Tag Archives: immigration

Biden a ‘far lefty’? Huh?

Stop it, Mr. President. You’re killin’ me!

You’re now trying to paint Joe Biden as some sort of squishy far-left, socialist-leaning, open-borders guy who will take our guns from us and appoint wacky loons to the federal judiciary.

Forgive the candor, Mr. President … but I think you’re off your rocker.

The first signs of the kind of campaign you are going to wage against the former vice president are coming into sharper focus now that the Republican National Convention has commenced.

I don’t listen to you when you speak on my TV. If I don’t turn the TV off I’ll mute the volume, given that you have nothing — not a single damn thing — to say that I want to hear.

However, the media report what you say and I do read media reports. They say you’re accusing Biden — an establishment Democrat if there ever was one — of adhering to some far-left idiocy.

I think of all the things you have accused Biden of supporting, I laugh the hardest at the open-borders assertion. Jumpin’ jiminy, Mr. POTUS, no reasonable American wants to throw open our borders. Indeed, the term “open borders” implies no enforcement of immigration laws, no intercepting of undocumented immigrants. Has the former VP ever said anything that suggests such nonsense? Umm. Let me think. No. He hasn’t.

Yet you keep yapping that he wants open borders. That he’s now a tool of the far left.

You seek to denigrate Biden the way you did to Hillary Clinton. The former vice president is trading on his decency, on his compassion, on the very virtues that you lack. That will be his staunchest defense against the scurrilous attacks you are going to launch against him.

So, I cannot wish you “luck” in your effort to defame a decent — and knowledgeable — political foe. I will turn away from you whenever you spout that nonsense and I intend fully to call attention to the lies you spew whenever they fly out of your mouth.

See you in the funny papers, Mr. President.

Immigrants, yes; also American patriots

The picture attached to this blog post is of three of my grandparents.

The woman on the left is my father’s mother, Katina; the gentleman is my mother’s father, George; the other woman is Mom’s mother, Diamondoula. I don’t know who snapped this photo; perhaps it was Dad’s father, John.

What do they have in common? For starters, they were immigrants. They came to this country from southeastern Europe. Dad’s parents came from southern Greece, while Mom’s parents came here from Turkey. They all were Greeks and proud of their heritage.

They had something else in common. They all loved the United States of America.

I want to honor them today to remind you about an immutable fact of this country: The U.S. of A. was built by immigrants. Whether they came her voluntarily, as my grandparents did, or were rounded up and transported here aboard slave ships, they all built this nation.

My grandparents were the proudest Americans you ever would want to know.

Dad’s parents brought seven children into the world, four of whom served in the military. Dad served in the Navy during World War II; one of his brothers fought for the Army during the Korean War, while his other brother saw Army duty in Europe between the Korean and Vietnam wars; one of his sisters served in the Navy. Mom’s parents produced three children; her two brothers both served in the military; one of them fought with Army Air Corps during World War II; the other served as an Army reserve colonel.

I want to salute my grandparents because they were Americans by choice. They forged a good life in this land. They honored the nation by flying the flag proudly. My maternal grandmother adored Presidents Roosevelt and Kennedy, keeping pictures of JFK in her home.

The current political discourse contains an unhealthy dose of anti-immigrant dogma. One of the president’s closest advisers is known to be anti-immigrant and has infused the president with the notion that we need a “merit-based” immigration policy that allows only those identified as potential high achievers into the country. Under that policy, none of my grandparents would have qualified … and the United States would have been made immeasurably poorer by their exclusion.

This weekend we’re going to honor the founding of this nation. We’ll celebrate it under a cloud brought to us by the pandemic. Still, we will honor our founders’ genius in crafting the framework that put together the world’s most indispensable nation.

I intend to honor — and recall with great fondness — the contributions that my grandparents made after arriving here from far away places.

They became the greatest of Americans … and played a major role in making America great.

SCOTUS scores a win for DACA recipients

It looks for all the world as if the U.S. Supreme Court has been smitten by a case of humanity along with a touch of compassion.

The court issued a ruling, albeit a narrow 5-4 decision, that upholds the Obama administration’s executive order protecting the residency status of hundreds of thousands of folks who came here illegally, many of whom as children brought to the United States by their parents.

President Obama issued the order called Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. It protected about 650,000 immigrants from deportation. Donald Trump rescinded that order. The high court, though, today said “not so fast.”

Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s four progressive justices in siding with DACA recipients, writing the opinion that said Trump’s order lacked sufficient legal foundation.

This a good deal. Many, if not most, DACA recipients have known no other country but the United States. Many of them are unfamiliar with their country of birth. They speak English. They attend school here. They work here. They pay U.S. taxes. They live as de facto Americans. Except that they aren’t citizens.

Donald Trump sought to ship them out, send them back to a country with which they have no understanding or familiarity. Politico reports: Roberts, who has emerged in recent years as a semi-regular swing justice on the court, wrote the majority opinion concluding that the decision to phase-out the program was unlawful because it did not consider all the options to rein in the program and failed to account for the interests of those who relied on it.

So the fight continues. It appears that the Trump administration will be unable to craft a new order in time for the November election.

My hope is that if Trump loses the election that the new president, Joe Biden, will scrap the effort to eliminate the DACA program and allow these once-young immigrants to continue to pursue their dream of living in the land of opportunity … provided, of course, that they seek to legalize their standing as U.S. residents.

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.