Tag Archives: immigration

Only Congress can fix it? How did POTUS do it?

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen made it clear: Only Congress can fix the situation regarding the policy that enabled Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to separate children from their parents at the border.

The president of the United States, Donald J. Trump, said the same thing.

So did the White House press office.

What, then, happened today? The president signed an executive order doing the very thing he and his aides could be done only by congressional fiat.

Was the president lying? Did he tell the nation’s DHS secretary to lie? Did the secretary lie on her own, all by herself?

Trump ends family separation … now what?

Donald J. Trump today heeded the din of dissent across the nation over a policy that separated young children from their parents at the nation’s southern border.

The president’s executive order ends the policy in a 180-degree reversal. Families won’t be separated. Children won’t be delivered to camps to await some disposition of their fate while the government decides what to do about their parents’ illegal entry into the United States.

I am glad to see the president react in this manner. His rhetoric today, though, continues to sound defiant. He lays blame for this situation on his predecessors in the Oval Office.

So, the question remains: What happens now?

Republicans in Congress joined their Democratic colleagues in calling for an end to this inhumane policy. I am heartened to hear the bipartisan outrage, just as I am heartened to witness Trump backing down from his previous statements.

I am left to wonder, too, why he would say today that he “didn’t like the sight” of families being separated. When did that “sight” upset him? Did it just happen? Or was he upset all along? If it’s the latter, then why continue to implement such a policy?

Well, he acted today as he should have done before this crisis erupted. Now it’s time to find a comprehensive solution to the nation’s immigration policy.

Get busy, Mr. President and members of Congress.

No doubt about it: U.S. is ‘secular nation’

An interesting argument has surfaced over the discussion about the use of Scripture to justify the separating of children from their parents as they enter the United States illegally.

It comes from the newspaper where I used to work, the Amarillo (Texas) Globe-News.

Here’s the editorial with the title, “The Spiritual Double Standard.” 

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently cited Romans 13 to justify the policy of yanking kids from their parents along our southern border and housing them separately. It also seems to suggest that the United States might not be a “secular nation.”

Actually, the United States most certainly is a secular nation. Of that there can be no serious debate.

The founders intended to craft a governing document that is free of religious requirements. Their ancestors came to this world fleeing religious persecution. Right? Yes!

The editorial seems also to suggest that critics of the AG are targeting Christians. Hmm. I don’t believe that’s the case. The founders didn’t even mention Christianity in crafting the U.S. Constitution. The Amarillo Globe-News opined: This is becoming a common tactic of many of those who support open borders – attempting to shame Christians by pointing out how federal immigration laws are not in line with Christian teachings about how to treat your neighbors, immigrants, etc.

The secular nature of our government is not aimed at Christians. It excludes any religious litmus test for government. Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus … you name it.

The G-N also suggests that secularists shouldn’t use Scripture to debunk the AG’s citing of the New Testament to justify the policy.

Fine, except that if the attorney general is going to bring it up first, then it is totally fair for critics to use the Bible to rebut what they believe is his misdirected justification.

The G-N notes, “As the saying goes, you can’t have it both ways.”

Actually, in this instance, I believe you can.

Late-night wisdom on child-parent separation

Stephen Colbert is a comedian with a political point of view he delivers nightly from the Ed Sullivan Theater stage in New York City.

He was spot on in a diatribe against Donald J. Trump’s immigration policy that instructs border security agents to wrest children from their parents who enter this country illegally.

Perhaps the most poignant point that Colbert made is that the United States is the only country on Earth that has invoked such a heartless policy.

Yet the president contends that it’s a “Democrat bill” that congressional Democrats need to fix. One problem. There is no law on the books. This policy came from an executive branch instruction.

Listen to Colbert’s take on it. Yes, he’s a comic. He’s also a well-educated man who happens to be a husband and father who feels deeply about this issue.

This is a seriously ICE-y policy

There’s heartlessness and then there is a new policy announced by the Trump administration.

Unauthorized immigrants seeking entry into the United States will be arrested and prosecuted, according to Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Fine. I get that.

But their small children will be taken from them on the spot by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials. They will be separated from their parents — from their mother and father — and sent … somewhere.

Sessions said, “… we will prosecute you, and that child will be separated from you as required by law. If you don’t like that, then don’t smuggle children over our border.”

Infants? Toddlers? Adolescents? Doesn’t matter. They’re going to snatched from their parents under the new ICE policy.

Critics of this policy are calling it “torture” as defined by the United Nations. According to a Washington Post essay by Jaana Juvonen and Jennifer Silvers: Under federal law, which adopts the United Nations definition, torture is: “any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as … punishing him or her for an act he or she or a third person … has committed or is suspected of having committed.” And though in theory any action inflicting such suffering is banned, that is what is inflicted by separating parents and children in border detention.

Read the entire essay here.

Is this how Donald Trump defines the “love” he once said he wanted to use in determining the fate of the so-called Dreamers, the U.S. residents brought here when they were children by their undocumented immigrant parents?

I can answer that one: It lacks any pretense of love when it comes to the treatment of the children of those who are trying to enter the United States. Asylum seekers? Refugees? Forget it, man! They’re going to be rounded up and sent to places where their children cannot join them.


Happy Trails, Part 89

I don’t like doing this, but this post is going to mix a bit of current politics and public policy with another musing about retirement.

You see, I’ve mentioned already that my wife and I intend to visit North America while hauling our RV behind our (now repaired) pickup truck.

What I’ve neglected to say is that North America includes another set of countries. They are south of the United States, starting with Mexico and going into Central America.

We are a bit concerned about traveling into Mexico. It has nothing to do with the people there, or the country. We’ve both ventured across the border. The last time we crossed the border was in 1974, when we drove from San Diego into Tijuana and then to Ensenada. We took a cruise with our sons from Galveston to Cozumel in 2011, but that doesn’t actually count as a “border crossing.”

What is troubling to me is the rhetoric coming from Washington since the inauguration of Donald Trump as president of the United States. He campaigned on a pledge to build a wall across our southern border; he vowed to make Mexico pay for it. He accused Mexico of “sending criminals” into the United States, as if suggesting that the Mexican government is responsible for some so-called deluge of illegal immigration.

He has continued to sound sharply critical of those who live in Latin America.

My fear is the potential fomenting of anti-American bias in that part of the world, which could put tourists — such as, oh, yours truly — at risk of harm by those who might notice the Texas license plates on our RV and our truck.

Do you get my drift? Of course you do!

I ventured to Mexico City in 1997 on a four-day journalism-related trip. I love that city. I want to show my wife the Aztec pyramids I got to climb. I want to take her to the spectacularly colorful Folklorico Ballet that I watched. I want to treat her to tacos the way they are prepared in Mexico.

At this moment, though, I am fearful of hauling our RV there to see those sights.

If only we could cease this in-your-face rhetoric that I suspect is not being lost on those wonderful continental neighbors.

FYI, Mr. President … you need Congress to OK this one

Psst. Here’s a little secret that Donald J. Trump didn’t mention when he said he wanted to deploy American military personnel along our border with Mexico.

The president cannot act alone. He needs Congress to approve it.

Trump has declared that because our immigration laws are “so weak,” he needs to send soldiers to the border to be on the lookout for illegal immigrants sneaking into the United States of America.

Trump wants to military to patrol the border while he commences and completes construction of his “big, beautiful wall” that is going to stop the flood of bloodthirsty criminals flowing across our border. Isn’t that what he says is occurring?

So, he’s thinking out loud yet again. With no thought whatsoever. Did he say he would ask Congress to approve his request? Oh, no! He simply declared his intention to deploy American military personnel to do whatever it is they intend to do on American soil.

This is the kind of thing that requires another branch of government to sign off.

In 1957, President Eisenhower sent troops to Little Rock, Ark., to stand by while local school officials sought to integrate Central High School. Ike asked Congress for permission to do it; Congress agreed, so the president issued the order.

There remains a sequence of events that must occur before a president does something so dramatic — and drastic — as Trump has pitched.

He is merely demonstrating a show of muscle. He isn’t giving a moment of thought or deliberation to add context to what he is proposing.

That’s just Trump.

Hey, he’s “telling like it is,” right?

Idiocy takes new turn: pay for wall with military money

Donald J. Trump’s penchant for idiotic policy pronouncements is utterly boundless.

It’s bad enough that the president wants to build a “big, beautiful wall” along our southern border. The notion of building a wall is as un-American an idea as any Trump has pitched.

Now comes this apparent trial balloon. He is talking openly about paying for the wall using funds dedicated for the Department of Defense. Sure thing, Mr. President. Let’s take money away from equipping our troops to pay for a wall that won’t do a damn thing to stem what Trump says is a “flood” of illegal immigrants bringing drugs, murder and mayhem into the United States.

Oh, and there’s that other thing hanging over the discussion: the president’s pledge to “make Mexico pay” for the wall. That, um, hasn’t gone according to plan. The Mexican government has dug in deeply. It won’t pay for the wall, says Mexico’s president, Enrique Pena Nieto. He and Trump remain miles apart on that particular issue.

The idea that the wall somehow is a matter of “national security,” which in Trump’s mind would justify taking funneling money from the Pentagon to building that wall only confirms what many of us have thought all along.

The commander in chief has so little regard for the military that he would rob it of resources to shore up a promise he made for purely political gain.

And to think the president keeps yammering about his “love” of the men and women who defend our nation.


SCOTUS gives Dreamers a reprieve; get to work, Congress

Several hundred thousand U.S. residents have just been given a reprieve from a most unlikely source: the Supreme Court of the United States.

The court today declined to consider a Trump administration request to expedite a decision on whether a plan to revoke a Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals directive issued by Donald Trump.

This means the so-called “Dreamers,” those who affected by DACA, have more time to remain in the United States even though they were brought here illegally by their parents when they were children.

According to Politico: The Justice Department had asked the justices to skip the usual appeals court process and review a district court judge’s ruling requiring the administration to resume renewals of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

The Supreme Court declined the request Monday with no justices dissenting. The high court could still weigh in later, but the move suggests the justices want to allow one or more appeals courts to take up the question before considering it.

A federal judge has blocked the administration’s plan to cancel President Barack Obama’s DACA order. The issue is now before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The Justice Department wanted the court to allow a sped-up process to resolve it in time for the March 5 deadline that the president had set for Congress to come up with a legislative solution for DACA recipients.

I would have thought the Supreme Court would side with the administration, given its ideological bent. Silly me. The court has given DACA recipients more time to stay in the United States, the only country many of them have ever known.

Now, to Congress, I want to offer this word: Get to work to find a solution. These U.S. residents must not be deported and returned to nations they do not know.

Can we hear an ‘oops’ on chain migration?

Don’t you just hate it when family matters get in the way of public policy pronouncements? I’m wondering if Donald J. Trump is at all concerned about such matters. Oh, probably not, but I’ll weigh in anyway.

The president doesn’t like what’s being called “chain migration,” which enables extended family members to follow others as immigrants to a particular country. Trump wants to end chain migration as part of this nation’s immigration policy.

But, in the immortal words of Energy Secretary Rick Perry: Oops!

First lady Melania Trump’s parents, Viktor and Amalajia Knavs, were able to obtain their green cards as legal immigrants. The natives of Slovenia want to become U.S. citizens.

They want to reunify with their daughter, who’s already become a U.S. citizen and are preparing to do so soon.

But, but, but … the president wants to end this practice. He’s trying to persuade Congress to end “chain migration.” He said during the State of the Union speech — to rousing hoots and jeers from congressional Democrats — that the United States must end a policy that allows unlimited numbers of family members to enter the country under this chain migration policy.

As The Hill reports: The president has repeatedly called for an end to “chain migration” for extended family members and has identified it as one of the four pillars he says must be included in immigration legislation.

“Under the current broken system, a single immigrant can bring in virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives,” he said in his State of the Union speech.

I know that the parents of the first lady aren’t “distant relatives.” They’re immediate family members. They’re the grandparents of Barron Trump, the 11-year-old son of Donald and Melania.

Still, does it seem a bit odd to anyone out there that immigration officials might break — not just bend — the rules in direct opposition to the president’s stated desire?

Or has the president changed his mind? Hey, it’s happened already!