Posts Tagged ‘immigration’

Our first contestant in Ask Roger Anything -you may still participate! is Jaquandor, writer of fine books, who asks:

To what degree does the phrase “President Trump” still fill you with stunned disbelief?

It used to be about 11 on a scale of 10. Now it’s only 9.89. To this day, there are people who say I dislike him because my candidate lost. This is not at all the case. I never felt as though his predecessors lacked the ethos of being President, even when I vigorously disagreed with their positions, such as W on the Iraq war.

This guy, though, either doesn’t know how to be Presidential or actively chooses not to be. I never thought He goes on Twitter, finds a video of him hitting a golf ball and his shot “hitting” Hillary Clinton. So, like a juvenile, he retweets it.

He comes up with an unclever name for North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un, “Rocket Man” – isn’t that what he wants Kim to STOP doing? The New Yorker’s David Borowitz had some satirical fun with this: In War of Elton John Lyrics, Kim Jong Un Calls Trump “Honky Cat” .

And then Trump, possibly encouraged by his shrinking base, uses it AGAIN in his address to the United Nations. This appears to be the dangerous taunting by an adolescent.

And Kim’s use of the word dotard – “a person, especially an old person, exhibiting a decline in mental faculties; a weak-minded or foolish old person” – put many Americans in the uncomfortable position of wondering whether he was onto something.

His threatened withdrawal of the Iran nuclear agreement makes creating a deal with North Korea even more difficult. Since the United States agreed to VOLUNTARY benchmarks for our participation in the Paris climate change accord, the US withdrawal doesn’t even make sense. Our allies oppose our leaving the Paris accords, and most feel the same on the Iran deal.

Trump pardons a criminal sheriff, who violated hundreds of people’s civil rights. He declares that Nazis and white supremacists can be “good people.” Then he calls NFL players who kneel for the national anthem “sons of bitches” who should be fired. The NFL commissioner Roger Goodell rightly released a statement saying Trump’s comments are “divisive” and show a lack of respect for the league, the game, and the players.

His behavior, to borrow a term, is unpresidented.

He supports various pieces of legislation in Congress without seeming to have any idea what they mean. He said that Cassidy-Graham, the now-dead latest iteration of “let’s kill Obamacare”, was “better than the other bills” the Senate tried to pass in 2017. Given the fact that the new bill’s impact hadn’t been fully explored by the Congressional Budget Office, this assertion seems dubious.

His anti-immigrant positions have helped lead foreign students to choose to go to college in Canada, travelers abroad to avoid the United States and the DACA families to feel destabilized in the US. I won’t even get into the migrant farm workers who won’t be there to pick the crops.

His insensitivity towards Puerto Rico in its hour of need is not only appalling but possibly self-serving.

So, yes, it’s difficult to believe that any “normal” President could be so terrible so quickly. See The Seth Abramson Trump Tweetstorm.

There was a piece in our church bulletin recently about a dinner/fundraiser for a group called the New Sanctuary for Immigrants. I actually missed the notice, but my-eagle-eyed spouse caught it, and we went Saturday night to this church I passed literally thousands of times but had never entered.

The group assists immigrants with groceries, school registration, translation services health care, etc. It also retains the services of a local immigration lawyers when necessary.

The event ran from 6-8:30 p.m. When we got there at 6:15, the food was laid out. It was plentiful and delicious. There was a series of singers to entertain. I was only half listening, but one was Pride (in the Name of Love), the U2 song.

WE were sitting on a bench before some folks got up from a table, at which point we got to sit across from a man from Turkey, his wife from this area and their daughter. The woman told the frighteningly, irritatingly familiar story of traveling difficulties. One thing she noted was that she preferred traveling with him because they felt he was even more vulnerable traveling alone. I TOTALLY get that from some of my own experiences in racialized America.

I was talking Michael Rivest, the photographer of the above picture. He talked about how he felt “so… American being there.” I totally agree. Was it the melting-pot nature of the participants? I’m not sure, but it felt that our action being there was simple, yet important.

Coincidentally, I noticed that there was a story on NBC Nightly News on Sunday about the decrease in the number of undocumented people from Mexico, and an INCREASE from Asia, making the WALL useless.

I think about this issue, not just on a humanitarian level, but as a wide-eyed economic calculation. Obviously, the idea of sanctuary cities has created a disconnect, as this story points out. You WANT undocumented people to speak out about real crime, not sit silently.

I’ve mentioned previously the brain drain this country is developing, plus losses to some of the most prestigious colleges, when foreign students are afraid to come.

People don’t want to come to this America, costing the US billions. And many of these are western Europeans, less likely to be hassled. Xenophobia is expensive.

No wonder Canada is planting a privacy hedge along the entire US border. OK, not really.

But xenophobia IS leading to sped-up weddings — and prenups
Then Michael posted this on his Facebook, and he let me stealshare.

Last night’s class on Islam. I got talking to one of my students, a Muslim from Yemen, in the U.S. for two years. He’s a delight in my comparative religion course. I asked him if he was staying with family:
J: No, I have no family here.
ME: Have you been back to visit?
J: No, I had planned to go after this semester, when I will have the money, but I can’t now.

The reaction of the rest of the students was worth more than any three-hour lecture. He’s the first Muslim they’ve ever known, spoken with, laughed with. Now HE is normative for them, rather than a Bill Maher joke.
Without any prompting from me, they asked him to chant the Qu’ran’s opening surah. I took a seat. They were moved. So was he. Mission accomplished.

I came across these two items on the same day, both about New York State: Quiet Upstate Road Becomes a Busy Exit From U.S. and State troopers: Hate-crime incidents are skyrocketing.

Also, I’ve been reading a lot of stories of frustration concerning travel. Canadian citizen going to day spa in US turned away – needs immigrant visa; what, that can’t be right. Due to visa issues, a well-regarded band from Ireland were unable to play their concert recently near here. Even British visitors to the White House have been having difficulty. Khizr Khan said he’s been told his travel privileges are under review; he is the father of a fallen American soldier and huge critic of the regime.

It will only get worse. As a Holocaust scholar threatened with deportation asked, “Is The United States Still The United States?”

With Muslim bans, shunning refugees, purported border walls, cemetery vandalism , bomb threats, and shootings of the other, I worry that the message the world is receiving is You Are Not Welcome here. And THAT is a bad thing, for the United States.

From here:
“Foreign students disproportionately study STEM and business fields. Two-thirds of foreign students pursuing a bachelor’s or higher degree are in science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) or business, management and marketing fields, versus 48 percent of students in the United States…

“Forty-five (45) percent of foreign student graduates extend their visas to work in the same metropolitan area as their college or university.”

Much of the intellectual capital America needs, and has required for a good long while, has come from abroad. For instance, we’re facing a shortage of primary care physicians – and it’ll only get worse. The USCIS Will Temporarily Suspend Premium Processing for All H-1B Visa Petitions, which will hamper American industry.

If you were a scientist from India, and you saw not only bigotry but a blatant disregard for the value of information, and you think maybe that grant that would support your work might be dashed, part of the $54 billion that is supposed to be cut to support more military spending, would YOU uproot your life?

I’ve been told, more than once, that Americans will fill those roles, but there’s no evidence, at least in the short term, that it’s even remotely possible.

Plus there may be a slump in international tourism due to regime policies.

Ha, Mandy Patinkin Thinks He Can Change His Mind on Refugees, but the xenophobia, which hurts the United States, economically as well as other ways, may run too deep.

It’s Ash Wednesday, the first day of the holiest period on the Christian calendar. The news is on the TV. The previous evening, he gave a speech before Congress in which he exploited the misery of a Gold Star widow. Earlier THAT DAY, he threw his generals under the bus for the death of that Navy SEAL. “They lost Ryan.”

I wasn’t yelling, but was talking aloud, “You schmuck! You’re the Commander-in-Chief! The buck stops with YOU! You’re SUPPOSED to say, ‘WE lost Ryan,’ you @$$#01e!” This was loud enough that The Wife, who had been upstairs at the time, to comment that she heard that. She also opined that I’ve cursed more in the past three or four months than I have in the 20+ years since I’ve known her. And this is almost certainly true.

It has usually happened when he lies about his lies. Or when one of his surrogates does the same. I remember giving the finger to the TV when adviser Kellyanne Conway came up with the phrase “alternative facts.”

When Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz said that rather than “getting that new iPhone that they just love,” low-income Americans should take they money they would have spent on it and “invest it in their own health care” – as though that was anywhere near equivalent cost, I gave him a silent “Chuck you, Farley.”

I have mixed feelings about swearing. I don’t buy that “everybody does it, so it’s OK.” I know PLENTY of people who forego it, at least not publicly. Moreover, he is a well-known vulgarian, and I don’t want to stoop to his level. I do keep reading that swearing is actually a sign of more intelligence – not less, but that’s obviously NOT universally true.

In other religious topics:

* My presbyter (think bishop, but it’s not, really) Shannan Vance-Ocampo wrote about going through the immigration process with her husband. Beyond the personal agony of these stories, I worry that we’ll discourage people coming into the country who have long provided economic wealth to this country, such as students and scholars, because of our xenophobia.

* Ashraf Qandehari-Bahadorzadeh, Iran’s Mother Teresa, Passes away at 91. She’s the aunt of Darius Shahinfar, the Albany city treasurer, who I first met when we were schlepping our kids to the same preschool.

* Diane Cameron, who led a writing exercise I participated in nearly three years ago, has written her third book, Never Leave Your Dead – A True Story of War Trauma, Murder, and Madness. Initially, this was about a guy who was involved in a dismal US military (in)action barely hinted at in this narrative. She writes about how “war can inflict deep and lasting psychological wounds in warriors.”

She spoke at my church on a Friday night in February. “In March of 1953, Donald Watkins, a former Marine… who served in China during the Japanese invasion of 1937, murdered his wife and mother-in-law.” Some of her points she also shared in this December 2016 TEDx talk. Not incidentally, Donald Watkins, many years later, married Diane’s mother. Riveting stuff.

* I just got a flyer for Dr. Henry G. Covert’s book Ministry to the Incarcerated, “a vital resource for prison ministry. The contents include the emotional world of inmates, institutional challenges, models for prison ministry, biblical teaching outlines, penal reform, re-entry and aftercare… Ministry to the Incarcerated is available on Amazon, eBook, and Kindle.”

* The Day Ringo Starr Got Death Threats -for Being Jewish. September 1964: I had forgotten about this.

Angela Merkel is now the leader of the free world – the US President’s sole ideology is corporate autocracy with a populist facade

More than half of his voters say the nonexistent Bowling Green Massacre is proof his immigration ban is necessary. BTW, it never happened, and Kellyanne Conway’s remark wasn’t a slip of the tongue, as she has said it before

DMV Glitch Registers Green Card Holders to Vote

Yes, honorably-discharged veterans of the U.S. military have, under certain circumstances, either received deportation orders or been deported

If You Liked the Inquisition, You’ll Love the House Science Committee

How Each Senator Voted on Trump’s Cabinet and Administration Nominees

How to Become a Paid Protester

Americans Now Evenly Divided Read the rest of this entry »

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