Tag Archives: immigration policy

Make America Good Again: Trump plays the race deck

MAGA blue good again

I’d rather not hear anyone from the right side of the political aisle make accusatory noises about “playing the race card.”  The Oval Office oaf is playing the whole deck, including during his performance in Las Vegas.  The GOP motto of the moment appears to be “Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid.”   There’s a …. caravan coming.  This isn’t a dog whistle to the white nationalists among us, it’s a bull horn announcement for all to hear.

The image: Thousands of brown skinned people approaching our southern border; brown people who are likely rapists, drug dealers, gang members, and now “middle eastern” potential terrorists.   “Patriots” grab your Second Amendment Solutions, protect your women and children; face down this onslaught of brown peril!  He who is President hasn’t yet used the term “brown peril,” but it can’t be too long before he does. He has already let us know he’s a “nationalist.”  All he has to do now is add “white” to make the statement completely true.

Demonize these migrants often enough and perhaps people will forget he put children in cages, separated from their parents at the southern border, and some 136 of them have yet to be reunited with parents his administration admits it cannot locate. Demonize them stridently enough and perhaps people will come to the conclusion that whatever might happen to them in detention camps is warranted?  Demonize them vitriolically enough and his “base” will applaud indefinite detention of families and children in an increasingly cruel and uncivilized application of immigration policy?

Demonize them, and by extension demonize those immigrants who came before, and those who have long since become U.S. citizens, and castigate the Democrats as the party of “others.”  “Others” who are not like “real Americans” and therefore must be unintelligent, obsequious, corrupt and capable of being corrupted, illegal and thus easily tempted to do illegal acts (like voting); “Others” who must be eliminated from our body politic before despoiling the white purity of our republic.

This kind of rhetoric from the White House isn’t discriminatory, it’s eliminationist.  Democrats are an “angry mob.”  While the anger of the Proud Boys spills out from the Republican Club in NYC and protesters are beaten; while the anger of the White Nationalists surges in Charlottesville bearing tiki torches and driving a vehicle into a crowd, killing one person and injuring several others; while these incidents are publicized for all to see, Trump and his minions project their own anger, their own frustration, their own bigotry onto the others.  It isn’t too far from the mentality of the mobs which gathered to watch, and to applaud, the lynching of African American men, or who took part in the lynching of  Michael Donald in 1981.

If Trump can’t find any examples of terrorists in the crowd of migrant refugees, he can use two of his favorite tricks.  Trick OneReverse the burden of proof.  When asked about whether there were gang members and middle eastern terrorists in the crowds, Trump replied that the news organizations should be the ones to investigate the matter. He is telling us that he believes this mythology (or finds it useful) and that it is up to everyone else to fact check him. He conveniently places the burden of proof on the media to debunk his lies, while he keeps lying.

Trick Two: Never admit a mistake.  If an independent investigation demonstrates no connection between immigrants and Democrats, then it must be that the news media didn’t look hard enough, didn’t look in the right places, didn’t debunk all the possible permutations of his preferred conspiracy theory of the day.  There’s a variation on this theme:  Move the goal posts.  It’s not enough to release a birth certificate, it has to be the long form.  It’s not enough to release the long form, the long form has to be verified by original sources. And so it goes. If this doesn’t work there’s always the dismissive “it’s not important anymore” comment.  We’ve seen this before.  He simple doesn’t want to talk about those instances when he has been emphatically, demonstrably, totally, dead wrong. So, he doesn’t.  He moves on to his next lie.

Flood the zone:  More lies, more often, and more work for the fact checkers.  This past week has been instructive if we’re looking for big lies, little lies, and a preponderance of lies.  We’re going to have a 10% tax cut for the middle class!  Not while Congress isn’t in session.  Well, maybe when Congress meets after the mid-terms…. maybe never because his first round of tax cuts has blown up the deficit.

He’d rather say anything than admit his Senate Majority Leaders has let the cat out of the burlap bag when McConnell openly stated programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security would have to be cut to pay for Trump’s tax bonus to the top 1%.

Mexico is never paying for his wall.  But, we have to have a wall. We have to have a wall. There’s a caravan, so there has to be a wall.  That there is precious little public land in Texas on which to put this wall and buying up private land (and using the dreaded eminent domain) will be prohibitively expensive, doesn’t matter.  It’s the symbolism of the wall, the idea of a physical barrier between the hordes of women and children and the border which is important to the imagery.

Perhaps we should listen to the “survivors” of the “Bowling Green Massacre?”  There are “riots in California.”  Interesting.  I haven’t seen any sign of this on my television set, and I live in an area in which California news is quite common.  There are more lies about how many jobs are related to arms deals with Saudi Arabia — and more about the size of the deals themselves. [VanFair]

His White House will not respond to inquiries about those “terrorists” in the caravan of migrants, nor does he answer too many questions about specifics of the Saudi arms deals; he will, however, change his tune concerning the murder of Jamal Khashoggi to fit the Saudi attempt at explication of the moment. [BBC]

There are two weeks until the U.S. mid-term elections.  Two weeks.  This is the checkpoint.  This is the place where the road forks and the lies, the demonization, and the obfuscation continue or it can take the other route and the guard rails gradually move back into place.  No one else can do this for us. We have to do it for ourselves. Vote.

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Filed under Heller, Nevada, Nevada politics, Politics

Our Outrage Was Insufficient: Tent City Terrors

If we thought the outrage was sufficient to make the current administration reverse its inhumane immigration policies — we were wrong.  This from the New York Times two days ago:

In shelters from Kansas to New York, hundreds of migrant children have been roused in the middle of the night in recent weeks and loaded onto buses with backpacks and snacks for a cross-country journey to their new home: a barren tent city on a sprawling patch of desert in West Texas.

In their former residences the children had access to schools, and to legal assistance. In their new housing they are given workbooks (read: busy work) left ungraded or marked, and they have limited access to any legal assistance they might require.

How many children? 1,600 so far.  The capacity of the “tent city” to which the children were sent is now estimated at 3,800.  The Department of Health and Human Services says these transfers are being done to protect the children from trafficking and other abuses. Not. So. Fast.

“The roughly 100 shelters that have, until now, been the main location for housing detained migrant children are licensed and monitored by state child welfare authorities, who impose requirements on safety and education as well as staff hiring and training.

The tent city in Tornillo, on the other hand, is unregulated, except for guidelines created by the Department of Health and Human Services. For example, schooling is not required there, as it is in regular migrant children shelters.” [NYT]

This doesn’t quite square with DHHS FAQs on the subject of housing and services:

UAC shelters provide housing, nutrition, physical and mental healthcare, educational services, and recreational activities such as television and sports. They provide an environment on par with facilities in the child welfare system that house American children.

The facilities are operated by nonprofit grantees that are certified by state authorities responsible for regulating such facilities housing children.

The statement above tends to summarize the guidelines from the Department of Health and Human Services, (see below) but the situation in Texas certainly doesn’t sound like it comports with the requirements:

“Care providers must conduct an educational assessment within 72-hours of a UAC’s admission into the facility in order to determine the academic level of the child and any particular needs he or she may have. Care providers must provide educational services based on the individual academic development, literacy level, and linguistic ability of each unaccompanied alien child.

Each unaccompanied alien child must receive a minimum of six hours of structured education, Monday through Friday, throughout the entire year in basic academic areas (Science, Social Studies, Math, Reading, Writing, Physical Education, and English as a Second Language (ESL), if applicable). Care providers adapt or modify local educational standards to develop curricula and assessments, based on the average length of stay for UAC at the care provider facility, and provide remedial education and after school tutoring as needed. Learning materials must reflect cultural diversity and sensitivity. Any academic breaks must be approved in advance by the care provider’s Project Officer. In no event will any academic break be approved that is over two (2) weeks in duration.

Unaccompanied alien children may be separated into class groups according to their academic development, level of literacy, and linguistic ability rather than by chronological age. As needed, unaccompanied alien children must be provided an opportunity for learning advancement, such as independent study, special projects, pre-GED classes and college preparatory tutorials, among others. Academic reports and progress notes are included and updated in the unaccompanied alien child’s case file which is either sent to another care provider in the event of a transfer or released to the unaccompanied alien child upon discharge.

In short, if the children were left in “regular migrant shelters” then the guidance referenced above would be required, but it seems not to apply to the Tornillo facility, perhaps because the latter is considered “short term” or a transitory station for those who are to be released shortly?  This calls up the question: If the youngsters, presumably ages 13-17), are soon to be released then WHY move them at all?  And, the question about why move them at night is answered in the New York Times article: The authorities wanted to minimize the youngsters’ ability to run away.

Right now is as good a time as any to recall that:

(1) The Trump Administration hasn’t really done much to alter the inhumanity of its immigration policies, and certainly not in respect to our treatment of children.

(2) The Administration is increasing, not decreasing, its efforts to penalize, stigmatize, and traumatize people who approach our ports of entry seeking asylum. It is legal to seek asylum.  It is unconscionable to narrow the justification for seeking asylum such that almost no one becomes eligible.

(3) It is unconstitutional, immoral, indecent, and inhumane to separate children from their parents.  The Administration still has not fully complied with the court ordered reunification of parents and children.  The executive branch made a hash of the original plan, hoped no one would notice what a debacle the policy created, and then sought to have the ACLU become responsible for fixing the Administration’s mess.

(4) The Administration is currently seeking to hold some children indefinitely.  Indefinitely.

(5) The Administration is relying on the services of BCFS to provide the expertise and governance of the shelter.  BCFS advertises its world wide connections, but its government partnerships are mostly with Texas, along with Nevada, Washington, and Maine, and the City of Los Angeles.  It also lists various federal agencies among its partners.  There is certainly nothing intrinsically wrong with agencies farming out projects to non-profits, it’s done all the time in a variety of circumstances.  However, the old business adage always applies: “You can’t control what you don’t own.”

The bottom line appears to be that the administration is forging an immigration policy predicated on blatant racism (no Brownish Tinged People Need Apply) and founded on the concept that to make America great again America should be White.  How can we be great if we allow people to come from “Sh*thole Countries?”

It’s time to hear, very clearly, from our federal office seeking candidates — for example Senator Dean Heller (R-NV).  At what point do we stop advocating stop-gap partial fixes which “pronounce” the displeasure of Congress with the notion of separating children from their families, and take up REAL immigration policy reform?

When do we do the right thing?  Protect Dreamers?  Allow a path to citizenship for qualified productive members of our society? Protect naturalized citizens from petty prosecutions and pointless deportations?  Protect natural born citizens from ridiculously racist harassment? Cherish the children who come to us seeking our help and shelter?

“Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen.  But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an everflowing stream.” (Amos 5:23-24)

In other words, when do we cut the song and dance and do the right thing?

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Filed under Human Rights, Immigration, Politics

559 Questions for Senator Dean Heller

On June 18, 2018 Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) was pleased to let us all know he had taken a baby step away from the Trumpian child separation policy at the US – Mexico border:

“Senator Heller doesn’t support separating children from their families, and he believes that this issue highlights just how broken our immigration system is and why Congress must act to fix it.” [LVRJ]

As of August 9, 2018 Time reports there are still 559 migrant children (of an original 2,551) who have not yet been reunited with their parents. 386 parents have already been deported.  There are 26 parents for which the government says it has no information at all.  The authorities say they’ve heard from 299 parents in the previous week.  As of August 9, 2018 the Trump mis-administration still had no plan in place to reunite children with their parents.

Then, on August 10th NPR reports:

“More than 360 immigrant children in U.S. custody are still separated from parents who were deported by the U.S. government. About 200 immigrant children are still without their parents for other reasons. This afternoon, the government presented its plan to San Diego federal judge Dana Sabraw about how to reunify deported parents with their children. Part of that plan includes a heavy lift for the ACLU, which brought the case to reunify the families.”

Wait a minute. Why is the “heavy lift” assigned to the American Civil Liberties Union?  Simple, the administration wanted to make the ACLU assume the burden of proof that the parents really wanted their children back.  The ACLU responded:

“…they say that the parents who have been deported were either confused or in some cases coerced, tricked into agreeing to deportation because they believed that meant they’d be reunified with their kids. And the ACLU has consistently pointed to the fact that, you know, in large part, the government has really – they’ve had to have been ordered for most of this to be able to act. The government really hasn’t done much willingly. But the ACLU is also privately acknowledging at this point that they also need to talk to these parents individually. And they recognize that they’re going to be part of this solution to reunify these parents.” [NPR]

Focus: The administration officials haven’t done much. They’ve had to be forced to do what little they have done, and now they want the burden shifted to the attorneys for the plaintiffs… I haven’t been to law school, however, this sounds more than a little like the southbound product of my ever faithful metaphorical northbound bull.

Meanwhile back on July 25, 2018 Senator Heller spoke on the Senate Floor about the separation policy:

Heller said on the Senate floor today that he’d heard concerns from more than 3,500 constituents over the family separations. Thousands of children, some still in diapers, have been separated from their family members as a result of the Trump policy.

“My constituents have spoken to families split apart at the borders and some are being held in Southern Nevada,” he said. “And they are, frankly, asking for help. So being reunified with their children is their top priority.” [LVSun]

It doesn’t seem to have been a top priority for the administration.  August 10th was also the day the federal authorities finally announced they had a “plan,” or at least the outline of a plan. [MJ]  That would be one day after it was reported that ICE withheld phone numbers of deported parents from the ACLU attorneys. [HuffPo]

We have three touch points here, and for the sake of clarity let’s note that on the first touch point, June 18th, Senator Heller is his usual vague self — the policy is bad and Congress should fix it.  Nothing more specific is on offer.  By the second touch point, July 25th, Senator Heller has signed on to some legislation which purports to “solve the problem.”  It doesn’t address the general issue of immigration reform, and frankly does little beyond repeat the protections of the Constitution already in place — children should not be separated from parents during the administrative and/or legal review of their cases.  Finally, the court ordered plan (or at least the outline of the government’s plan, by August 10th obviates the need for Senator Heller’s showcase bit of legislative co-sponsorship.  Courts have ordered what the Senate couldn’t get around to doing, i.e. ordering the administration not to separate children and parents, and not to remove them (especially out of the country) during the adjudication of their cases.

Return with us now to another touch point.  It is June 27, 2013 and the US Senate has just passed a compromise Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill.  The measure included:

The Gang of Eight bill would essentially revamp every corner of U.S. immigration law, establishing a 13-year pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants, with several security benchmarks that have to be met before they can obtain a green card. The measure would not only increases security along the border, but requires a mandatory workplace verification system for employers, trying to ensure no jobs are given to immigrants who are not authorized to work in the United States.  It also includes a new visa program for lesser-skilled workers – the product of negotiations between the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and labor unions. And it shifts the country’s immigration policies away from a family-based system to one that is focused on more on work skills.

Sound familiar?  The 2013 bill had many of the features still under consideration today, and Senator Heller was a “yes” vote on the comprehensive bill on June 27, 2013. Thus it seems fair to ask, if the Senator held a favorable view of the 2013 bill then why has he not encouraged, sponsored, co-sponsored, or promoted an updated version since?  Instead, Heller charges that comprehensive immigration reform isn’t possible because Democrats don’t want immigrants to work. [TP]

In an audio recording of a March 2 speech, obtained by Politico and released Friday, Heller claimed that no progress can be made on immigration reform for the roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. “Republicans want illegal immigrants to work but not vote. Democrats want them not to work, but to vote. Think about that for a minute,” he told the audience. “That’s why we can’t come together on a solution for this.”

This statement is demonstrably false.

Well, we could “think about that for a minute,” and reach the same conclusion.  Senator Heller is playing to the Trumpian audience.  The statement is, in fact, demonstrably false; but useful as part of a dog-whistle/bull horn/fire siren stump speech to the faithful.

Here is where the incumbent Senator gets himself entangled in his own rhetoric.  It’s hard to generate sympathy for his protestations concerning the Zero Tolerance/Maximum Pain policy of separating parents and children at the southern border when it’s noted he’s perfectly willing to play the “immigrants as the ignorant tools of corrupt Democrats” card.

It’s also difficult to find any reason for a round of applause for his co-sponsorship of a fairly narrow, and decidedly right wing 2018 version of immigration policy reform, when doesn’t come all that close to what he was willing to support in 2013.   The hard sad fact is that comprehensive immigration reform bills passed the Senate in 2006 and 2013 and failed to find sufficient support among House Republicans to pass them. [Politifact]

We could come to a solution on this if we ignored (or replaced) Senators such as Dean Heller who wish to beat their drums while continuing to blow on their dog whistles, and elected members of the US Congress who would be willing to take up the issue as it was addressed in 2006 and 2013 — and DO something.

 

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Filed under Immigration, Nevada politics, Politics

Thank You For Your Service, Sort Of…

To all the flag-wavin’, flag-clutchin’, flag-wearin’, flag-supportin’ members of the the GOP,  and this includes senatorial candidate Dean Heller,  here’s some unsolicited advice on how to truly be supportive of our Armed Forces and veterans. Some of these don’t translate well into bumper stickers or shouted slogans, but they just might be more effective.

#1. Let’s start with NOT separating from service members of the military and reservists who happen to be immigrants on a path to citizenship. [USAT]  For crying out loud, these people are VOLUNTEERS.  They have volunteered to place themselves deliberately in harm’s way to protect the safety and security of the rest of us.  Aren’t these exactly the kind of people we want to join us as citizens of these United States?

#2.  Let’s stop creating deportation issues for some 11,800 members of our military families [MilTimes] and let’s stop deporting the spouses of our veterans [NBC].  Where, please, are the voices of our members of the US Senate — yes, Senator Heller, this includes you — and the voices of our Representatives in the House?  And, yes, Rep. Amodei (R-NV2) this means you as well.  Please don’t try to convince me of your love and respect for active duty personnel and veterans while you allow them to worry about the deportation status of their spouses — and the mothers and fathers of their children.

#3.  Let’s start paying members of the military what they are worth rather than beginning the calculation with what we think is the least amount we can pay and still meet budget restrictions. For example, the pay increase for member of the US military for 2017 was 2.1%, and granted that’s above the “austerity years” previously, but the inflation rate for 2017 was also 2.1% so our members of the armed forces didn’t actually get a raise in terms of real purchasing power.  The latest bill includes a 2.6% pay raise. Will this cover inflation rates? [Mil.com] [FedPay] Can I get an “Amen!” from Senator Heller? From Representative Amodei?  I’m not hearing anything…

#4. And, while we are discussing purchasing power… Remember back in April 2018 when the White House floated a proposal to cut SNAP benefits? [Mil.com]  Those cuts would effect members of the US military. [Mil.com]  That argument was still going on as of July 5, 2018. [SanAntonioC] How about we decide not to have this argument at all. How about paying members of the US military enough so SNAP benefits are unnecessary, or if they must be then making sure military families have sufficient resources to put food on their tables? This would seem to be a very supportive thing to advocate? Yes? Senator Heller? Yes? Representative Amodei?

Meanwhile, what’s happening in the current legislation headed to the Oval Office [USNI]  on Basic Housing Allowances? Whenever Senator McConnell says things including the phrase “more opportunity,” I begin to wonder Whose Opportunity to do what.  On Tricare? On dental treatment plans?

In short, let’s stop talking about “thank you for your service,” and “support the troops,” and DO something that allows them to be thankful they joined the US Armed Forces.  If we truly appreciate their service then we ought to be willing to pay for it.

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Filed under Amodei, Heller, Immigration, Military pay, Nevada politics, No Child Left Behind, Politics

There Never Was Any Plan: The Story of the entire Orange Blossom Administration

Return with us now to those days of yesterday, if not exactly yesterday, when the Trump declared his health care plan would be wonderful — “No one will lose coverage. There will be insurance for everybody. Healthcare will be a “lot less expensive” for everyone — the government, consumers, providers.”  [Politico]  That was March 13 2017.  Well now, some people have lost coverage, it isn’t going to be any less expensive to get health insurance. In fact, health insurance premiums are expected to increase in California, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania, and it is just as bad elsewhere:

Rate filings to date show that many insurers are requesting large premium increases for 2019. The average requested rate increase was 30.2 percent in Maryland and 24 percent in New York state. Most insurers have specifically cited the repeal of the individual mandate in their actuarial memorandums. In New York, insurers attributed about half their large requested increases to mandate repeal. Even in states with small rate increases or overall decreases, insurer filings state that premiums next year would be significantly lower in the absence of federal sabotage. For example, BlueCross BlueShield of Vermontrequested a relatively small 7.5 percent increase for 2019 but said that its request would have been 2.2 percentage points lower if not for mandate repeal. Peter V. Lee, the director of Covered California, said that his state’s average rate increase of 9 percent “could—and should—have been much lower.” [CAP]

Let’s be serious here. There wasn’t a health care plan, not one with any specifics. There was a ton of “repeal and replace” rhetoric.  Trumpian campaign slogans never translated into much more than the continual erosion of Affordable Care Act provisions in favor of the insurance industry.  There never was a comprehensive plan to deal with market problems, industry sector issues, and the health care needs of some 330 million people in this country.  This administration doesn’t PLAN.

But wait, wasn’t there an “infrastructure plan?”  It would seem there should be since we keep having infrastructure weeks?   On February 11, 2018 the administration rolled out its grand infrastructure proposal [CNN] albeit without any suggestion about how this would be paid for;

“At the Conference of Mayors in January, Gribbin explained that the Trump administration would not be proposing a specific funding mechanism for the infrastructure plan, saying that will be a conversation with Congress. But that discussion just got a lot harder following the passage of a tax plan that is expected to expand the deficit by over a trillion dollars over ten years.” [MoneyCnn]

So, we got “conversations with Congress” about how to implement the “infrastructure plan,” but no infrastructure plan with much of anything except sops to for profit job training centers, lowered work rule and environmental permitting standards, and precious little else.  There never was a real, a comprehensive, plan in place such that the negotiations (or conversations) with Congress would ever be on a firm foundation. Surprised? We shouldn’t be.

Perhaps we should have been impressed with the trade plan?  After all, isn’t this supposed to put America First?  However, our friends and trading partners have been reduced to using color coded cue cards to explain high school level trade concepts to an American president [Marketwatch] and he doesn’t give any appearance he understands  fundamental concepts.  Reason sums up one area of dissonance:

“As Veronique de Rugy noted here a couple of weeks ago, “This is one policy area where he’s been remarkably consistent over the years.” Even when Trump pays lip service to free markets, she observed, it’s with the aim of increasing exports and reducing imports so as to bring down the number he thinks crystallizes our failure and lack of resolve. Trump is not talking like a mercantilist in service of free trade; he is talking like a free trader in service of mercantilism.” [Reason]

Let’s just operate on the simpler assumption — he doesn’t understand the subject; he doesn’t really have a plan; and, all the “motion” that passes for “action” in this administration’s trade policy is tantamount to economic and monetary plate juggling.  As long as he can make grand announcements about vague promises to eventually do something, and none of the plates fall, he’s all good.  Witness the EU deal:  “In reality, the Europeans gave up little except their prior refusal to negotiate under threat. Juncker’s pledge that the E.U. would import more U.S.-grown soybeans, for instance, formalized something that was likely to happen anyway.” [NewYorker]  Always assume: There is NO Plan.

And, about that Immigration enforcement policy which was supposed to have a plan to reunite children with their parents?   As of June 22, 2018 the Trump Mis-administration had to admit it had NO PLAN to reunite all children with their parents. [NYMag]  Really?  Well, not really completely opaque since the policy was all about punishing people who had the temerity to appeal for asylum in the United States who happened to be people with slightly darker skin than their Caucasian cohorts.   Thus if the policy didn’t meet the needs of the children and their parents, then the children could be conveniently re-categorized as “ineligible”  meaning the mis-administration might side step any accountability for their plight. [MSNBC]

Pick a topic, any topic.  Speak of environmental protections, clean drinking water, the protection of wildlife, or the protection of consumers from banking institution predation.  Speak of plans to provide better housing for married members of the US Armed Forces? Speak of plans to offer better, more efficient educational, medical, or dental services to Veterans?  Speak of plans to insure more cities are not plagued with lead in their water supplies?  Speak of how to provide long term assistance to American ranchers and farmers, and to promote the global trade in the crops and animals they raise for sale? Speak of how to research, study, and restrain the levels of gun violence in this country so that we are a safer place for ourselves and our children?  Speak of how we address matters of election security? To address Russian infiltration and attacks on our political institutions?  Pick a topic. Any topic.  Then rest unassured, this administration HAS NO PLAN.

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Filed under Health Care, health insurance, Immigration, Infrastructure, Politics, trade deficit

It’s July 26th, does Senator Heller know where the children are?

Here’s an interesting bit of information from Senator Dean Heller (R-NVTrumpistan):

“Heller said on the Senate floor today that he’d heard concerns from more than 3,500 constituents over the family separations. Thousands of children, some still in diapers, have been separated from their family members as a result of the Trump policy.

“My constituents have spoken to families split apart at the borders and some are being held in Southern Nevada,” he said. “And they are, frankly, asking for help. So being reunified with their children is their top priority.” [LVSun]

I’m missing something here?  So 3,500 Nevadans have contacted Senator Heller about their concerns for family reunification, and exactly what is it that Senator Heller has DONE about this?  Other than give a speech on the floor of the Senate?  He’s co-sponsoring a bill? And, the chance of passage?  The pros and cons of the specific measure?  So, please give me credit for being a charter member of the Protect Our Soybean Bins Alliance and Associated Affiliates?  Merely because I jump up and down demanding a sane trade policy from an insane administration?  No.  Not until I do something — as in do something with a chance of making a difference — as in do something to make the “zero tolerance” policy go bye-bye — do I get credit for any accomplishment?

In the mean time, Reuters posted this article 6 hours ago:  “Government lawyers told a federal judge in San Diego earlier this week that 917 parents out of about 2,500 who were parted from their children may not be eligible for prompt reunification because they have already been deported, have waived reunification, have criminal backgrounds, or are otherwise deemed unfit.”  When you can’t meet the goals move the posts?

There’s more from the Texas Tribune.  And more from the Texas Monthly. From the San Diego Union Tribune.   We’re past the time for nice floor speeches.  Actions should, and indeed must, speak louder than words — especially among those who would style themselves our “law makers.”

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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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