Tag Archives: immigration

Charm offensive doesn’t always work

KAMLOOPS, British Columbia — We entered this beautiful country aboard our pickup and hauling our fifth wheel through a thinly traveled checkpoint just north of Bellingham, Wash.

We were ready for the inquisition we expected from the Canadian border security personnel. We presented our passports … and then the inquiry began.

Why are you coming to Canada? You’re headed for Kamloops … why did you pick that city? Do you know anyone in Kamloops? How long do you intend to stay in Canada? Where do you live in the States? Do you have any guns with you? Are you aware that bringing guns into Canada is illegal?

We were advised before our arrival at the border that fresh produce wouldn’t be allowed into Canada. The young woman didn’t ask if we had anything like that aboard. Whatever. We didn’t.

The border security guard asked us many of the same questions more than once. I sought to be usual charming self with her. It didn’t take. She wasn’t having any of it.

She asked us when we intended to get back home. My answer: Hey, we’re retired. We’re going to head for the house whenever we feel like it. I said it with a broad grin; the border security agent didn’t smile back.

We understood precisely why these individuals ask these questions and why they repeat themselves. They look for any rattles in our answers. They are trying to get a rise out of us.

In the moment, I was thinking of how my wife and I went through airport security a decade ago at David Ben-Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel. Talk about intense grilling! The young man asked us seemingly dozens of times the same set of about eight or 10 questions, looking for us to get jumpy. We didn’t flinch. We cleared airport security just fine and were on our way home.

We got a first-hand look at precisely how the Israelis have prevented jetliner hijackings and terror attacks at their main international air terminal.

Moreover, we got a smattering of that treatment while crossing into this beautiful country just north of the United States of America..

Immigration fight has taken a dangerous turn

You can count me as one American who believes the Donald Trump administration has declared war on immigrants who aren’t blond, blue-eyed, fair-skinned, well-to-do, well-educated.

This is a frightening occurrence as this president has ramped up his fight against those who seek to come here from sh**hole countries.

The administration is seeking to implement policies that exclude those who come here in search of a better life. There is a growing discussion that the administration is now targeting Latin Americans, those from Africa, those from certain countries in Europe, those from South Asia.

My goodness. How does one cope with this?

I am not coping well.

All this discussion we’re hearing about that Emma Lazarus poem welcoming the world’s dispossessed, the wretched and the poor “yearning to breathe free” is making me tremble. If this is the direction the president wants to take this country, then we are heading into dangerous territory, indeed.

I keep thinking of that young policy adviser, Stephen Miller, who has had Trump’s ear since the beginning of the administration. Miller is looking more like the architect of this hideous policy. This zealot has said more than once in public that the nation is too generous, too welcoming, too open in its history of welcoming foreigners to our shores. He wants to change it. He wants to slam the door shut. He wants to deny entry to those who want the United States to lend a hand to them as they try to build new lives in the Land of the Free.

Indeed, the president himself has said that “it’s not fair” for American taxpayers to pay for those who come into this country.

What? Does the president want to toss aside the entire ethos on which this country has been built?

We must not become a nation of snobs.

Immigration battle bordering now on the absurd

The Donald Trump administration now wants to make legal immigration more difficult for those who want to enter the United States.

You got that? The fight to stem the flow of immigrants has spread to those who play by the rules, abide by our laws and want to work hard to craft a better life for their families.

That’s so very American of the president, yes? Actually, no! It isn’t. It is as un-American as damn near everything he has said or done since taking office.

What’s more, here is where it gets absurd. I saw a social media meme that said the following: Trumpsters yell immigrants are freeloaders, but ICE always raids workplaces. Strange …

Yes. It is strange.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement raided those food processing plants in Mississippi on the same weekend as the El Paso and Dayton massacres. They arrested hundreds of undocumented immigrants. then released many of them almost immediately.

As the meme notes, though, ICE is busting those immigrants who are working for a living, not the so-called “freeloaders” whom Trump insists are “infesting” our nation.

As the grandson of immigrants who came here in the early 20th century with virtually nothing, I resent this abhorrent trend that’s playing out.

All four of my grandparents had little formal education. They sought to build good lives for themselves and their children. I wonder at this moment if they would have qualified for entry under the rules being laid out by Donald Trump.

The absurdity of this debate is astonishing.

Immigrants become newest No. 1 ‘villain’

I have just read the screed that someone — allegedly the young man who killed all those folks in El Paso — posted on some anti-immigrant websites.

Whoever wrote it speaks angrily about immigrants. Not “illegal immigrants.” The author talks about all immigrants. That would be anyone who wants to come into this country. Not just those who sneak in under the radar, who break the law because they are fleeing someone or something in their home country.

I believe it likely will be determined that the screed comes from the individual who slaughtered those 20 victims in the El Paso Wal-Mart complex. What, then, do we make of this individual’s motivation? From where does it come?

I’ll pose this question: Does it come from a president of the United States who has referred to nations in Africa and in Latin America as “sh**hole countries”? It was that statement, made reportedly in a private staff meeting at the White House, that revealed Donald Trump’s antipathy to people of certain ethnic and racial origins.

He wasn’t referring to “illegal immigrants” when he blurted out that statement. He was referring to anyone from nations he likened to being covered in fecal matter.

Have we just witnessed the consequence of this heartless rhetoric?

‘Screed’ might lead authorities to massacre motive

Our hearts are broken. Our heads are spinning. Our minds are trying to comprehend this latest spasm of gun violence.

However, some information is starting to leak out and, oh brother, it is frightening on many levels.

Officials are reporting that 20 people were gunned down today at a Wal-Mart complex in El Paso, Texas. Many others were injured; there might be more fatalities to report.

Police have arrested one man. He will be charged with capital murder. I won’t identify him, maintaining my blog policy of keeping the identity of these mass killers out of readers’ eyesight.

What have we learned about this moron? He reportedly posted a screed and distributed it on virulently anti-immigrant websites. Police haven’t yet determined whether the shooter posted the message. Whoever wrote this essay talks angrily about immigrants who are coming into this country and taking jobs away from Americans. It looks to me that the likelihood of a connection between the anti-immigrant message and the young man held in connection with the massacre will be determined.

What in the world does one conclude about such a message and the tragedy that exploded in El Paso?

I’ll draw one obvious conclusion. It is that the shooter, who lives in Allen, a Dallas suburb, was spurred allegedly by intense hatred of immigrants. Hmm. Why do you suppose he was driven to act on that hatred? How can we fail to connect such motivation to the kind of political rhetoric we’ve been hearing over the past two or three years from, oh … let’s see … Donald John Trump.

The screed that’s been discovered is similar to the document that led to the Christchurch, New Zealand massacre at the mosque. There reportedly have been other such essays posted on websites around the world.

If it turns out that the screed and the massacre are linked, then we have a crystal clear message that needs to land in the Oval Office. It is this: Mr. President, you must cease fanning the flames of hatred with your anti-immigrant rhetoric. 

Trump’s attack on ‘Squad’ should surprise no one

It is as clear as it can get, given Donald Trump’s history with political opponents.

We shouldn’t be the least bit surprised that the president of the United States would allow a political rally crowd to shout “Send her back, send her back!” when referring to four congresswomen who oppose his views on immigration and a host of other policies.

After all, this is the same individual who let earlier campaign crowds bellow “Lock her up!” when referencing Hillary Clinton’s email problems during the 2016 presidential campaign.

So we fast forward to the present day and crowds are now yelling “Send her back!” Trump’s response? He allows the crowd to shout its displeasure.

This is frightening. The four House members are women of color. The president has targeted them in what I believe are racist Twitter messages, saying they were free to leave the country he said they “hate … with a passion.”

Go back to where they came from? Three of them were born in the United States. The fourth is from Somalia. Yet she emigrated here when she was 12 years of age. Ilhan Omar became a U.S. citizen and then was elected to the House in 2018.

Donald Trump is acting far more like a cult leader than the leader of a nation full of religious, ethnic, racial diversity. For the president to stand silently at a North Carolina campaign rally while a crowd shouts “Send her back!” is despicable on its face.

However, it shouldn’t surprise anyone who has been paying attention to this guy’s modus operandi. 

Yes, this individual’s MO is to sow seeds of fear and division and then feed on the harvest he reaps. “Send her back!” has just replaced “Lock her up!” as the mantra of the moment. Due process? Who needs it?

For the president to say, as he did today, that he disagrees with the chant that his followers yelled is to lie to our faces once again.

Hello, demagogues? Stop yapping about ‘open borders’

I want to call out the right-wing demagogues who appear to be winning the argument about what those who oppose their immigration “policy” believe should be done.

The righties — led by Donald J. Trump — keep yammering and yapping about how Democrats favor “open borders” in lieu of the tragedy that is unfolding along our nation’s southern border.

Oh, sure. There might be a few on the far, far left who talk about “open borders,” preferring to let migrants into the country with no penalty. The rest of the Trump administration’s critics, though, are talking instead about “de-criminalizing” illegal immigration and making the act a “civil” matter.

Does that constitute an “open border” policy? No. It does not!

I am one of those Trump critics who has been saying all along that increased border security can be done without building a massive, expensive and impractical wall along our nation’s southern border. Of course, the president’s pledge to make Mexico pay for the wall is fading rapidly onto the trash heap full of unkept campaign promises.

My point is that the demagogues must be called out for lying about what the vast majority of their opponents want regarding immigration policy.

I among those who favor increased technological enforcement. I also favor more Border Patrol officers deployed along our border. State and local law enforcement could use increased federal support as well.

I do not favor “open borders.” Nor do the majority of those who argue against the detention centers along our border. Those who are calling attention to the horrific conditions being foisted on migrant families — especially the children — are not arguing to throw the borders wide open.

The demagoguery and fearmongering must end.

Immediately!

Where is the compassion from POTUS? Oh … wait!

Donald J. Trump is demonstrating what many of us have believed all along about the president of the United States.

He lacks compassion or any semblance of understanding of other people’s suffering.

The crisis along the southern border involving the detention of those migrant children offers a vivid example of that absence of compassion.

When asked about the matter, the president is incapable of expressing any form of sincere pain or anguish over what is transpiring. Instead, he diverts blame, contending — with more lies — that President Barack Obama established the policy of separating children from their parents and detaining them in squalid facilities along our border.

He issues a warning about mass deportation, then pulls back on the threat and gives Congress two weeks to work out a political solution. Is he offering any recommendation? Is the president’s homeland security or national security team providing any guidance? Have they laid out a template for a solution?

No! He is posturing, tweeting and bellowing about how the nation’s economic health is luring migrants across our borders “illegally.”

I want the president to deliver some indication that actually cares about those children. I want him to speak to their suffering. I want him to declare his anger over statements that those children are being denied personal hygiene items and that they are living in unsafe and unsanitary conditions.

Except that he doesn’t care!

Immigration debate produces another villain

I already have called into question whether immigrant detainees are being held in “concentration camps,” as alleged by U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other progressives.

But then a Justice Department lawyer told a federal appeals court judge that children being held in these detention centers don’t necessarily need toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap and blankets to be “safe and sanitary.”

The government sought to argue before a three-judge panel — part of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals — that it shouldn’t be required to provide those necessities to children who are kept in these centers along the southern border.

The idiocy came from DOJ lawyer Sarah Fabian. Her comments drew a sharp rebuke from Judge A. Wallace Tashima, who said, “To me it’s more like it’s within everybody’s common understanding: If you don’t have a toothbrush, if you don’t have soap, if you don’t have a blanket, it’s not safe and sanitary.”

The government is in court appealing a 2017 ruling that declared that migrants were being kept in unsanitary and unsafe conditions along the border.

And this is the defense that the Department of Justice sought to mount, that these essential personal hygiene elements aren’t part of maintaining “safe and sanitary” conditions?

Unbelievable.

I stand by my questioning of the “concentration camp” description. I also want to condemn in the strongest terms possible the idiotic notion put forth that these migrants do not need to be clean while they are being held in these detention centers.

We are talking here about children, for God’s sake!

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.