“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.”
The words on the base of the Statue of Liberty, like those of our Constitution, were written in a different era (1883) and obviously need some modern interpretation.
We’re not accepting immigrants tired of working. We can’t make poverty a key qualification because we have our own poor to take care of. We do rescue public figures who are unjustly oppressed in their home countries but can’t throw the doors wide open for all the un-free of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador (the “Northern Triangle”),Venezuela, Libya, Syria and Iraq.
What we need is a coherent, consistent and practical immigration policy. The Trump administration toyed with this and that but nothing’s changed from the pre-2016 policies. We don’t have a wall. We do have DACA. Deportation rates are unchanged and federal raids to net illegal workers have petered out. Sanctuary cities have blossomed.
So Trump’s efforts haven’t satisfied those who voted for him mainly because of his immigration-reform promises. So he’s trying to have those here illegally ignored in the 2020 Census. He claims counting them for Congressional reapportionment is like giving them a vote.
Wrong. The Census counts children and felons who cannot vote, too. It counted women and blacks back when they did not have voting rights. The Constitution says a census shall be done every 10 years of “persons” in the country, not voting persons. Trump’s just stirring up the anti-immigrant crowd.
And there’s a reason why industry and agriculture oppose cutting off immigration — another Trump dogwhistle to whites: they need workers for the jobs that Americans see as beneath them, such as animal butchery and crop harvesting.
The people who clean my house are immigrants.
I feel not having a wall is better than having one. We need better southern border control but a wall creates an unflattering image of America as “walling itself off.” And walls don’t work. Genghis Khan breached the Great Wall of China twice (1211 and 1212) and brought down the Jin Dynasty.
We need a faster way to unite Central and South American and Middle Eastern people with family members already legally here. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees says 81% percent of Central American children left their home countries to reunite with family members in the United States or for economic or educational opportunities.
We should fast-track temporary worker visas. This has been at a near standstill for the past 5 years. Those people mainly work in agriculture and are essential in some states such as California and Florida. We use a small number here for coffee and macadamia harvesting.
Another group needing fast-track is immigrants forced to flee their home countries because of religious and sexual-identity persecution. U.S. law labels these immigrants “refugees” if they receive processing overseas or “asylees” if they apply in the U.S. Only about one in six people at our borders who assert a credible fear of persecution is awarded asylum by proving their case in immigration court. And those courts are clogged right now.
My point is that these legal pathways would divert billions of dollars in smuggling fees away from criminal organizations and eliminate the additional money spent on increasing Border Patrol interdiction or building a useless wall.
Trump or the next President should go back to having Customs and Border Protection process all of the asylum seekers at ports of entry. We’ve largely shut that down to discourage the lines there but that created more incentives for people to seek illegal entry.
We have developed what I call “cultural racism” — not based on skin color but on a supposed right to keep American open only to people who share our cultural values about religion, marriage and home life. That’s a recipe for stagnation and decline.
Reader comments (and objections) are always welcome here. I’d like to hear from more new participants rather than the same-old, who are always welcome, too.
And thanks to those who noticed my slip yesterday … it’s KEITH Amemiya, not Ron. Maybe I need one of those cognitive ability tests!!!