States that voted for Trump have the lowest immigrant populations

Just three of the 16 states with immigrant populations above 10 per cent voted for Mr Trump in 2016

Clark Mindock
New York
Tuesday 22 August 2017 16:13 BST
A file photo shows Donald Trump speaking in Phoenix during the 2016 campaign
A file photo shows Donald Trump speaking in Phoenix during the 2016 campaign (AP)

President Donald Trump will touch down in Arizona for his first trip there since taking the Oval Office, and is likely to return to an old issue that helped to galvanise his base during his first campaign: Cutting back on immigration.

Paradoxically, however, the states that voted for Mr Trump in the 2016 election tend to have smaller immigrant populations than those states that broke for Democrat Hillary Clinton. Of the 16 states in the US where foreign born residents make up more than 10 per cent of the population, just Arizona and two other states voted for Mr Trump.

That’s according to US Census data, and may be explained in part by Democrat advantages among minority voters in general — whether native-born minorities, or naturalised citizens — but also appears to show that Americans with less exposure to minorities may be more suspicious of those groups.

“Their economies and communities are fully integrated with immigrants — across the skill spectrum. Therefore, they see and feel the benefits of immigration in ways that more culturally isolated states do not,” Ali Noorani, the executive director of the National Immigration Forum, told CNN of the split. “But even the more culturally isolated states are conflicted when you look closely… Most americans know and love the Jose or Mohammed they know, but are afraid of the Jose or Mohammed they don’t know.”

Since taking office, Mr Trump has overseen an expansion of criteria through which US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents can detain undocumented immigrants. While the administration publicly says that criminal aliens are the focus of deportation efforts, stories of ICE agents have picked up a significant number of non-criminal aliens during recent immigration raids.

Mr Trump’s immigration policies have also threatened so-called “sanctuary cities”, which instruct local law enforcement not to comply with federal immigration requests to hand over individuals suspected of being in the US illegally. It is unclear if the Trump administration will be able to find a way to withhold federal funding for those localities should they decide not to comply with federal requests, however.

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