Tag Archives: illegal immigration

Immigration reform? Remember that matter?

The nation is getting all tangled up in this discussion over whether to build Trump’s Wall along our southern border.

Democrats and a growing number of Republicans don’t want it; Donald Trump’s followers — led by the cadre of talk-radio blowhards — are all for it.

What I am not hearing — maybe I’m not paying enough attention — is any serious discussion about how we might actually apply a permanent repair to the problem of illegal immigration.

How about turning our attention to serious immigration reform legislation?

We keep making feeble attempts at it. We get sidetracked and discouraged because too many members of Congress are resisting those calls for reform.

Then we hear about data that tell us that a huge percentage of those who are in the United States illegally are those whose work visas have expired. So, they arrive here legally but become illegal residents because those visas have run out. These one-time legal residence then are called “criminals” and “lawbreakers.” The become fodder for the president and his supporters to erect that wall along our southern border.

Can’t there be a concerted push to hire more administrative personnel for the Immigration and Naturalization Service to process these visas or to speed up citizenship requests from those who want to become Americans?

The president did offer a form of compromise during that partial government shutdown by suggesting a three-year reprieve from deportation for so-called Dreamers, those who were brought here as children when their parents sneaked in illegally. That’s a start. However, Donald Trump connected that idea with more money to build his wall, which made it a non-starter for those who oppose The Trump Wall.

So now the president has declared a “national emergency.” There is no such thing on our border with Mexico. The only “emergency,” it seems to me, rests with the interminable delays that occur when foreign-born residents’ work visas run out or when they seek citizenship to the Land of Opportunity.

How about getting busy applying a permanent repair to the problem?

Here is your ‘national emergency,’ Mr. President

Donald Trump keeps yapping and yammering about the “national emergency” he insists is occurring on our nation’s southern border.

I continue to doubt that such an emergency actually exists. I do know of an actual emergency that the president and his fellow Republicans keep ignoring.

It involves climate change, the meteorological condition known formerly as global warming. That emergency is real. It’s occurring 24/7. It is bringing harm to Earth, the only planet we are able to inhabit.

Here is a bit of good news. The Democratically controlled U.S. House of Representatives today had an actual hearing to discuss climate change. It was the first such hearing in about eight years. The GOP has controlled the House and it decided that climate change was a phony issue. It’s a “hoax,” as Donald Trump prefers to call it.

It’s not a hoax. It’s real. It is posing an existential threat to our coastal regions. It is putting our polar wildlife in dire peril. Polar ice caps are melting, creating a significant loss of hunting habitat in the Arctic for polar bears.

The hearings in Congress, which must continue, are meant to expose further the cause for this changing climate. Scientists from across the spectrum are arguing that human beings are a primary cause for the changing climate on Earth. Those carbon emissions are depleting oxygen, causing the atmosphere to warm at dangerous levels.

I know that’s at times a tough thing to swallow during winter months. The Upper Midwest is enduring frigid temperatures, causing climate change deniers to say, “See? We told you that climate change is ‘fake news.’ It’s phony. It ain’t happening.”

Except that it is happening.

Can we stop it? Slow it? Can we prevent Earth from suffering irreparable damage? Those, folks, are the questions we need to explore. I am glad to know that a change in the congressional command structure in one legislative chamber is going to elevate this discussion to where it belongs.

In support of a ‘nation of immigrants’

I am feeling the urge to stand once again in support of an ideal that occasionally gets lost in the hot-topic debating point of the moment.

We’re talking a lot these days about illegal immigrants. The discussion once in a while gravitates toward a discussion of all immigrants. Yes, even the foreigners who venture to our country legally get caught up in this discussion.

I am the grandson of immigrants. All four of them became great Americans. They came here of their choosing. They sought a better life than what they had in Greece and Turkey. They married — in this country — and brought 10 children into this world among them. Five of those children served in the U.S. military and of those five, three saw combat in World War II and Korea; my father was one of the WWII combat vets produced by the immigrants from Greece.

My story is not unique. It is one of tens of millions of stories that the immigrants and their direct descendants can and have told over the years.

That is precisely why I am mentioning it here.

It is that this nation of immigrants must not ever lose sight of its creation and the strength it has acquired from the work of those who came here and who built the nation we all love.

Yes, I know that many of those who came here from afar did not venture to our shores of their own volition. They were rounded up by slave traders and shipped across the ocean to become “property” of slaveowners. They obtained their freedom eventually while the United States was fighting a bloody and gruesome civil war over their enslavement.

Those Americans have become an important part of the national fabric. They achieved greatness.

This ongoing debate over whether to erect The Wall along our southern border is intended ostensibly to curb illegal immigration. In actuality whatever is occurring on our border is a longstanding event.

But as we keep yapping and yammering at each other over whether The Wall is worth the expense, we must take care to avoid that slippery-slope debating point that swallows up those who have ventured here lawfully.

I have heard it said over many years that we need to slam the door shut, that we have enough immigrants here already. Indeed, the president of the United States has talked openly about establishing a merit-based system that screens those seeking entry, allowing only those who possess the requisite skills to succeed in this Land of Opportunity.

That is as un-American a proposal as I can imagine, given the contributions that those four immigrants from southern Europe I mentioned earlier brought to this country. They weren’t well-educated. They didn’t come with special training or skill.

Instead, they all came to our land intent on falling in love with this great nation. They did. The nation was enriched by their presence.

Let us not forget that they are far from the only immigrants who can — and who have built — the greatest nation on Earth.

Where is the ’emergency,’ Mr. POTUS?

So help me, Mr. President, I am having a devil of a time trying to pinpoint where the “national emergency” is occurring on our nation’s southern border.

Is it along the Rio Grande River, which separates Texas from Mexico? I keep reading how safe El Paso has become sitting across the river from Juarez. Is it at Nogales or Yuma in Arizona, or at San Diego?

We keep hearing this stuff about how “illegal” crossings have declined. There’s also the number of immigrants we are deporting back to the countries of their origin.

You keep harping about a national emergency occurring on our border. You keep insisting you have the power to declare such an emergency and that you just might do so if congressional Democrats don’t fork over the billions of bucks you want to build The Wall.

Oh, but what the heck. You know that already.

What I and I’ll presume millions of other Americans want to know is this: How do you define an emergency and what evidence can you present that demonstrates that an emergency actually exists?

Look, Mr. President, I’m with you on the issue of border security. I want a secure border just as much as you do. Maybe more so, given that I live in a border state. You can scurry off to Florida or to New Jersey or New York City when you’re not holed up in the “dump” — aka the White House.

The Wall, though, is too expensive, it is too cumbersome, it is too fraught with legal complexities relating to eminent domain and Fifth Amendment guarantees of “just compensation” for property the government will have to seize from private owners.

Just settle on legislation that allows the expenditure of more money on technology we’re already using to secure our southern border, Mr. President.

I believe House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is good with that. So, let’s get it done. Do not declare an emergency, Mr. President, because I believe there is no emergency to declare!

Dreamers must be a part of this shutdown solution

Donald J. Trump has managed to return the so-called “Dreamers” to the top of our minds as he and Congress hassle with each other over how to resolve this idiotic partial government shutdown catastrophe.

The Dreamers are those U.S. residents who were brought to this country illegally by their parents. Most of them likely came here as children. Perhaps they were babies, toddlers, very young people.

They were granted special status by Barack Obama who signed an executive order establishing a rule called Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals. Donald Trump rescinded that order, effectively putting these DACA recipients on notice that they would be deported, sent back to the country of their birth.

The government is partially shut down because Trump wants to build The Wall along our southern border. Congressional Democrats oppose it.

Then the president offered to give DACA recipients a three-year reprieve from deportation provided Congress allocates $5.7 billion to build The Wall. He has inched a little closer to the other side.

The Dreamers need to be given a break. They are here because of an illegal act that their parents committed. These U.S. residents — de facto Americans — need not be punished because they were too young to refuse to follow Mom and Dad across the U.S. border illegally.

Trump, though, faces pressure from his far-right flank. Talk-show hosts hate the DACA rule. They want all these individuals who know no other country than the United States to leave this country. Their uncertain future? Big deal, the right-wing talkers say. It’s not their problem.

I want the Dreamers to get a break. I want them to live in the country of their parents’ choice without fear of being sent into the great unknown.

National emergency draws bipartisan criticism

Donald Trump might declare a national emergency.

His rationale is to spend $5 billion to build The Wall on our border with Mexico. The president cannot get Congress to approve it. So he has shut down part of the government. Now he’s considering whether to invoke some form of executive authority that a number of constitutional scholars believe is illegal.

OK, then. What happens now?

Congressional Democrats — no surprise there — are sounding the alarm. You can’t do that, Mr. President, they say. We’re going to sue. This is a reach way beyond the presidential grasp, they contend.

Oh, but wait! Congressional Republicans are sounding a note of wariness as well. None other than U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry, the former chairman of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee — and a committed Republican — says declaring an emergency and deploying military personnel to build The Wall is not in keeping with the Pentagon’s mission.

Other congressional GOP members want the shutdown to end. They want to reopen the government and they want to then resume negotiations to seek a solution to this border security matter.

The U.S. Constitution gives government funding responsibility to Congress. The president does have executive authority, to be sure. However, it remains an open question whether he can re-direct funds appropriated for defense needs to build The Wall that the president believes is a response to threats to our national security.

Except that there is no national threat occurring on our southern border.

Yes, we need to curb illegal immigration. The number of illegal immigrants crossing the border has decreased over many years. The president would have us believe that criminals are “pouring” into the country. They are posing an immediate threat to our national well-being, he says.

It’s a fantasy. Donald Trump is trying to keep a campaign promise he never should have made in the first place, but he did. Now he’s on the hook. He believes he needs to keep it.

I almost forgot! The most significant part of that pledge to build The Wall was that Mexico was going to pay for it. Mexico won’t pay, but Trump then declared in his 10-minute Oval Office talk Tuesday night that a new trade deal with Mexico is going to pay for The Wall. He didn’t say how that would happen. Hey, who needs details?

Donald Trump is flirting with an actual crisis of an entirely different kind if he declares that national emergency.

‘Because walls work’

Donald John Trump Jr. nailed it.

He posted this message via Twitter: “You know why you can enjoy a day at the zoo? Because walls work.”

Where do I begin? I’ll start with this: Don Jr. has issued — hands down! — the most preposterous argument yet in this discussion over whether to erect The Wall along our southern border.

He has, in the minds of many critics, compared illegal immigrants to lions, tigers and bears . . . oh, my! Yep. If we’re going to build walls that separate zoo visitors from vicious animals then we should do precisely the same thing to keep illegal immigrants from entering the United States of America.

I thought that Don Jr.’s dad’s assertion that movie stars, politicians (including former presidents) and the pope living behind walls took the cake for bodacious rationalization. I was wrong. The eldest son of the president has won the take-the-cake prize.

Should we care about what a president’s son has to say about this? In most cases, no. This fellow, though, has become a spokesman of sorts for the president of the United States. He pops off randomly to make some kind of point. He’s usually off base, but what the heck? He carries the name of the man elected to lead the world’s most indispensable nation. That, by itself, seems to lend a bit of misplaced gravitas to the idiocy that sometimes flies out of his mouth.

Illegal immigrants are not wild animals. They are human beings. They aren’t all scurrilous criminals. Most of them are seeking a better life for themselves and their loved ones. Indeed, most illegal immigrants are here legally already, but who have remained past the time their work visas have expired.

Donald Trump Jr. lends not a single constructive thing to this debate. However, his nonsense is worth a brief comment here because — dare I suggest it — he well might be echoing the views of his father.

Disgusting.

The Wall is too costly, obsolete and utterly unnecessary

OK, I now intend to get ahead of the president of the United States, because I pretty much know what he’s going to say when he speaks a little later to his fellow Americans.

He’s going to say we need to build The Wall along our southern border to stop what he says is a horde of terrorists seeking to enter the country illegally. He is going justify the $5.6 billion expense by saying that the alternative is “open borders,” which no sane American wants. Donald Trump is going to foment fear among Americans by declaring that we have to stop this phony menace and he is considering whether to declare a national emergency to do that very thing.

The Wall is a fantasy cooked up by a first-time political candidate in June 2015 when he rode down an escalator and declared his intention to run for the presidency. It drew cheers and hosannas from the faithful.

The Wall won’t do what Trump intends for it to do. It won’t stop illegal immigrants from seeking to enter the country. It won’t stave off any illicit drug traffic. It won’t deter bad guys from doing harm.

As others have noted, we have technology these days that we can deploy: drones, electronic surveillance equipment to name two weapons at our disposal. We can hire more Border Patrol officers and deploy them at entry points identified as most troublesome by federal, state and local authorities.

The threat of terror is overhyped in the extreme. The president is using phony numbers to illustrate what he calls a national crisis. He has told his administration to follow his lead. They are telling falsehoods. They are demagoguing the issue, frightening Americans.

The Wall is a phony remedy to a problem that exists, but not to the extent that Donald Trump keeps insisting that it does.

He will go on the air tonight to tell us our nation is in dire peril from the hordes of rapists, murderers, drug dealers, sex traffickers and international terrorists who, more than likely, are “radical Islamic extremists” packing bombs and assorted weapons of mass destruction.

All the while, part of the federal government remains shuttered. Hundreds of thousands of federal employees are in danger of missing mortgage payments, child support payments or credit card payments because they are furloughed — without pay.

Why? Because the commander in chief wants to build a “big, beautiful wall” that won’t do a damn thing.

Whether to believe anything POTUS will say

I am staring a serious quandary squarely in the face.

Donald John Trump will speak to the nation tonight about whether to erect The Wall along our southern border.

I plan to watch him. I plan to listen to every word he says. My quandary is this: How much of it will I believe?

All Americans know — or should know — that this president is arguably the most pathological liar ever to hold the nation’s highest office. He cannot tell the truth even when the truth would play better than a falsehood.

He wants to build The Wall because, he says, the nation is being invaded by terrorists sneaking in across our border with Mexico. The figures belie that allegation. He’ll say it anyway. He is considering whether to declare a national emergency, which he says would allow him to reallocate money to build The Wall without congressional approval.

I’ll watch, listen and ponder what he says.

I also plan to watch the response that will come from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer. They’ll seek to refute whatever the president declares.

I am on their side in this fight. We don’t need a wall to secure our border. The president has decided that The Wall is enough of an issue to shut down part of the federal government.

However, I just cannot believe anything he says . . . about anything!

Knock off the ‘open borders’ demagoguery

I am going to declare a form of rhetorical war against those who keep insisting that those who oppose building The Wall along our southern border favor “open borders.”

Open borders . . . shm-open borders.

The nation’s demagogue in chief, Donald Trump, keeps harping on that mantra. He is wrong to say it. His true believers are wrong to buy into it and repeat it. Trump is wrong to push for The Wall. He is wrong to suggest that The Wall is the only way to make our nation more “secure” from undesirables seeking to enter this country illegally.

What’s more, he is wrong to demonize every single illegal immigrant in the manner that he’s done. He is wrong minimize the asylum-seekers who are fleeing repression, corruption and personal threats to their lives in their own countries.

It is the “open borders” canard that sends me into orbit.

To suggest that those who oppose The Wall somehow favor a security-free border gives demagoguery a bad name.

I am one American who opposes The Wall. Do I favor stronger border security? Of course I do. So do many other Americans who believe as I do. We want the nation to be a place that enforces immigration laws strictly but also is a welcoming place for those who seek freedom and a better life for themselves and their loved ones.

We can protect this country by enhancing existing security measures: drones, electronic surveillance, more Border Patrol officers.

The president simplifies a complex issue by dividing us into two camps: those who favor The Wall vs. those who oppose it.

I am sickened by the demonization and demagoguery the president keeps spewing, not to mention the parroting of that hideous rhetoric by his allies in Congress and those rank-and-file Americans out here in Flyover Country.

We all love this country. We all want to protect it. We simply differ on the best way to do it.

The Wall is a boondoggle, pure and simple.