Methods: Using psychoanalytic constructs from Freud and Klein, we conducted a critical discourse analysis of media and policy representations of immigrants in recent news coverage in the United States regarding the Trump Administration’s response to (1) asylum claims related to domestic violence and gang violence and (2) undocumented immigrants. Our approach to critical discourse analysis was guided by Fairclough (2013)’s attention to the mediating link between ‘linguistic analysis’ and ‘social analysis.’ The former pays attention to micro details of language ‘realized in its semantic, lexico-grammatical, and phonological features’ (p. 291) and the latter pays attention to macro context of language – how this linguistic analysis is situated within contextual and governing social structures. This "mixed" approach to the discursive text analysis will be used to understand how the anti-immigration agenda is reified by recent US court rulings and government positions.
Findings and Conclusion: We illustrate how constructing the feared bad object/immigrants coincide with constructing the imagined good object/nationalism as exemplified by Trump’s motto – Making America Great Again (MAGA). We argue that this paranoid-schizoid position reifies racism under the guise of nationalism and discuss how social workers could work together toward the depressive position re-imagining America-as-the-whole. Critical scholars attest that the rise of right-wing governments around the globe deploy nationalist slogans (e.g., making America great again!), various anti-immigration policies (e.g., Sessions’ ruling), the ﬁght against terrorism or organized gang activities, (e.g., MS-13) in order to deflect away from inside troubles and “[turn] attention away from urgent issues, such as climate change, unemployment, inequality and racism” (Hirvonen, 2017, p. 250). Instead of turning away from our own wrong-doing done to racialized marginalized groups and ignoring chronic and urgent matters in the United States, including growing income inequality inherent in global capitalism, it would be critical to face with the fact that this whole picture is where we are here-and-now as a nation.