterize the word infested in all the definitions have a similar pattern.
People understand when you speak of infesting that you are referencing of an animal or bug, not a human being. Trump using that word is calling the illegal immigrant’s animals which can cause serious consequences in how society view immigrants. Trump, since his presidential campaign always had a strong hate for illegal immigrants. Critics of Trump’s language argues that it was dehumanizing to use a term traditionally used for pests. Let’s evaluate how the EPA, also known as the Environmental Protection Agency uses the word infestation quotes “Bed bugs are public health pest. While bed bugs have not been shown to transmit diseases, they do cause a variety of negative physical health, mental health, and economic consequences. Some of this effect include secondary infections of the skin from the bite reactions, such as impetigo, ecthyma, and lymphangitis.” The level of respect Trump uses the word to describe illegal immigrants is unacceptable. It is safe to say his use of language is assuming he’s going to start getting illegal immigrants out how EPA deals with an infestation in our society, with chemical and traps. Example EPA states “such as cage-type tapes, capture rodents alive and unharmed, but the rodents must be released or killed. Rodents released outside may find their way back into the house unless you have sealed the entry points into the house” (EPA 2018).
I do see the metaphoric point of this, how he argues that as much Trump’s administration adds laws to prevent illegal immigrants to come into the U.S we will still find ways to come in illegally. If the word infests is used repeatedly, it can give an image when people see the word immigrant. Many have gone far to say Trump language is somewhat similar to back to Nazi history. Jewish literature and history have been following the controversy of what is happening at the border and the language surrounding immigration. Ed Kilgore article goes on and elaborates on the unavoidable historical connection, “The use of the word “infest” to talk about people is literary out of the Nazi/anti-Semites’ playbook for talking about Jewish threat…” (Kilgore 2018). This isn’t the first time Trump has seemed to use dehumanizing language toward immigrants. However, this is a rhetorical line that should never be crossed. His tweet is likely to be seen as insensitive and offensive calling immigrants animals. Much of our knowledge about immigration is represented through media having such the “problem” for crime wave or hurting the economy in the United States.
Controversies have shown since Trump’s presidential campaign he was using the illegal immigrant, “build the wall” swollen to get media attention. David Cisneros article “Immigrants as Pollutant” he states, “when the nation is convinced as a physical body, immigrants are presented either as an infectious disease or as a physical burden…immigrants are represented as criminals, invaders, or dangerous. Immigrants shouldn’t be reflected as the infected population. In his, article Cisneros goes on and elaborates how media particularly visual images use when spoken about immigrants. The metaphor of “immigrants as pollutant” discourse on immigrants can have serious consequences for social treatment. A topic that brings more conversation at a national level. Immigrants go away back since the 1900s, America is built of immigrants. Many news media use the target of immigrants as the toxic people taking Americans jobs. Following back to Trump’s’ tweet calling immigrant infest show how much the country is becoming divided.
Many of these people have given up their homes and left family behind to come for a better future. Trump shouldn’t be using infestation to dehumanize immigrants. Roger Cohen states, “the zero-tolerance border policy that left more than 2,300 children separated from their parents, a policy Trump has now rescinded after coming under enormous pressure..” (Cohen 2018). What Trump’s administration is doing to undocumented is unhumanized. He shouldn’t be treating them like a pest, they are humans with rights like everyone else. In conclusion, the language that the President used toward immigrants has taken a toll on everyone who follows the news. Using the word that many people associate to pest to refer to immigrants, people who have made America their home are devastated. Going back to history repeating is making even harder to grasp the lack of knowledge Trump has. I’m sure Trump is aware of the consequences this tweet has brought to any chances of reelection.