Tag Archives: immigration

The Wall buckles under the wind

We chuckled a bit in our house today when we heard this news: Stiff wind knocked over a portion of The Wall that Donald John Trump is seeking to build along our southern border.

We were able to laugh because there was no injury or loss of property. Just a portion of The Wall was blown over near El Centro, Calif.; a portion of the structure fell into Mexico.

It illustrates one of the many problems facing Trump’s effort to erect this structure, which he said Mexico would finance. Mexico has responded categorically: Oh, no we won’t!

The wind along out border poses just one obstacle for construction of this barrier. If you’ve been anywhere near El Paso or along the Trans-Pecos region of far West Texas, you kind of understand the wind-related problems associated with building a wall that is strong enough to withstand the battering it will take.

Then we have the issue of purchasing private land to build this structure. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution guarantees just compensation on matters such as this. It’s going to get mighty expensive for a federal government that is running an annual budget deficit that exceeds $1 trillion.

And so it goes. Trump keeps insisting Mexico will pay for a wall. Meanwhile, he is pushing to spend our money appropriated for other purposes to foot the bill that is supposed to go to Mexico.

Are you confused? So am I.

Meanwhile, the wind howls and parts of The Wall fall down.

What? Right-wing Amarillo bucks governor’s refugee ban?

How about that New York Times, for my money the greatest newspaper in the nation if not the world? It is reporting that Amarillo, Texas, the unofficial “capital city” of the right-wing Texas Panhandle is taking a dim view of Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision to ban refugees from settling in Texas.

We used to live in Amarillo. We had a wonderful life there. We are forging a new wonderful life in the Metroplex. But I was fully aware of Amarillo’s reputation as a hotbed for far right-wing political thought. The NY Times article suggests a latent reservoir of good will. God bless Amarillo and the NY Times.

The article cites how Amarillo has been a magnet for refugees for many years. Many refugees have become part of the community. They contribute to the community’s life. They have been embraced by their neighbors. They call themselves Americans.

Abbott, though, has issued an order that declared that Texas would become the first state in the Union to opt out of a presidential edict that gives states the option of accepting or rejecting refugees; Abbott has shut the door on new refugees.

That ain’t the American — or the Texan — way, governor. The Times article spells out how Amarillo has opened its door — not to mention its heart — to those who have ventured to the Panhandle, which the Times article describes as a somewhat desolate, wind-swept, dusty place.

As the Times reports: Here in Amarillo, which for a time took in more refugees per capita than any other Texas city, few share the governor’s alarm over refugees, and those who do have a far more nuanced view. They have long lived with refugees, not as abstract political talking points, but as neighbors.

Refugee Services of Texas and Catholic Charities of the Texas Panhandle have taken on the refugee issue head-on, helping resettle 7,000 individuals from 2007 to 2017, the Times reports.

The article makes me proud of the city my wife and I called home for more than two decades.

Here is the full article in the New York Times.

Amarillo will remain a stronghold of support for Donald Trump and for Gov. Abbott. It is full of many fine individuals who understand that they live in a place that serves as a beacon for those who need a refuge from oppression and tyranny

WH adviser burnishes his bogeyman image

Stephen Miller is quite the attraction for Donald J. Trump and his administration.

The young policy adviser seems to relish appearing on TV simply to make inflammatory statements. Now we find out through some leaked e-mails that Miller harbored some dark and sinister thoughts about white nationalism and assorted racist philosophies.

The American Civil Liberties Union, the Black Congressional Caucus and the Southern Poverty Law Center and other groups all have called for Miller to resign. The White House stands by their man, presumably with the president’s blessing.

Of course he should quit. Miller had no business being involved in such a senior policy adviser role in the first place. He is a flame-thrower, a provocateur, a living, breathing symbol of the politics of division that have highlighted (or lowlighted) the Trump administration.

I say all that, naturally, knowing that nothing will happen as long as Donald Trump is president of the United States.

One batch of e-mails suggests that Miller favored restricting legal immigration from Third World countries, favoring a policy more disposed to welcoming immigrants from, um, blonde-blue-eyed regions of the world.

I believe Stephen Miller is a toxic dude. He doesn’t belong in the White House, let alone working hand-in-glove with the president of the United States.

Will he be shown the door? Hah!

‘We’re building a wall … in Colorado!’

There was a time — and some folks still giggle at it — when a presidential candidate named Barack Obama talked about visiting all “57 states” in this country.

Republicans had a field day with it. They said the Democratic candidate didn’t know the country he sought to lead.

Well …

Here we are in the present day. The current president of the United States stood before a crowd this week and bragged about building a wall along our southern border. Then he said, “We’re building a wall in Colorado!” 

Donald Trump raised eyebrows everywhere. What? What do you mean, Mr. POTUS? Colorado is an “inland state.” It doesn’t border Mexico.

The man with “the best brain” who knows the “best words” made a mistake.

What I find remarkable, though, is that when he made that gaffe, many in the crowd to whom he was speaking in Pennsylvania stood and clapped and cheered and hollered. They don’t know their geography any better than the president of the United States.

I don’t know if Obama ever acknowledged publicly his goof in 2008. I can rest assured that Trump won’t do so with his, um, misstatement about Colorado. Indeed, he is likely to find a way to double down on it, contending that the “fake news media” has taken his words “out of context.” Or maybe he will say that since Colorado borders New Mexico, that the wall is needed because New Mexico is letting too many illegal immigrants cross its border with Mexico.

Or that Democrats are feeding into the laughter that can be heard across the country … even in Colorado.

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.