“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.

Source: US Dept. of State

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!!!

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Published by Bob Jones

Journalist since age 19. St. Petersburg Times, Noticias y Viajes in Madrid, Overseas Weekly in Frankfurt and Paris, the Louisville Courier- Journal, the Honolulu Advertiser, KGMB-TV, NBC News foreign correspondent in Africa and Southeast Asia, and MidWeek columnist. LL.B LaSalle University Law. 3 years in the U.S. Air Force. Covered: Vietnam War, Iraq #1 in 1991. George Foster Peabody Award for distinguished journalism for reporting in China. Married to Denby Fawcett, one daughter. Brett Jones.

4 replies on “Failed Immigration Policy”

  1. Love your blog. Is there a way to view the comments people leave? I don’t see comments coming up as an option… Wait, I see a box to check below. I think I’ve answered my own question. Will try to make more intelligent comments in the future now that I’ve signed up to do so!

  2. Hele on, Bob! Your thoughts are centering. I go to Rachel Maddox and Gov. Cuomo’s broadcasts to experience the same kind of intent to face events straight on with as much humanity as possible. This is the best I can do; English 101 was not my strength. Bob, thanks for this column!

  3. A well-thought out plan, Bob. But as a realist, you have to face up to the simple truth that it’s unlikely we will see any real, comprehensive, fair immigration reform in our lifetime. Why? Simple, because like banning personal ownership of machine guns and tanks, the members of Congress have neither the will nor the guts to confront this issue. Reform will require hard, honest choices. Since our Congress is made up of poll-takers, the best you can expect are a few band-aids.

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