I keep getting this feeling in my gut that Donald J. Trump’s insistence that we have an immigration “crisis” is a figment of the president’s imagination.
Or worse, it is a ploy he is using to curry favor with Americans who have this fear about immigrants of all stripes, legal or otherwise.
Trump keeps harping on the flood of immigrants pouring through our “open border” to do harm to Americans. He is managing to cast all immigrants in the same ultra-negative light: They’re murderers, rapists, drug dealers, sex traffickers, kidnappers.
Here’s the nasty part of it: Trump appears to be succeeding in this hideous effort.
The media are covering this “zero tolerance” story with zeal and aggressiveness. The children who have been separated from their parents and sent to something called “tender age” internment camps have broken our hearts. Former first ladies have issued statements condemning the practice.
I keep asking myself: Why? Why are we reacting with such hysteria over this story?
I heard a statistic the other day about how border crossings are down. Yet to listen to the president tell it, the nation’s southern border is awash in people pouring northward into Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.
I don’t spend a lot of time along the Texas border with Mexico, although I recently did travel to Laredo. My wife and I spent a few nights at a Texas state park along the Rio Grande River. We also spent some time on the road traveling southeast along the river.
What did we see during those few days along the border? We saw Texans going about their daily lives. We looked at families playing at parks. We saw people shopping. They were enjoying meals. They were walking their pets along city streets.
We saw life continuing at a normal pace.
We did not see a community in crisis. We didn’t see a region gripped by a flood of illegal immigrants/criminals.
This was two years ago. Has it changed dramatically since then?
I think not.
I also believe the president of the United States — who launched his first political campaign in 2015 with a pledge to curb immigration along our southern border — has created a crisis where none exists.