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The GOP War On Immigrants

June 25, 2018

Over the past several weeks, President Trump’s immigration policies have undergone an increasing amount of criticism, largely from immigration advocates among Democrats, but increasingly so from moderate Republicans and those GOP Members of Congress from states and Districts where immigration is a particularly thorny issue facing voters in the upcoming midterm elections. The President himself has been ratcheting up the brand of xenophobic, fear-mongering rhetoric he made famous during his political rallies in the 2016 Presidential campaign. His sometime arch-nemesis (at least with regard to the Mueller independent counsel probe), Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has for all intents and purposes been a steadfast point man in the battle to drastically curtail both illegal and legal immigration to this country, particularly where the US/Mexican border is concerned.

True to form, the Trump tactic of characterizing those seeking to immigrate from south of the border as rapists, bloodthirsty drug cartel henchmen is so far from the reality on the ground as to make far out science fiction and fantasy writers blush. In fact, as has been true for several years now, a large driving force behind a wave of refugees seeking refuge here via Mexico are not even Mexican. Refugees from El Salvador,  Guatemala and Honduras are fleeing repressive governments, lawlessness (often at the hands of cartels and drug gangs that refugees are being accused of being members of) and murderous violence which results in some of the highest murder rates on the planet.

The President has been able to gather together nightmare tales of violent murders of innocent American citizens at the hands of immigrants who did not gain lawful entrance to this country, but that belies the facts that all statistics indicate that such behavior is consistently more prevalent among natural born American citizens than it is coming from foreign nationals. He accentuates racist themes as well as fears that these people are coming here to steal jobs from hard working American workers. So he portrays himself as a protector of our national security, personal safety and jobs. The jobs argument is pure, unadulterated hypocrisy, as Trump’s companies (along with  those of many of his wealthy cohorts) regularly depend largely on temporary foreign labor to fill seasonal jobs at his various resorts, golf courses, etc.

In attempting to crack down on total immigration, he has further exacerbated the conditions under which his so-called illegal immigrants are forced to live once they get here after what is often a hazardous journey of over 1,000 miles by arresting the adults at the same time as they place their children under separate custody, often with no assurance that the families will be reunited promptly, if ever. This particular bit of callous cruelty has caused a great deal of protest and consternation on the part of many Americans, because we can easily imagine how we would feel and react to such treatment of ourselves and/or our children. Being an individual of little, if any, capacity to sympathize, let alone empathize with people of differing socio-economic circumstances than those to which he has become accustomed, it has taken a great deal of noise to force his to rethink his tactics in this regard.

Blaming Congress for failing to pass any sort of legislation reforming immigration law in this country is reaching for low-lying fruit. It’s true, Neither of the two Administrations preceding Trump’s managed to get significant reform legislation through Congress either. He doesn’t seem to even want it to pass Congress. The House is a disaster area when it comes to passing any form of immigration law. A sizeable chunk of the GOP caucus seems to be in the xenophobic mode of Trump, wanting a militarized border with a wall stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific to keep out his imaginary hordes of Hispanic invaders. Everybody knows there is no one single solitary border on the face of the earth that is secure without a wall. Just look at what happened when Gorbachev took Reagan’s suggestion and allowed the Berlin Wall to be torn down!

People fleeing from danger have a right to seek asylum in this country. They cannot be considered illegal immigrants for asking for it. They deserve a timely hearing on the matter, not indefinite detention and having their loved ones ripped from their arms. Give Trump his wall funding, every cent, and he’ll just ask for more border agents, ICE, military deployment. Even throw in a moat for good measure. It will bring a short term spike in construction jobs but still will neither make the border sufficiently secure to suit Trump and his base. It will also do nothing to alleviate the conditions which make life so perilous in Central America and elsewhere (I believe Trump refers to such places as Shithole Countries) that people are willing to risk everything to try to move to a safer place. It can be easily argued that American foreign policy and American-based multinational corporations are largely responsible for sad state of affairs in these countries to begin with.

To solve the immigration crisis this country has been facing for decades – and made measurably worse by the Trump/Sessions cruel and unusual tactics of race-baiting and denigrating whole groups of people falsely to gin up one’s political base and increase overall societal divisiveness astronomically is a common method for despots to reduce individual liberties for a country as a whole in the name of security and safety. Donald Trump needs to be given less power, not more. Our society requires a degree of compassion which he has never shown himself to be capable of administering in any aspects of his personal, business or political lives. This country has long prided itself on being welcoming to new people searching for a better life. They have always provided the country with positive contributions in every aspect of human endeavors. Closing the borders, refusing to help people who desperately seek refuge from tyrannical governments, religious and other forms of intolerance and economic destitution, has always been and shall always remain a mistake that will ultimately result in the sort of societal collapse it is purportedly designed to stave off.

Get out the vote in November. We need to take one giant step as a society to turn around the disaster that Trump and his all-too-willing accomplices seek to bring about in the course of fulfilling their promise to “Make America Greta Again”. That’s not what we need. We need peace and compassion, not deadly strife, cooperation and building, not competition that results in more deadly destruction. Tell Trump and his cronies they’re fired, not rehired to finish the job we never wanted done in the first place.

Suggested Further Readings:

I Married a Refugee

Where Are The Girls? The Small Children? The Babies?

Has Trump Overestimated the Cruelty of His Own Supporters?

Steve Doocy Compares Child Detention Center To A Farm

US poised to announce exit from UN human rights council

Trump: ‘You have to take the children away’

Trump’s Cowardly War on Immigrant Children

The Trump administration is now fighting in court for the ability to lock up kids with their parents indefinitely.

A task force will hunt down new Americans suspected of lying on citizenship applications

House vote on "compromise" immigration bill delayed until next week

A Shining ‘City On a Hill’ Must Treat Immigrants Humanely

Which Side Are You On?

Family Separation Reveals the Logic of Trumpism

Behind the Criminal Immigration Law: Eugenics and White Supremacy

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