I am an advocate for liberal immigration policies and have been one for decades. I came to the United States as a legal immigrant after my mother legally migrated during the early 1950’s. But I’ve also seen how for many, many decades, immigrants, legal and otherwise, have been merely used as political pawns by faux-liberal Democrats.
Despite the noble sonnet writ on the Statue of Liberty, as any real student of history knows the United States is and has always been xenophobic. Ironically and incoherently, as we practiced our xenophobia we praised our nature as a melting pot and as a nation of immigrants. Facing our true nature has never been our strong point. Take our attitude towards peaceful resolution of conflicts. We’re all for it, especially (at least officially) Democrats, but in reality, no country since our founding has been more prone to invading and occupying others and indeed, most major military adventures in the last century have been started under Democratic Party leadership. Hypocrisy is not only evil, it is counterproductive as we spend our resources solving non-existent problems while ignoring real ones. Never more so than today.
On January 11, 2019, Seraphim Hanisch, a young amateur journalist writing in The Duran published an interesting article entitled “A dispassionate case for the American border wall”. Mr. Hanisch has a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Montclair State University in New Jersey and a master’s of divinity degree from Montclair State University, an interesting combination, and may also be an immigrant although not knowing very much about him I confess that only his name makes me reach that observation, an admittedly inadequate basis. Apparently, he self describes himself as a conservative which, notwithstanding current mainstream media perceptions, does not make him automatically wrong. Regardless of the merits of the article, the title makes an important point, one in which our perverted, allegedly “mainstream” media certainly has no interest. Most of the world’s current problems can be traced to the degeneration of the “mainstream media” from pseudo journalists to creative writers employed to write and circulate propaganda for the tiny minority of billionaires who control most of the world’s political systems, much to our detriment.
So, to the point.
As an immigrant and immigrant advocate, I have been aware for half a century that the United States immigration system is dysfunctional at best, perhaps deliberately so. Ineptitude is not always the result of mere inefficiency. It is also unfair and inhumane, but not in the manner that today’s Democratic Party and its media allies portray. Relying on a belief that we have no memory of current events (as too many of us don’t read, watch or listen to news), they attack President Trump’s proposal for a physical barrier on our southern border as immoral, ineffective, too expensive, evil, and “never going to happen”, but some of us do in fact recall that such a barrier was proposed, funded and partially implemented under the administrations of former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, and vocally advocated for by the same Democratic Party leaders who today just as adamantly oppose it. That does not make the proposed border barrier right, it just makes today’s political landscape putrid and emphasizes why real liberals and real progressives ought not to permit themselves to be tainted by association with the Democratic Party. Not that they ought to become Republicans but it is way past time for them to organize a “league of their own”.
The real issue is simple, okay, simple in a complex fashion.
The United States needs immigrants, our demographic realities beg for them. Our population is shrinking and our financial basis requires that it grow for both internal revenue and social security purposes. Moral issues aside (and they are not irrelevant), practical solutions to real problems require expanded not reduced immigration. However, determination of the nature of such immigration is a justifiable and critical issue. Unfortunately, for too many politicians the only real issue is whether or not, once citizenship is attained, immigrants will support their party, and the entirety of the current Democratic Party orchestrated drama seems merely designed to capture that large potential voting bloc, especially with reference to Hispanics, just as it’s captured Afro-Americans, maintaining them in virtual political slavery while ignoring their real needs, a form of sadomasochistic symbiosis for fun and profit. Republicans, notwithstanding efforts by the Bush dynasty to address the issue, seem tone deaf to it but that is not a bad thing. It means that their proposals may be less self-serving, albeit not necessarily better.
The crux of the issue involves a very fundamental problem. Whether or not bad laws should be ignored and not enforced, or reformed and enforced. The Democratic Party’s position is the former, it keeps the immigration issue alive and permits characterization of Republicans as evil, uncaring, unfeeling monsters, indeed child abusers (despite the fact that Democratic Presidents and legislators have been no different). It is a reflection of the traditional divide and conquer strategy now given a kinder and gentler (although no less malevolent) moniker, “identity politics”. The position of the GOP is the latter. The sticking point involves the status of the twelve million or so human beings currently in the United States in willful violation of the current immigration legal structure and those streaming in to join them, a legal structure crafted by both major political parties over way too many decades. A critical aspect for any real solution involves the capacity for any legal reforms to be adequately implemented by avoiding future large scale legal violations. That’s it. That’s the problem, freed of polemics and hyperbole.
President Trump’s immigration proposals are rational (which is not synonymous with optimal) but involve a very fundamental paradigm shift. A system based on merit rather than chance. Rather than the “huddled masses” that have never really been welcome, it would, as most of the world now does, open the United States to further future immigration by prioritizing United States personnel needs. Concurrently, it would provide a pathway to legal status for current non-legal residents, although perhaps not to citizenship, either for them or for their progeny (i.e., the Trump proposal also seeks to eliminate, as much of the rest of the world has done, the automatic birth-right citizenship concept that grants citizenship to almost anyone born within United States territorial jurisdiction regardless of the citizenship status of their parents). Finally, recognizing that past amnesties for illegal immigrants have only increased the problem of non-legal migration, President Trump has adopted-as-his-own the Democratic Party’s southern border barrier proposals as part of the solution, not only to the problem of non-legal migration, but as a means of reducing smuggling of items that current policies prohibit and to permit more effective vetting of those who enter the United States. The proposal would create a problematic, perhaps unworkable dual national system that would deprive the Democratic Party of the voter bloc it so much desires but would eliminate an essential inducement for non-legal immigration. And the Democratic Party solution? Well, there is none, Mr. Trump having coopted theirs. Democrats now just very firmly oppose their prior perceptions, abandoning the “Dreamers” they claim to hold in awe to whatever fate holds in store for them.
As is so often the case there is no right answer, only perhaps the best among bad choices. The Trump proposals are coldly efficient but deprive the United States of the faux moral high ground it has almost always claimed to occupy. They are isolationist rather than globalist and emulate solutions implemented by governments whose human rights records are abysmal, but which in at least the most important case, both major political parties idolize (i.e., Israel). What we need is to look in the mirror and decide who we really want to be, admit it, and move on.
Unfortunately, in the current political and media contexts that is virtually impossible. It requires a political and media reboot and the Dark State that really controls us is not about to permit that, at least not willingly. Still there is good news. Tulsi Gabbard, unfortunately a Democrat but a very different brand of Democrat, just announced her candidacy for the United States presidency. Like former Senator and Secretary of the Navy Jim Webb, she is an anti-war combat veteran and she is not yet bound hand and foot to the hypocrisy and political expediency that characterizes her party. She is a Hindu, child of immigrants, with progressive political tendencies but apparently does not see her political opponents as vermin to be ridiculed. She is, of course, likely to tread the sad but brave path taken by former Congressman and former Democratic Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, i.e., to be Gerrymandered out of office by her own party or worse (yes, the Democratic Party participates in Gerrymandering whenever it suits its purposes), but that she exists inspires hope. Perhaps she can serve as a bridge to find a way out of today’s current quandaries regarding immigration, government shutdowns and hypocrisy, a ray of hope on a dismal day.
Echoing in the background an idyllic tune and prescient words echoing in shadows: “When will we ever learn? When will we, … ever learn?”
Who knows, perhaps, eventually we will.
© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2019; all rights reserved. Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.
Guillermo Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia although he has primarily lived in the United States of America (of which he is a citizen). Until recently he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales. He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies). He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and much of his writing is available through his blog at www.guillermocalvo.com.