Tag Archives: immigration policy

It’s Tuesday: Do We Know Where Our Children Are?

I waited around today to see if by quitting time, i.e. 5:00 pm Pacific Time where I’m located, the Mis-administration had managed to locate and begin reuniting families torn apart by its egregious, heinous, unthinkable, incomprehensible, immigration policy.  It’s 5:02 pm and nothing.

As of two hours ago CNN reports the Orange Stink Blossom’s crew fell “short on first family reunification deadline. “Fell short?”  How about failed miserably?  How about only four — that’s four — children under five years of age have been reunified?  They hope they will be able to reunify another 34 by the “end of the day.”   And then, this:

“One child can’t be reunited with family because the government has not known their parent’s location for more than a year, according to the government. That child and his or her parent may be U.S. citizens, according to the filing.

It’s possible that some parents who have been deported may opt not to have their children rejoin them, since some might have a case for asylum or other relief ― or even another family member in the U.S.” [HuffPo] (emphasis added)

As several news outlets and commentators have pointed out, there was no plan to reunite families because the entire point of the pointless exercise in Zero Tolerance (meaning zero tolerance for any more non-lily-white-immigrants) was to create an unwelcoming atmosphere such that people from “sh*thole” countries wouldn’t want to become Americans. [CNN] [NewYorker] [Salon] [NYMag] [Politifact] How many of the 5,140,000 related items (some repeats) retrieved by Google in 0.49 seconds do I have to link before it’s perfectly obvious there was NO PLAN. Why wasn’t there a plan?

Because Orange Stink Blossom uses the language of exterminators when speaking of non-lily-white immigrants who “infest” our country. [NYMag] He conflates immigrants with gang members, asylum seekers with drug and human traffickers, and he tells us they are invading our country. [NYT] Two youngsters attending the Orange Stink Blossom’s rally in Montana observed that Mexicans were coming over here and overpopulating us. [Rawstory] Just for a quick reality check, the city of Great Falls, Montana is 84.9% white, 4.1% Hispanic. [Census]  Hardly sounds like “overpopulation” to my ears.

What it does sound like within my cochlea is good old fashioned racism, xenophobia, and demagoguery.   Children aren’t intrinsically racist or xenophobic, they must be carefully taught.  Unfortunately, there are too many tutors.

There are women who  hit nonagenarians with bricks whilst yelling “Go Back to Mexico.” There are neighbors who call the cops when African Americans go to swimming pools, have barbecues in the park, exit an Air B&B, deliver newspapers, sit at Starbucks, and canvass a neighborhood during an election campaign. There are ignoramuses who shout invective at a lady wearing a Puerto Rican flag decor shirt — unaware Puerto Ricans are American citizens.  The good news is that there are a number of people of good will with cellular phones who upload video of these vile interactions for all the world to see.  Some of the practitioners of hate, racism, and cruelty have discovered their employers wish not to be associated with them — they damage the brand.

It’s 5:45 PM, still nothing.  There was no plan because MAGA only means “great” if by “great” the country was “great” during the long brutal life of the south’s Peculiar Institution. Or “great” when NINA signs appeared in shop keeper’s windows to keep the seanteach folk at bay. . Or “great” when Native American children were “acculture-ized” in boarding schools?  Or “great” when Jim Crow laws allowed white people a comfortable separation from their browner skinned fellows so that they might not have to notice some POC were just as bright, just as hard working, just as religious, just as worthy, just as much children of an Almighty God as themselves?  Sad that, should a person’s self worth be quantified and reassured by skin — an ectodermal tissue so thin it can be cut with a piece of paper.

However, it’s all too easy to transform discomfort into fear, fear into loathing, and loathing into hate.  And, too easy to manipulate that hate into action by giving it permission to indulge its worst elements.   Perhaps it’s time to return to Lincoln’s first Inaugural Address:

“I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

It’s 6:00 PM. Time to find the children, to reunite them with their mothers and fathers, to ease the strain on their bonds of affection, to give comfort at their hearthstones, and to listen to the better angels of our nature.

 

 

 

 

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I Just Can’t But I Will

When I started this little blog yea these many years ago it was in no small part because there didn’t seem to be (1) all that many liberal blogs in northern Nevada, and (2) a way to force myself to wander around the Internet LEARNING things to fill gaps in my understanding of important issues.  Oh, and by the way, in a former life I was a history and political science major so I liked the opportunity to dig back into these subjects and treat myself to historical references and such.   Until 2017 this was fun.  There have been a paucity of posts lately, because of the Trump Administration’s propensity for taking the fun out of just about every topic imaginable.

For example, it’s no fun anymore to peruse the economic data, seek trends, and find interesting analyses — because in Trumpland data, analysis, and rationality don’t matter.  In Trumpland our allies are peppered with trade threats which make absolutely no sense whatsoever, while our adversaries and competitors are left guessing what “policy” the administration might be advocating from one day to the next.  There is no plan.  There are only petulant, provocative, reactions — predicated, it appears, on an understanding of world trade premised upon the situation of at the very least 38 years ago.

For example, it’s no fun anymore to watch the development of social policy, and social progress.  Yes, there’s been Hate Radio since the 1980’s, but terms like “Femi-Nazis” and “Half-Ricans” were the language of the exterior, marginalized away from polite conversation and civic discourse. We did not refer to “sh*thole nations,” nor did we speak of people “infesting” us, or “invading” us. We did not refer to human beings as “vermin.”  We did not classify entire populations of adherents to a particular religion as “terrorists.” We did not deem people unfit for service because of the color of their skin or their sexual orientation.  Now, we have a President who says there were “good people” on both sides in Charlottesville — where one side chanted ‘Blood and Soil,” and “You Will Not Replace Us,” outside a synagogue. We have a President conflating asylum seekers with drug traffickers, with human traffickers, with ordinary families seeking a better life for their children.  And we ripped their children away from those asylum seekers and ordinary families.  We reclassified (?) the children as “unaccompanied minors” when we deported their parents. We lost track of where we hid those children in the dark of night. There was no plan. There never seems to be a plan.  It’s always more like the petulant provocative reactions to momentary political expediency.

For example, it’s no fun anymore to follow governmental approaches to common issues in American life.  The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau?  Repurposed to serve the interests of the bankers who caused the problems in the first instance?  The EPA, corrupt leadership included, catering to the industries which find polluting and exploiting more profitable in the short term than caring for the viability of the planet they leave for their children.

So, the blog posts were few and far between of late.  The other notion which informed the initiation of this blog was that it would be “family friendly.”  The comments section would be monitored.  I would avoid invective and profanity in the posts.  Last week the only terms I could find to apply to the Trumpian policy of deliberate, incompetent, incomprehensible, family separation were invective and profoundly profane.

I’ve vented, alone and among friends, and I’ve calmed a bit.  So, the blog posts will continue and I will do so with the comments monitored and a curb on my tongue.  However, I will not be silenced.  I should have taken the words of one of my heroes in youth, the late great Ronnie Gilbert, to heart when someone ask her how the current situation compared to the bleak days of the McCarthy Era Black Lists — she said it was now worse.

So, I’ll pull myself together — pound out some more pixels, more often, and with as much enthusiasm as I can muster without breaking my two main rules — no unfiltered comments, no profanity.  But, I will applaud flight attendants with the courage to tell us that immigration officials lied to get migrant children on board the flight; cheer the owner of the Red Hen restaurant who would not serve a member of the Trump Administration as a measure of her conscience, and smile at the those ordinary Americans who, when they see migrant children being moved in the wee hours will call a local reporter — who will share the information with a national reporter — who will stick another pin the the map — who will try to answer the question: Where are the children and girls?

And, I’ll keep doing this until the Trump Administration hears Ronnie Gilbert’s bold contralto singing out the lyrics of “So Long, It’s Been Good To Know You.” (Not)

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Filed under banking, blogs, financial regulation, Human Rights, Immigration, Politics

The Politics of Whine

I can handle just about any behavior from children from tears to tantrums, and I can tolerate a whine from someone about 34 inches high, from 26 to 28 pounds in weight, who lives in a world of extremely oversized furniture, adults who walk too fast, and often demand too much.  It’s when the person isn’t two years old anymore, is over 5’4″ and weighs 128 or more pounds, I lose all patience.  This is why I was pleased to note the news networks didn’t choose to broadcast the last presidential rally in full.

The presidential speeches are the Politics of Whine.  He’s whining again.  Hillary Clinton, bless her soul, won more popular votes than he did; he’s not forgotten it, and he isn’t going to let the rest of us forget it either.   His Attorney General properly recused himself from an investigation in which he was a witness, the Whiner in Chief hasn’t forgotten this either, and he isn’t going to stop whining about it anytime soon.  No, Buddy, Sissy doesn’t have to give up the coloring book when you want it all to yourself.

The Mexican government isn’t going to pay for his wall.  They’ve been very explicit about this. One of their former Presidents has been brutally honest on the subject. [CNBC] What part of “never, never, never,” did our Whiner in Chief not comprehend? [CBS] There’s a teachable moment when Sissy complains Buddy won’t voluntarily hand over his oatmeal cookie, a lesson the Whiner in Chief appears to have missed along the way.

If people don’t like me then they’re nasty people who have nasty friends!  Or, translated into political whine:  If you don’t like my racist immigration policies then you’re just trying to protect the bad guys.  Brown = Immigrant = MS 13 = Bad.  Most people get past the toddler logic stage: me good, other bad.   Granted we don’t do all that well introducing kids to the relational concept of an equal sign in equations, and the not equal sign doesn’t show up until later in the curricula, but most grown ups understand Brown ≠ Immigrant ≠ MS 13 ≠ Bad.  Unless a person wants something to whine about.

Buddy’s being mean to me!  What’s he doing? He’s making faces.  Or any of the other variations on this theme common to what’s happening in the back seat of the family motor vehicle five minutes after ignition.  She called me a fish face!  If you two continue this the trip to the grocery stops, we go home, and we can always have the brussels sprouts from the freezer for dinner.   (By the way, there’s no cheese.)  At some point being a grown up means letting petty arguments slide, or taking the high ground, or using the moment to make a larger, more important, statement.   It doesn’t mean taking everything personally!   ABC canceled Roseanne’s show, but they never acted when people said things critical of me!  Whine³

Someone far wiser than I once said, “You have to love your kids enough to say ‘no’ to them.”

No, we don’t pre-judge people based on their ethnicity, religion, or gender.

No, we don’t obsess on slights, real and imagined, from others.

No, we don’t demand to get everything we want when we want it.

No, we don’t make everything all about ourselves.

If a person is over 5’4″, weighs more than 128 pounds, and has reached an age we assume to be mature, then failure to successfully cope with these four simple “no’s” is little more than a public demonstration of childish behavior most of us would immediately associate with little Whiners.   Perhaps it’s time to inform the Whiner in Chief the trip stops here, we go home, and face the defrosted brussels sprouts without cheese tonight?

 

 

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The Grammar and Bigotry of Trump’s America

When I listen to someone say, “I’m not racist, but…,” what I hear is, “I’m a racist who has found a way to rationalize my bigotry.”  It often goes like this: “I’m not racist, but we have a real problem protecting our border.”  Let us parse.

Perhaps some people weren’t paying attention when Sister Rosetta Stone and Sister Mary Elephant explained coordinating conjunctions.  There is certainly evidence the current White House occupants and staff weren’t attuned to grammatical instruction. [NYT] That said, “but” is a coordinating conjunction presenting a contrast or an exception.  It’s the exception part that gives the game away.  The basic construction of the sentence underpins the notion the speaker is granting himself or herself an exception to the general classification of racist to which he or she doesn’t wish to be associated.  In other words, what the person is about to say is generally considered racist, and what comes after the coordinating conjunction will be good old fashioned self preserving rationalization.  Now that we’ve parsed we can move on to that rationalization.

Borders can be both statutory and personal.  We have statutory borders marking territorial jurisdiction.  We have land and maritime boundaries with Canada and Mexico. We have maritime boundaries with the Bahamas, Cuba, and Russia.  The boundaries of personal space appear to give some bigots the most problems.  Witness: The person who called the police when a black man was sighted moving into his new apartment in New York City. [CBS] Three black women were reported as burglars when leaving an Air BnB because a neighbor got nervous. [CNN] A white woman created a scene in Oakland, CA  calling the police because there were people at Lake Merritt barbecuing while black. [Root]  For white bigots there are two invasions.  One occurs when a non-white person seeks to pass a statutory land or maritime boundary, and the other happens when a non-white person seeks to do the normal things normal people do in spaces too close to the hyper-sensitive bigots.

Simple minds conflate the two. “I’m not a racist; nevertheless, I’m experiencing an invasion of my space by people who don’t look like me.” Sister Mary Elephant would inform us “nevertheless” is a conjunctive adverb. Those who aren’t burdened by their own bigotry would inform us a van filled with farm workers doesn’t constitute a host of Midianites at the city walls.  A family seeking asylum doesn’t meet the definition of a horde of Goths at the gates.

However, to a basic bigot the visibility of people who speak Spanish at gas stations, [NBC] or who are  persons who “look Muslim”  doing complex mathematical computations on an airplane, [WaPo] or are two Native American youngsters on a college tour in Colorado, [CNN] who make a white woman “nervous,’ is central to their sense of space.  If only the bigots could exclude the dark skinned, straight or curly haired, Spanish speaking, or quiet, people from getting too close to their spaces they would feel comfortable again.  They could “take their country back.” They could MAGA to their heart’s content.

The increasing possibility that the neighborhood will have more black or Hispanic residents, or that the malls will have more diverse shoppers, or that the parks will have more non-white barbecuers, frightens our bigots.  In some cases it makes them melt down in public, and sometimes we get the belated apology which rings hollow after a racist rant in a Fresh Kitchens restaurant in NYC. [TMZ]

Sadly, this isn’t the worst we can do.  It’s bad enough when people are falsely accused of burglary or shoplifting because a bigot felt nervous. It’s bad enough when an award winning Italian economist is profiled for working on differential equations.  It’s bad enough when people aren’t free to enjoy that All American pastime — grilling meat with home made renditions of Uncle Freddy’s Secret Sauce, the recipe for which he wouldn’t even share with Aunt Hazel. It’s bad enough when two kids on a college tour make a bigot nervous just by looking like the Native Americans they are.  The poor bigot said she was nervous because they didn’t look like they belonged on a college campus.  Question: Madam, are you really telling me YOU don’t think they match YOUR notion of who should be allowed on college campuses?  It’s one easy step from this exclusionary view to the worst possible outcomes. It’s even worse when the bigots are allowed to establish the standards by which we measure the humanity of our fellow human beings. 

One doesn’t have to leap over a gaping chasm to move from “they don’t look like they belong,” to “they’re animals.”  It’s the conflation game.  We’ve already seen the movie. As Maria Hinajosa explained, it was titled Sophie’s Choice.  There is absolutely nothing comforting about seeing the current administration choosing to use its prosecutorial discretion to force the separation of children from their asylum seeking parents.  Further, to use this discretion as a so-called ‘deterrent’ to efforts by future asylum seekers from South and Central American is blatantly exclusionist, and serves no other purpose than to make the bigots more comfortable.  There will be fewer of ‘them,’  even if we are speaking of toddlers.  We’ve heard this before as well.

When the Wagner-Rogers Act was being debated in Congress in 1939,  most labor and religious organizations were in favor of the bill to allow the entry into the US of 20,000 Jewish refugee children in the wake of Kristallnacht in Germany.  American nationalist organizations, such as the DAR and American Legion, opposed it.   Laura D. Houghteling, the wife of the US Immigration Commissioner opined, “20,000 charming children would all too soon grow into 20,000 ugly adults.”  She would, without doubt, take some joy hearing the President describe children of refugee parents as “they’re all animals.” [RollingStone] The bill failed.

Since when has it become acceptable in this nation to use children, some mere toddlers, as deterrents to force non-white refugees into a decision not to come to this country, not to escape peril, not to hope for a safer environment for those children?  Why is it acceptable to farm those children out into a foster system or “whatever.”  What’s a “whatever?” A warehouse?  When did we become a nation that punishes children for the hopes and dreams of their parents?

Perhaps it’s when we chose to listen to the carefully inserted coordinating conjunctions in the grammar of bigots.  “I’m not a racist, but I’d be ever so much more comfortable if everyone looked and sounded just like me.”

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Filed under Immigration, Politics, racism

The Anti Immigration Playbook and the Conflation Game

There are two paragraphs from the US Holocaust Memorial Museum’s website which are becoming more relevant by the day, perhaps by the hour:

One crucial factor in creating a cohesive group is to define who is excluded from membership. Nazi propagandists contributed to the regime’s policies by publicly identifying groups for exclusion, inciting hatred or cultivating indifference, and justifying their pariah status to the populace. Nazi propaganda played a crucial role in selling the myth of the “national community” to Germans who longed for unity, national pride and greatness, and a break with the rigid social stratification of the past.

But a second, more sinister aspect of the Nazi myth was that not all Germans were welcome in the new community. Propaganda helped to define who would be excluded from the new society and justified measures against the “outsiders”: Jews, Sinti and Roma (Gypsies), homosexuals, political dissidents, and Germans viewed as genetically inferior and harmful to “national health” (people with mental illness and intellectual or physical disabilities, epileptics, congenitally deaf and blind persons, chronic alcoholics, drug users, and others).

Let’s take a look at the first paragraph a bit more closely.  The current administration is out to create a “cohesive group” more commonly called “the Base.”  Additionally there are groups to be excluded.  Specifically, immigrants from south and central America and African Americans are rhetorically placed outside the categorization of ‘real Americans.’   In the shorter version — they aren’t white.

Greg Sargent’s analysis nails it:

“Whether he’s talking about Latino immigrants or kneeling African American football players, President Trump has a consistent way of disguising his racism, bigotry and dehumanization while dog-whistling it out to those voters who he believes may thrill to it.

The game is always that Trump fluidly conflates one set of individuals who constitute a less sympathetic target — one he ostensibly goes after, and one that is harder to defend — with the broader group he’s actually trying to belittle or dehumanize but cannot do so overtly.”

And there’s one more point from Sargent’s analysis which should be highlighted:

Dehumanizing rhetoric works in exactly this way: It slaps the dehumanizing slur on the least sympathetic subgroup and then conflates that subgroup with the larger group that is the real target, then piously feigns innocence of any intention to tag the slur on the larger group. The dead giveaway here, as Sanchez also noted, is that this is a selectively applied technique: When Trump attacks criminals who don’t belong to the out-group he’s scapegoating, no such conflation is in evidence.

Trump has given his game away. If it is acceptable to play the Conflation Game then the foundation is laid for policies that separate asylum seeking parents from their children, for yawns and diversions when the subject is raised about some 1500 missing children separated from their parents, for using DACA recipients as bargaining pawn to build an unnecessary and outrageously expensive “wall.”  It’s acceptable because these human beings are “animals.”  Or, as the Nazi’s said of the Jews some 80 years ago, they’re “vermin.”

Now, Democrats aren’t real Americans because “they are protecting the MS 13 thugs” [cnn] — the conflation expands.  The immigrants are conflated with the worst subset of the entire group, and supporters of the vast majority of the group are conflated with the worst subset of the initial group.  It’s a semantic game of smear and divide.  Worse still, it is entirely intentional, and it is entirely exclusionist.

How easy it is to expand this classification of those to be excluded from Trump’s “cohesive group,”  from brown skinned immigrants. to African Americans, to Democrats, to members of the LBGTQ community, to those with serious congenital issues, to labor union activists, to political activists, to … anyone Dear Leader perceives as a threat to his “cohesive group?”

So we move from paragraph one in which the “cohesive group” is defined and division is incited to paragraph two from the Holocaust Memorial in which the “cohesive group” is refined and more groups are excluded.  It’s seamless, it’s intentional, and it’s predicated on syllogistic idiocy:  MS 13 members are immigrants; MS 13 members are criminals; therefore all immigrants are criminals.   I could as easily argue: Donald Trump has (allegedly) hair on his head. Squirrels have hair on their heads (although they don’t need the elaborate comb-over.) Therefore, Donald J. Trump is a squirrel.

In the real world the US is a nation of immigrants.  If it isn’t let’s be done with the St. Patrick’s Day festivities and all those fun Oktoberfest events with the good craft beer.  Let’s do without the joys of Polish and Greek weddings.  Let’s do without the Cinco de Mayo parties. Let’s do without the bagels and lox from the Kosher delis? (I’ll take on anyone to stay in range of a good deli!)  Let’s do without the Chinese New Year celebrations; fireworks, dancers, dragons, and the cute little kids marching?  Let’s do without the African American inspired jazz from New Orleans?  We could be done with all the “non-core-group” items appropriated, revised, re-formed, and remade into American culture — and we could render ourselves into one great giant crashing bore.

In the real world we have benefited from the efforts of immigrants, from the intellectual genius of Albert Einstein to the anonymous farm laborer in Florida.  From the entrepreneurial Google founder Sergey Brin to the anonymous hotel housekeeper in Las Vegas.  We could do without them, I suppose, but we wouldn’t be nearly as prosperous and inventive as we are with them.

It’s time to remember the real Reagan, the President Ronald Reagan who said farewell to his time in office with a speech including the following bits of wisdom:

I’ve been thinking a bit at that window. I’ve been reflecting on what the past 8 years have meant and mean. And the image that comes to mind like a refrain is a nautical one—a small story about a big ship, and a refugee, and a sailor. It was back in the early eighties, at the height of the boat people. And the sailor was hard at work on the carrier Midway, which was patrolling the South China Sea. The sailor, like most American servicemen, was young, smart, and fiercely observant. The crew spied on the horizon a leaky little boat. And crammed inside were refugees from Indochina hoping to get to America. The Midway sent a small launch to bring them to the ship and safety. As the refugees made their way through the choppy seas, one spied the sailor on deck, and stood up, and called out to him. He yelled, “Hello, American sailor. Hello, freedom man.”

And then there’s the more famous portion of it:

I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That’s how I saw it, and see it still.

And as we should always continue to see it.

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Conflation, Obfuscation on Immigration

Not much imagination is required to conclude the Trump Campaign is back on the trail with its prime topic for the upcoming elections.  Immigration.  “Make America Great Again,” was never much more than code for “make America white again,” and the persistent reference to immigration policy, combined with vague commentary about who is under discussion, compounded with a conflation of immigrant with “criminal” doesn’t leave much room for conjecture about intent.  Those who advocate for DACA recipients, or who champion comprehensive immigration policy reform, are to be painted with a three inch gesso base-coat brush as protecting the “animals,” and the “criminals.”  Consider the following items from this past week:

As he has in numerous private meetings with his advisers at the White House, Mr. Trump used the session to vent about the nation’s immigration laws, calling them “the dumbest laws on immigration in the world.” He exhorted his administration to “do much better” in keeping out undesirable people, including members of transnational gangs like MS-13.

“We have people coming into the country, or trying to come in — we’re stopping a lot of them,” Mr. Trump said in the Cabinet Room during an hourlong meeting that reporters were allowed to document. “You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people, these are animals, and we’re taking them out of the country at a level and at a rate that’s never happened before.” [NYT]

We can drill down a bit more into the nuances, if such there are, into this round of conflation.

SHERIFF MIMS: Thank you. There could be an MS-13 member I know about — if they don’t reach a certain threshold, I cannot tell ICE about it.

THE PRESIDENT: We have people coming into the country, or trying to come in — and we’re stopping a lot of them — but we’re taking people out of the country. You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people. These are animals. And we’re taking them out of the country at a level and at a rate that’s never happened before. And because of the weak laws, they come in fast, we get them, we release them, we get them again, we bring them out. It’s crazy.  [Vox]

As the article posits, there was a definite lack of specificity in this exchange, and a President who was in no hurry to clarify the matter.  Clarification was left to a question to the Press Secretary on May 17th, who asserted the President was definitely talking about members of MS 13.  This certainly sounds deliberate, and the pretext for the policy becomes subtext for the audience.

“If Trump understands his own administration’s policy, he’s never acknowledged it in public. He sticks to the same rhetorical move every time: refer to some specific criminals, call them horrible people and animals, say that their evil justifies his immigration policy, and allow the conflation of all immigrants and all Latinos with criminals and animals to remain subtext.”  [Vox]

The problem, of course is that his actual policy doesn’t match his rhetorical flourishes.  A quick look at FY 2017 statistics belies the President’s assertions on who is being deported for what:

“Deportations overall were down during the 2017 fiscal year, most of which was under Trump’s presidency, from the previous year, in part because fewer people were caught illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. But the number of undocumented immigrants without criminal convictions deported from the interior of the country rose dramatically.

People with no criminal convictions accounted for 17 percent of those deported after getting arrested by ICE within the country ― a sharp increase since former President Barack Obama’s last full year in office, when those without criminal convictions made up 8 percent of interior deportations. In total, nearly 14,000 noncriminals were deported from the interior of the country in the 2017 fiscal year, compared with about 5,000 the year before.”  [HuffPo]  (emphasis added)

One more hammer blow on the nail head — there has been an increase in the number of NON-criminal deportations under the current administration, while the President insists on talking about members of a specific gang.  We can probably safely estimate there are between 8,000 and 10,000 members of MS 13 in the US.  [AzCentral] Insight Crime has a helpful publication, available in pdf, describing the gang and its operations which is well worth the time to read carefully.  One major point to consider from the report is that MS 13 is a transnational gang, not a transnational criminal enterprise.  Secondly, it should be noted that the gang follows traditional migration patterns — it is not pro-actively ‘setting up cells.’  The members, indeed are vicious and violent, however neither their numbers, nor their significance deserves the emphasis placed on them by the administration in its efforts to gin up a good Two Minute Hate.  They certainly do not stand as proxy for all immigrants coming to this country.

The President, as usual, is basely playing to his base.  Nor will it do much good to present facts and figures to the members of that flock.  Their response to immigration policy isn’t rational, if it were they wouldn’t be bleating “Build the Wall.”   What is necessary is a solution to the DACA recipients’ problems — created by the President himself — and a legislative package of comprehensive immigration policy reform legislation, which doesn’t reflect the ideology of the White Nationalists among us.  Given their proclivities, the hardliners in the White House and the Congress would have forbidden the immigration of Dolores Huerta’s grandparents to this country, while being more attuned to the philosophy of the likes of Anders Breivik from Norway?

We can make America great again by doing what we’ve always done. Recognize a problem, analyze it rationally, evaluate possible solutions, and discuss compromise legislative remedies.  None of this can occur during a Two Minute Hate, with Sheep, or in the midst of irrational rhetoric and flights of emotional fancy.  If 40% of the populace wish to be irrational fear-ravaged sheep, they need not take the remaining 60% of us off the cliff with them.

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Distraction to Destruction: The Great Immigration Diversion

If a political party doesn’t want to discuss problems like, say, income inequality? Or, gun violence? Or, vote suppression? Or, Heaven Fore-fend, the interference in our elections by a hostile foreign power? — Then what better diversion than Immigration.  Better still, the issue can be framed such that it appeals to the lesser little devils of our nature like racism, and thus be an “acceptable” way to insert racism into our national political discourse as if it were a legitimate topic of immediate consideration.

“Immigrants today account for 13.4% of the U.S. population, nearly triple the share (4.7%) in 1970. However, today’s immigrant share remains below the record 14.8% share in 1890, when 9.2 million immigrants lived in the U.S.”  [Pew]

Thus much for the Huge Wave of Immigrants. It shouldn’t escape anyone’s notice that the immigrants being vilified are coming to our southern border. Those would be the Mexican immigrants, and those from Central American nations — probably the brown versions of human beings, and therefore not likely to assimilate.

“Mexico is the top origin country of the U.S. immigrant population. In 2015, 11.6 million immigrants living in the U.S. were from there, accounting for 27% of all U.S. immigrants. The next largest origin groups were those from China (6%), India (6%), the Philippines (5%) and El Salvador (3%).  By region of birth, immigrants from South and East Asia combined accounted for 27% of all immigrants, a share equal to that of Mexico.”   [Pew]

Oops, there goes another bit of nativist mythology.  Interesting, those crowds bellowing “Build The Wall” aren’t chanting about the 27% of immigrants from South and East Asia.  We can drill down on this a bit more:

“About 1 million immigrants arrive in the U.S. each year. In 2015, the top country of origin for new immigrants coming into the U.S. was India, with 110,000 people, followed by Mexico (109,000), China (90,000) and Canada (35,000).

By race and ethnicity, more Asian immigrants than Hispanic immigrants have arrived in the U.S. each year since 2010. Immigration from Latin America slowed following the Great Recession, particularly from Mexico, which has seen net losses in U.S. immigration over the past few years.”  [Pew]

The “Build The Wall” Gang seem to have missed this point.  To miss the point is to base one’s perception of immigration on the situation before 2010.  Moreover, the Wall is whatever the audience wants it to be.  It’s a real, physical barrier [ChiTrib] [vox] or a metaphor for making white Americans feel like the government is ‘protecting’ them (and their privileges) from incursions by brown people. [Hill] [VanityFair]

What is generally missing from coverage of the administration’s use of the Build The Wall campaign litany is any factual context.  It seems sufficient to the corporate media to show clips of the incantations of “Build The Wall” during rallies, without offering any information explaining that the pretext is a vision of American immigration which is at least eight years old, and is currently statistically indefensible.

It’s also readily apparent the corporate media would rather not discuss the elephant in the room — the underpinning of this perspective on immigration is partially if not essentially racist.  This shouldn’t be too surprising.  This would be the same press that can barely enunciate the word, and applies a host of euphemisms to describe racist remarks as “racially charged,” “distasteful,” “derogatory,” and “racially tinged.” [HuffPo] Again, this would be the same DC press which keeps labeling Trumpian expressions as “counterfactual,” “factual shortcut,” “stretched truth,” and “misleading statement,” [Week] instead of the more accurate old fashioned term — L.I.E. [NYT]

The current occupant of the Oval Office may be right about one thing — his is a made for TV administration, replete with a continuing fountain of daily (hourly?) emissions which fill what might otherwise be dead air.  It is, “news” from a fire hose.  The problem is that it floods any time which might be spared for context and analysis.  Should even tenuous contextualization, analysis, and evaluation be applied the Occupant screams “fake news,” and the chanting rally crowds applaud Dear Leader.

Caveat Emptor.  The chanters are investing in a distraction to divert them from the destruction of their own economic well being, and sense of community.  Arguing with them doesn’t work; their fact-free bubble of Faux News precludes any analysis in conflict with their fundamental racism.  Better to speak to and for those who advocate for a rational and comprehensive immigration policy, and out-vote the ditto-heads who chant “Build The Wall,” and “Amnesty,” whenever it might be suggested that a rational comprehensive policy would be preferable to emotional, irrational, racism.

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