Tag Archives: illegal immigration

Why punish DACA recipients for their parents’ ‘sins’?

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is in the news again. Indeed, it never seems to go away largely because some in Congress want to eliminate an executive order that President Obama signed in 2012.

For the life of my I keep asking: Why must we punish law-abiding U.S. residents for something their parents did when their children were too young to resist?

Obama signed the DACA order to protect those who came here as children when their parents entered the United States illegally. Many of those DACA recipients came here as infants or toddlers. Mom and Dad entered the United States in search of a better life. They just didn’t get into the country legally. They snuck in under the proverbial radar.

Over the years, many of those children grew into responsible adults in the only country they knew as young adults and older. They were educated in our schools, they attended college, they graduated with honors. They went to work. They have paid their taxes. They have lived as de facto U.S. citizens, except that they’re here illegally.

Barack Obama intended to protect them from immediate deportation, enabling them a path toward obtaining citizenship or at minimum permanent resident status.

Then Obama left office. In comes Donald Trump, vowing to eliminate the DACA order. He did so. He ordered the immediate deportation of these individuals. Why? Because in the strictest definition of the word, they are “lawbreakers.”

I admit — albeit grudgingly — that Trump is right. Technically, that is. The more humane approach would be to extend DACA benefits for those who came only because of something their parents did.

A federal court panel has just ruled that Trump’s order rescinding the DACA order was “arbitrary and capricious.” The president is sure to fight it.

I just am baffled that the administration continues to insist on punishing U.S. residents only because they happened to be born to individuals who sought to skirt U.S. immigration law in search of a better life for their families.

I’ll divulge a little secret about Donald Trump’s Cabinet. It happens to include a gentleman — Energy Secretary (and former Texas Gov.) Rick Perry — who once touted the notion of allowing DACA recipients to pay in-state college tuition prices, the same as any resident of Texas. So, you see, Trump hasn’t surrounded himself totally with heartless ideologues.

If only he would listen to others in his administration who share Rick Perry’s view that DACA does more good than harm for the United States of America.

Sanctuary cities to become cudgel for POTUS?

Donald Trump has no sense of decency. None. Nothing, man!

He now is threatening to send illegal immigrants to those so-called “sanctuary cities” as a cudgel to batter congressional Democrats he says refuse to enact any meaningful improvements to the nation’s immigration laws.

Wow! How do you fathom that a president of the United States would actually do such a thing? If you can, then you’re far better than I am.

Sanctuary cities, you’ll recall, are those communities that establish themselves as “sanctuaries” for illegal immigrants. Texas legislators two years ago passed a law banning such cities in this state. Truth be told, I am not a fan of sanctuary cities, either. The policy does little if anything to advance the cause of immigration reform, which, by the way, is what many congressional Democrats are seeking instead of the ham-handed approach that the Trump administration is taking to combat the issue of illegal immigration.

Indeed, this threat to send undocumented immigrants to sanctuary cities is a profound demonstration of the heartlessness that Trump exhibits every single day as president of the United States of America.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra — a former member of Congress — calls the president’s threat a sign of “vindictiveness” reminiscent of the Watergate era.

I agree with him. Good grief, Mr. President, sit down with your foes and start working seriously and diligently on a comprehensive plan to reform our nation’s immigration system.

We’re ‘full,’ says POTUS; France, we don’t need the Statue

I hope you’re able to see this blog post all the way over there in France, President Emmanuel Macron.

Donald Trump has declared the United States of America to be “full.” That’s right, the president of this country says we have no more room for immigrants who are “yearning to breathe free.”

So, with that, Mr. President, I want to invite you take back the Statue of Liberty. Your French forebears delivered to this country a marvelous gift in late 1880s. We got that statue. It was dedicated in New York Harbor in 1886.

I know you’re aware of this, but I need to remind others that the statue came to this country in pieces. We had to assemble it on this side of The Pond.

That was then, Mr. President.

Donald Trump is trying to eliminate illegal immigration. He wants to build The Wall along our southern border. The president wants to overhaul our nation’s process for accepting those who seek asylum. In other words, he wants to make it much more difficult for those to obtain it when they enter this nation.

He now declares that we’re “full.” He didn’t stipulate whether he meant “full” only to those seeking illegal entry. I am left to presume that he tossed that warning to the legal immigrants as well.

If that’s the case, Mr. President, our head of state has rendered the Statue of Liberty useless. It serves no purpose. It cannot welcome those who seek a better life in this country because — as Donald Trump says — we’re full. We have no room at the proverbial inn.

Don’t misunderstand, Mr. President. My wife and I are two of the millions of tourists who have seen the statue up close. We both derived great joy in seeing this welcoming symbol. We drew strength from it.

That invitation to send us “The wretched refuse of your teeming shore”? Forget about it! We don’t need anyone’s “wretched refuse.” Trump wants to raise the bar for legal immigrants, too. You’ve heard about that one, right?

And, hey, he knows of which he speaks. Our president tells us repeatedly that he knows everything about everything. He reminds us that he’s the smartest man in human history. I am sure he’s told you the same thing.

I don’t know about you, Mr. President, but I believe our president when he makes those boasts.

My advice to you would be to disassemble the Statue of Liberty and take it home. Maybe you can repurpose it, give it to some other nation that symbolizes the welcoming theme inscribed on the pedestal of the statue.

Oh, but good luck finding that nation.

Homeland security boss out . . . yawn!

Kirstjen Nielsen is out as secretary of homeland security.

What in the name of governmental competence am I supposed to make of it?

She tussled with Donald Trump over immigration policy. I am trying to grasp what precisely caused the president’s homeland security honcho to resign — effective immediately.

Indeed, the immediate departure tells me that she pushed out the door. Reports indicate that Trump flamethrower Stephen Miller, the senior policy adviser from hell, has been engineering a top-to-bottom overhaul of the Department of Homeland Security.

Truth be told — if you want to call it that — is that Nielsen learned to lie as clumsily as Donald Trump. She had trouble justifying the parent-child separation policy the Trump administration enacted in its hideous effort to curb illegal immigration. Oh, and then this homeland security secretary of Scandinavian descent just couldn’t bring herself to acknowledge that Trump favors immigrants from that part of Europe over those who hail from “sh**hole” countries in Africa.

Now comes word that Trump wants to get even tougher on illegal immigration. So I guess Nielsen wasn’t quite on board. Is that so?

So the president has named an acting homeland security secretary, who will join the ranks of acting defense secretary, acting White House chief of staff, acting United Nations ambassador, acting interior secretary, acting EPA administrator.

Holy cow, man! The “best people” with whom the president surrounds himself keep heading for the tall grass.

Cutting off aid will stop migration? Really?

I need someone to explain to me how this is supposed to work.

Donald Trump says the United States of America is going to cut off aid to three Central American nations — Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras — because too many people are fleeing those countries; they want to enter the United States illegally.

The aid totals something around $450 million.

So, they are fleeing their countries because their living conditions are so horrible they no longer consider them safe havens. They are plagued by gang violence. These individuals, whole families, are fleeing to escape.

Isn’t this so-called strategy only inflaming the problems that are causing people to flee? Is the president directing his punitive measures in the wrong direction?

I agree with the president that government officials in those countries need to do more to crack down on gang violence. Isn’t this where diplomatic pressure could be put to good use? Talk to these officials, offer them the best assistance we can provide. Work with them; do not cut them off and then walk away.

This foreign-aid cutoff, though, seems counterproductive — not to mention counterintuitive. 

Is the president simply playing yet again to his base that seems to believe we “spend too much” on foreign aid already?

That is what it looks like to me.

Border shutdown does more harm than good

Donald Trump wants to make good on his boast that he intends to stop illegal immigration altogether, no matter what, no matter the measure he intends to implement.

So now he’s threatening to shut down the southern border. All 2,000 miles of it. From the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico. From California to Texas. He’s gonna shut ‘er down!

OK, but at what cost?

The trade that flows between the United States and Mexico contributes billions of dollars each year in income for businesses in both countries. I long have thought that Mexico was a good neighbor.  I still do. The president of the United States acts as though Mexico is that annoying next-door neighbor who plays his music too loudly or whose dog poops on his yard.

You may spare me the comments uttered by Jeh Johnson, homeland security secretary in the Obama administration who says the border crossing numbers have reached a crisis proportion.

Shutting down the border isn’t the way you fix a problem. You don’t punish an entire nation the way Trump wants to punish Mexico. Make no mistake, the damage he intends to inflict on our southern neighbor is going to ripple into four border states: Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.

He wants Mexico to stop the immigrants traipsing through its land from Central America. They can stop it, he says. If they don’t, he intends to shut down the border. “I’m not kidding around,” the president said.

I get it, Mr. President.

It’s not going to stop the drug flow that comes into this country through legal ports of entry. You know, airports and maritime docks . . . those kinds of places. Indeed, that’s where most of it enters the United States, not on the backs of asylum seekers fleeing repression in Latin America.

Send in more agents. Deploy more technology. Round up illegal immigrants, frisk ’em and then send the bad guys back. I have no problem with that.

I simply refuse to acknowledge the existence of a phony “national emergency.” It doesn’t exist. Shutting down the border is a solution in search of a problem.

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!