Trumpian/Republican Immigration Overreach
What just happened with DACA, immigration, and family separation?
Trump campaigned on a platform of nationalism and xenophobia: Mexican rapists, drug dealers, Salvadoran gang members, MS-13 violence, "radical Islamic terrorism," waves of dark skinned immigrants paying homage to suspect religions and threatening the jobs and values of Christian Americans, images of immigration disaster and unrest in Europe. You know the photos, the videos, and the stories Trump, Fox News, and the rest of the Republican/Libertarian propaganda machine used to push this narrative.
According to Trump and his handlers (Steven Miller and the provocateur, Steve Bannon) immigration is a "crisis." The words "immigration crisis" are even parroted at times by otherwise respectable media. It is an exhortation for action, a call for drastic measures.
But this immigration narrative is a lie. As Shawn Vestal points out there is no "immigration emergency." Border Patrol staffing in the Spokane sector went from 34 to 230 from 2000 to 2017, while apprehensions went from 1324 to 208. The national figures are similar. Read Mr. Vestal's article and ponder propaganda we've been fed, propaganda entirely designed to make us fearful of the "Other," to justify Trump's stupid wall and, more tellingly, to justify a huge overhaul of national policy around legal immigration.
Here's where we need some clear thinking. Trump and the propaganda machine of the Republican Party wants us to think of all immigrants as illegal and menacing, nasty people, the better to hate and fear them, the better to convince us to close our borders and scrap our values.
Trump, Bannon, Miller, and Jeff Sessions keep pushing their bogus narrative. But there is a glimmer of hope. The personal animus these men harbor for immigrants and all they see as foreign, may have driven them to overreach in the court of public opinion. First, Trump arbitrarily set a deadline disbanding DACA and threatened to deport the Dreamers if Congress didn't "solve" the "problem" (on the flimsy excuse that Obama's DACA was executive overreach). Then, with their "zero tolerance" policy, they crossed the line of human decency in their quest, children and even babies from their mothers, evoking images of concentration camps, ghastly images we retain in spite of seventy years separation and efforts by some to deny they happened.
Sadly, most people don't form opinions based on the cold statistics like those Shawn Vestal put in front of us. Most of us form opinions from the constant drip, drip, drip of stories and images that assail us in the media and share among our friends and acquaintances. The faces of the Dreamers in the U.S. since before they can remember, faces speaking perfect English, facing of people striving to better themselves and contribute to society, the anguished faces of mothers separated from their children, all these faces are starting to lay bare the soulless inhumanity of what has become of the Republican Party under Trump.
We know the truth of this when Franklin Graham (the son of Billy Graham) finally speaks out against the family separation policy of Trump and Jeff Sessions. Franklin Graham, in order to further his concept of the "Christian" agenda, was willing to ignore or forgive all of what Trump is, but even Franklin Graham cannot stomach family separation. (His disapproval even aired on the Christian Broadcast Network.)
Trump, Miller, Sessions, and Bannon want to slam shut the door on legal immigration. They are trying to accomplish their goal by pushing a false narrative of fear and emergency in the hope of cornering public opinion. Trump, with his hateful, disgusting, divisive rhetoric, has enlisted the opinions of some, but the family separation, "zero tolerance" policy has crossed the line of human decency. In the backlash we need to call out the lie that is their argument.
Where does McMorris Rodgers fit in all of this? To be continued.
Keep to the high ground,
P.S. I am not big on conspiracy theories. I believe formation of our opinions is a very, very messy process. Assigning nefarious, underhanded motives to other people's statements and actions is dangerous business. That said, I have to note shutting down the borders (and the fear, xenophobia, and (quite possibly) racism that underlies it) has a distinctly self-serving, Party-serving quality. After all, in general, immigrants, especially young immigrants, don't vote Republican. Making any path to citizenship for the Dreamers as hard as possible and limiting legal immigration serves the same Republican purpose as purging voter roles and gerrymandering.
Do I think this is at the top of Trump's, Session's, Miller's, and Bannon's minds in their push to overturn a half a century of immigration policy? I doubt it. At least Trump and Sessions have demonstrated enough xenophobic and racist tendencies over their lives to convince me those are their primary motivators. They do not need to be conscious of Party demographics to push for immigration policies to preserve the Republican base. Somewhere, though, some committed Republican demographer/strategist is rooting for an immigration policy revolution that will insulate the Party against demographic erosion of its base.