We studied over 300 speeches and 6000 tweets of Trump from July 2015 to September 2017, using both qualitative and quantitative methods. Trump's story about immigrants boils down to just one narrative. It is a complete fiction, a dystopic view of a nation under siege.
TRUMP'S FALSE NARRATIVE: America, the once great castle on the hill, is besieged. Its walls are broken, its border lays open, and it is overrun by ruthless invaders. Our enemy, Mexico, has flooded us with the worst of its people: violent criminals, drug cartels, gang members, and human traffickers. Meanwhile, stupid and corrupt American politicians have led us to this existential crisis. Only brave Trump can save our country by letting law enforcement officers forcefully rid the nation of the invaders, and by building a Great Wall to "make America great again."
Trump’s false narrative is simple, false, and powerful. BELOW ARE ITS MAJOR ELEMENTS:
What's the state of the nation?
Trump claims that waves of criminal immigrants pour into America through an “open border.” For him, the very existence of the nation is threatened, even though there is no actual armed invading force. Trump say immigrants have overrun Sanctuary Cities, even though its leaders are not calling for their liberation. His catchphrase is: A nation without borders is not a nation at all. However, the borders of the continental US have not changed in over 150 years.
Who's the enemy?
Trump depicts Mexico, our staunch ally, as our enemy. He defiantly claims that Mexico, the “second deadliest country in the world,” and that its leaders cunningly send the worst of its people to our nation. Trump’s own State Department contradicts him. It states that US/Mexico relations “are strong and vital"; that the two countries share extensive commercial, cultural, and educational ties; including $1.4 billion in trade; and yearly visits by 20 million US tourists and 14 million Mexican tourists. Still, Trump claims that building a wall is needed to protect the United States from its dangerous foe.
Who are the invaders?
Immigrant as criminal invader. The President identifies the immigrants as the invaders bringing drugs, disease and death to US communities. For him, these immigrants make up the “criminal gangs” who show no remorse as they kill innocent Americans. In fact, immigrants proportionally commit much fewer crime than citizens. Over 6% of US citizens are felons, while only 2% of immigrants are felons. Still, Trump regularly refers to the 98% of unauthorized immigrants who live productive otherwise lawful lives as “criminal aliens.”
Who are the victims?
The President repeatedly claims that all American citizens suffer mayhem and death from “criminal aliens.” He repeatedly names just 12 individuals (out of 320 million citizens) as the victims of immigrant violence. He says that US cities and town are overrun by immigrant crime, even though those municipal leaders and law enforcement officials reject his claims and insist on maintaining their Sanctuary City status.
But who's the hero?
The President presents himself as a savior to the American public, as he vows, “Find, arrest, jail, and deport” every criminal alien in the US. He also claims that he will bring justice to “every mom who has lost her child to illegal immigration”, by defunding Sanctuary Cities and building a Great Wall. His overheated rhetoric only fans the fear of foreigners; he is the hero fighting a fake war against an enemy that in reality his country’s close ally, against an invading murderous hoard that in fact is a peaceable hardworking portion of the US fabric. He is a demagogue.
What about latinos?
Trump employs the disparaging term, "anchor babies," for US Latinos. He expresses disdain toward these US citizens because they are the children of immigrants, and toward their heritage. He states there are too many US Latinos and seeks to limit their numbers by ending birthright citizenship, because they vote Democratic.