On Sunday, President Trump used a well-worn racist trope to attack progressive Democrats who are frequent objects of his ire. “Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,” Mr. Trump said in one of a series of posts on Twitter.
The attack was aimed at four first-term House Democrats who have also been feuding with their party’s leader, Speaker Nancy Pelosi: Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts. But only one of them, Ms. Omar, was born outside the United States (in Somalia); Ms. Tlaib is the daughter of Palestinian immigrants.
The slur brought immediate denunciation from politicians, along with a flood of memories for many people. I am a Latina who was born in California and have been told to “go back” — I’m not sure to where — more times than I can remember. My former colleague Michael Luo, now an editor at The New Yorker, wrote about a searing experience in 2016 when a woman shouted “go back to China” at him and his family after church in Manhattan. (He was also born in the United States.)
On Sunday, Victor W. Hwang was one of many people on Twitter recounting similar experiences. “I’m the son of immigrants, a woman who escaped communism, a father who pulled himself up from nothing,” Mr. Hwang wrote. “I get this nation in a way that many people never will. I love America and everything it means for the world. And I belong here.”