A post-COVID-19 “return to normal” implies a continuation of the very cultural, linguistic, and economic practices that precipitated the pandemic. Scholars of language and communication must do better.
The government and media call them “immigrant detention centers.” They are meant to be temporary holding facilities—up to 72 hours—for migrants and asylum-seekers crossing the southern US border. But the average length of stay has become much longer and the facilities have become overcrowded and unsanitary. In a word, the conditions are inhumane.
Trump’s immigration metaphors set a divisive tone from the top. His immigration metaphors do not constitute “plain speaking,” “strong language,” or “passionate debate,” nor can they be innocently excused as his “own style.” His language is textbook demagoguery, and his immigration metaphors help constitute our current sociopolitical moment.