Tag Archives: illegal immigration

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.


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.

‘Open borders’ becomes latest straw man

I have grown so-o-o-o weary of hearing Donald Trump and his political brethren continue to harp on those who allegedly favor “open borders” and allowing anyone to enter the country anywhere at any time.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has joined that amen chorus by declaring that those who favor “open borders” are chiefly responsible for the deaths of two children who were taken into custody after entering the country illegally with their parents.

Spare me. Please!

The “open borders” argument has become the president’s latest straw man. He holds it up and then knocks the stuffing out of it by insisting that his foes don’t favor border security of any kind.

Gad, man!

I can speak only for myself. I oppose The Wall. I do not favor “open borders.” I want border security as much as the president of the United States. I favor U.S. Border Patrol agents using whatever means they have available to them to arrest those coming in illegally.

I also want U.S. immigration policy to reflect a nation that wants to work with these folks if they are seeking asylum. If they are fleeing repression and hardship in their home country, then we should protect them. Deporting them to the place they are fleeing simply isn’t part of the American spirit.

Open borders? That is a red herring. It fuels a demagogue’s arsenal of fiery rhetoric.

Let’s not slam the door shut

Tucker Carlson’s intemperate blast at immigrants brings to mind an argument I have heard from others who share the Fox News talking head’s view.

Carlson had the bad form to say on the air the other day that immigrants make the country “dirtier” and “more divided.” Advertisers have been pulling out from Fox News sponsorships as a result of Carlson’s intemperate remarks.

However, he seems to speak on behalf of an alarming number of Americans who want the country to stiffen the standards for entry to all immigrants who seek to come to the Land of Opportunity.

I have sought to argue that it is patently un-American to slam the door shut on those who want in. The Statue of Liberty still invites the rest of the world to send us the dispossessed, those who “yearn to breathe free.” Yes, the president wants to build a wall along our southern border to stem what he describes as an illegal immigration “crisis.” I am not yet convinced that the “crisis” that Donald Trump alleges is any more severe now than it has ever been.

Then we hear from the likes of Tucker Carlson, who has a cable TV forum to spout the nonsense seemingly about all immigration.

I stand proudly as the grandson of Greek immigrants. Not a single one of them made this country “dirtier,” nor did they seek to “divide” themselves from the rest of the society they sought to join. They all became U.S. citizens. My maternal grandfather did so by enlisting in the U.S. Army in his quest to get into the fight in the waning days of World War I. His wife, my Yiayia, became a fervent U.S. patriot who idolized Presidents Kennedy and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

To be sure, my grandparents weren’t the only immigrants who found a better life. They weren’t alone in their quest for opportunity. They were among millions of others from throughout the world who sought and found their proverbial end-of-rainbow treasure.

Do these xenophobes actually seek to deny other immigrants the opportunity to become Americans by choice? How can they say the things they say, make arguments that Tucker Carlson echoed the other day, that immigrants make dirty the nation that traditionally has kept the light on for those seeking entry?

I will not tolerate that kind of bigotry. Nor should anyone else.

Immigrants built this nation. They continue to improve on what our forebears erected.

They are dirty? They divide the nation? Ridiculous.

‘Poorer’ and ‘dirtier,’ eh, Tucker Carlson?

Tucker Carlson fancies himself as a provocative commentator for the Fox News cable network.

His provocativeness is now costing his employers some serious dough. Sixteen advertisers have pulled out of supporting his nightly talk show on the Fox News Channel because of some remarkably intolerant remarks he made about immigrants.

He made some anti-immigrant remarks this past week without apparently qualifying them. He wasn’t talking about illegal immigrants. I guess he meant all of them.

Hmm. Strange, don’t you think? I wonder where Carlson’s forebears came from? Were they here when the Pilgrims landed? Or when Columbus landed ashore? Or when the Vikings were terrorizing the upper east coast in the 12th century? Um, probably not.

The advertisers are hitting Fox where it hurts, in its corporate pocket book.

I am not a fan of boycotts. As a rule, I don’t believe they work.

I wonder, though, whether these advertisers are going to teach Carlson — a youngish conservative firebrand — a lesson that sticks.

Finally, as the grandson of immigrants to this country, I take huge personal offense at any suggestion that my grandparents made this country dirtier and poorer when they came here in pursuit of a better life.

It ain’t the ‘Democrat Party,’ young man

I now want to pick a few nits with one of the right-wing wackos who works for Donald John Trump.

Stephen Miller, a senior policy guru for the president, says the administration will do “whatever is necessary” to build a wall along our southern border.

Oh, but then he relies on that goofy perversion of the identity of the opposing political party.

“The Democrat Party has a simple choice,” Miller said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “They either can choose to fight for America’s working class or to promote illegal immigration.”

Democrat Party? That’s what he calls the Democratic Party.

Hey, I get that it’s a minor point, but then again it really is more of a major point than the Rs would care to acknowledge. The hard-liners’ insistence on using the perverted ID of the Democratic Party is intended to demonize a great political organization. One does not hear such a thing coming from Democrats who might be inclined to refer to members of the “Republic Party.” That, too, would disparage — if not denigrate — the other great major political organization.

As for Miller’s assertion that Democrats might want to “promote illegal immigration,” that is another branch broken off from the demagogue’s tree. No patriotic American wants to “promote” illegal immigration. We all want border security. Many of us just don’t want to build a wall to seal us off from our neighbors.

Those Republican demagogues, though, are intent on demonizing the opposing party (a) by perverting the party’s name and (b) by suggesting they want to “promote” the commission of crimes.

Get serious, young man.

Who’s next, those who fled the Holocaust?

Donald J. Trump is expanding his campaign to rid the nation of political refugees, or so it appears.

The president now reportedly is taking aim at those who fled Vietnam during the war that tore that country apart. The Vietnam War! The one that ended in 1975 when the communists rolled into Saigon and took control of the country. They renamed the South Vietnamese capital city after Ho Chi Minh and set up a repressive government that rounded up those who cooperated with the United States and sent them to what they called “re-education camps,” which was a euphemism for “concentration camps.”

Now, more than four decades later, the president wants to round up many of those who came to this country and send them back to Vietnam. What in name of human decency has possessed this guy, the president?

According to The Atlantic: This is the latest move in the president’s long record of prioritizing harsh immigration and asylum restrictions, and one that’s sure to raise eyebrows—the White House had hesitantly backed off the plan in August before reversing course. In essence, the administration has now decided that Vietnamese immigrants who arrived in the country before the establishment of diplomatic ties between the United States and Vietnam are subject to standard immigration law—meaning they are all eligible for deportation.

Trump believes many of those immigrants have taken up lives of crime, corruption and assorted mayhem, that they pose a hazard to Americans.

Here’s what the White House needs to consider: Vietnam is still a hardline communist country. Many of those refugees who fled their homeland did so to avoid persecution by the government, which looked harshly on those who aided U.S. forces and diplomats during “the American war.” Returning them to Vietnam well might subject them to imprisonment — or worse.

Yes, we now have full diplomatic relations with our former battlefield enemy. Do we really want to imperil that relationship over a demagogic campaign promise to crack down on immigration, to “put America first”?

Don’t go there, Mr. President.