Posts Tagged ‘immigration’

Occasionally, reading conservative websites is a fruitful endeavor. For instance, Sarah Quinlan wrote in Red State, “Laura Ingraham’s Comments Were Wrong In Every Way.” Fox News host Ingraham “lamented ‘massive demographic changes’ that have caused the end of the “America we know and love.”

While Quinlan loves the United States, she is not blind to the “shameful events — from the savagery of our early history, to slavery, to extrajudicial lynchings and implementing legal discrimination, to women being treated as second-class citizens.” She goes on at length about this.

“During Ingraham’s lifetime” – Laura was born in 1963 – “Americans of color have been repeatedly denied justice and forced to fight to receive the rights they were due. During Ingraham’s lifetime, women have had to demand to be treated as human beings in their own right…

“Is that the America that Ingraham wishes still existed? I find it utterly baffling that people express nostalgia for a pleasant, untroubled past in American history, because that has never truly existed…

“Ronald Reagan once promoted the belief that anyone can come to this country and become an American — which is possible here because America is an idea, not an ethnicity, and no American is more American than another based on birth, wealth, religion, political party, or race.”

It’s noteworthy that Ingraham criticizes “legal immigration and disparagingly refers to it as something that ‘of course progressives love.’ Since when did Republicans turn against legal immigration? Since when are Republicans against the idea of people legally coming to America in pursuit of a better life and the American Dream?

“Immigrants helped this country become what it is. And America endures because of the core American values that guide us, not because of what her people look like.”

“According to Pew [Research], 58% of Americans consistently say increasing diversity makes America a better place to live…Alex Nowrasteh, Senior Immigration Policy Analyst at Cato Institute says that “recent immigrants’ assimilation to American culture and values is doing ‘as well as or [on] a better pace of assimilation than previous immigrant waves….’

“Laura Ingraham’s comments…were despicable, and it is not virtue-signaling for me to point that out but rather simply standing up for what I believe is right; such comments should not be treated as normal or acceptable. When former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke is cheering on Ingraham’s comments, that’s a side that I do not want to be on.”

Unsurprisingly, other Red State contributors supported Ingraham. But as the Weekly Sift noted: Anti-immigrant rhetoric is an insult to your ancestors.

The timelessness of xenophobia. But there’s a strange thing about that rhetoric: It’s been part of American discourse forever. And most of us here today — including most of the white supremacists — are descended from those darker immigrants who supposedly would never assimilate…

The elasticity of Americanism. At every point in our history, the idea of American has stretched far enough to include past waves of immigrants, while still balking at the more recent ones. At every point, there has been a clear line between Them and Us, and every time the issues seemed totally different than what we had seen before.

Of course, it is White House adviser Stephen Miller who is the hand behind the regime’s current offensive policy “to make it impossible for many legal immigrants to become citizens or lawful permanent residents (green-card holders).”

Their offenses? Using public benefits to which they are entitled: Enrolling in Obamacare or the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or using food stamps or other social welfare programs.

David S. Glosser wrote Stephen Miller Is an Immigration Hypocrite. I Know Because I’m His Uncle. “If my nephew’s ideas on immigration had been in force a century ago, our family would have been wiped out.”

Ironically, The regime has denounced what he calls “chain migration.” His in-laws just became U.S. citizens by taking advantage of that program.

Ronald Reagan must be rolling over in his grave.

My old friend Catbird asked:

Hi Roger—

When I heard rump’s “maybe they shouldn’t be in this country” comment about football players staying in locker rooms the other day, I wondered if they’d “pass” the Comic Book Code of America. I remember you explaining this to me decades ago. I suppose it depends on whether anybody acts on it.

What do you think?

Might it be worth a blog item?

I hope all is well with you and your “bearers of two X chromosomes.”

It had not occurred to me, but I suppose both the Comic Code Authority (1954-2011) and the NFL owners’ new policy requiring on-field player and personnel to stand for the national anthem were both self-regulating actions designed to make the federal government leave them alone.

In the case of comic books, the industry was worrying, rightly, that the government might want to regulate it, to “protect the children.”It agreed submit the comics to a board for a stamp of approval. No excessive violence, no drug use shown, et al.

The owners of the NFL just wanted the bad press to go away – n.b., didn’t happen. They are worried about the bottom line, with ratings down substantially, although that may not be just a function of the anthem imbroglio.

There’s a more significant question you ask here: when DO we say in America, “My way or the highway?” Certainly, I’ve heard, “America, love it or leave it” a few times, usually when I was protesting some war, mostly Vietnam, but also Iraq. Yet, as I was wont to say, “I stay, and protest, BECAUSE I love America.”

When HAS the United States actually thrown people out of the country? In the past, not very often, in the vast scheme. It wasn’t until 2002 when the United States actually had an agency whose primary function appears to do just that.

As Full Frontal with Samantha Bee put it on May 23: “For Republicans looking to cut government fat, we found one bloated, cruel, and useless agency that is begging to be abolished. And no, ‘President’ is not considered an agency.”

It is, of course, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency. I appreciate it when the ICE agents remove some MS-13 gang member. But, much more often, they are seen as a source of terror in the immigrant community, even for those who are here legally.

As someone approaching Social Security, I find this problematic, not just from a moral and ethical position, but from an economic one. Driving out productive young people from the country is a recipe for federal fiscal disaster.

So, there’s a lot of bluster about people needing to leave the country. But it won’t be football players going. Unless they were born elsewhere.

One of the Rob Rogers cartoons that got him fired

On my way to a friend’s retirement party this past Flag Day, I came across a sizable demonstration of folks protesting the cruel and barbaric policies of the current regime, separating children from their parents at the border, including those coming to the border for sanctuary. If I wasn’t already engaged, I might have joined them.

The regime has cited the policy as a negotiating tool in congressional negotiations. It also has worked to block victims of gang violence and domestic abuse from claiming asylum.

Leviticus 19:33-34 “When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”

The Attorney General Jeff Sessions cited the Bible in defense of breaking up families. “I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order.”

The beginning of Romans 13 is fairly infamous, one of the passages used to defend slavery in the 1840s. The use of St. Paul to justify acts of cruelty is reprehensible, as he was an apostle not of laws, but of Christ.

Still, late night talk show host, and devout Catholic, Stephen Colbert noted: “If he just read a little bit further into Romans 13:10, it says, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.'”

Members of Congress protested the separation of families at the border. Congressman Joe Kennedy III (D-MA 4) recently said, “I don’t care what you believe, who you vote for or what you think about the nuances of immigration reform. These kids need to be with their parents, just like every child. That’s it. That’s all there is. Anything less is cruelty in its purest form.”

Ezekiel 47:22 “You shall allot it as an inheritance for yourselves and for the sojourners who reside among you and have had children among you. They shall be to you as native-born children of Israel. With you they shall be allotted an inheritance among the tribes of Israel.”

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.

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