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Leading editorial boards, columnists and opinion voices are blasting the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant obsession as harmful to our values and our interests.
Below are examples and excerpts of leading opinion content from the past few days:
The Houston Chronicle’s editorial board on the national security damage stemming from Trump’s anti-immigrant focus: “How Trump’s immigration obsession is hurting national security”
Along with humanitarian concerns that America is abdicating its responsibility and abandoning its tradition as a safe haven for people fleeing persecution, the proposal to cut refugee admittance is facing pushback from, among others, a group of retired officers who wrote a letter to the president this month asking him to reconsider.
…Failing to honor commitments to those who have helped our military in the past puts future operations in jeopardy. Taking in refugees increases stability in conflict regions, and through leading by example, the U.S. guarantees that other countries continue to take in vulnerable populations, military leaders said.
…Closer to home, the administration’s priorities in who is targeted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents continue to be dangerously skewed.
Earlier this month, Roland Gramajo, a community activist who last year was honored by Mayor Sylvester Turner, was arrested by federal immigration officials. Gramajo, the father of five U.S. citizen children, had been previously deported. He was believed to be targeted after he invited ICE to participate in a Sharpstown community forum last month. Reports of men conducting surveillance at the meeting have been denied by the government, but the allegations show the fear and paranoia that has gripped the immigrant community.
The Washington Post’s editorial board on the cruelty and lifelong trauma inflicted by Trump’s family separation policy on children: “A report documents the systematic abuse inflicted on migrant children”
The inspector general’s report details shortcomings on the part of the ORR shelters, which, scrambling to accommodate thousands of unaccompanied minors suddenly thrust upon them, hired staffers without first completing background checks and case managers ill-prepared to care for mental health. Clinicians assigned to counsel children were overwhelmed, facing caseloads double those set by agency rules. Low pay, demanding schedules and a scarcity of qualified candidates available to facilities — some in remote locations — impeded the shelters’ capacity to handle what amounted to a humanitarian crisis.
But blaming the bureaucrats is senseless when the policy itself was at fault. It was then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions who announced “zero tolerance” at the direction of the White House — a strategy of deliberate cruelty explicitly designed to deter Central American asylum seekers from crossing the border. Brutality was not an accidental feature of the administration’s approach; it was the whole point.
Medical groups have warned that children separated from their families are likely to suffer long-term, possibly lifelong, deleterious effects. Long after the Trump administration leaves office, its malice will linger in the lives of those it damaged.
The Boston Globe’s editorial board on the cruelty of Trump’s refusal to support Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Bahamians: “Trump’s refusal of TPS status for Bahamians: Cruelty is the point”
After Hurricane Dorian, which left at least 50 people dead, the last thing Trump wanted were scenes of black men, women, and children streaming into the United States. That does not fit his “America First” brand, which is thinly veiled code for “white America only.” Throughout his presidency, he has stirred rancor about Central American migrants at the southern border. He has often evoked the word “invasion” to dehumanize them, making it easier to separate families, put children in cages, or send them into an under-regulated foster care system where some children have allegedly been physically or sexually abused.
…In the Trump administration, cruelty is certainly the point. It’s also a proven Trump strategy. Whatever else is failing in this presidency — including the economic success he largely inherited from President Obama — his verbal and political abuse of people of color will always be a constant reminder to his base as to why they voted for him in the first place.
Unless the next natural disaster happens to hit Norway, don’t count on the president changing his tune. Racism got Trump to the White House. As his poll numbers dive and his administration grows ever more chaotic, he’s counting on racism to help him win again.
A Washington Post op-ed penned by Dr. Paul Hatzman, pediatric gastroenterologist, on why ending deportation protections for seriously ill patients is both cruel and harmful to medical research: “Immigrants help us find treatments for rare diseases. We owe them for that.”
You would think a grateful country might reward [Maria Isabel] Bueso for the role she has played in advancing this medical treatment by allowing her to stay in the United States and continuing to receive the treatment she helped prove effective. Instead, on Aug. 7, she received a letter from the Department of Homeland Security informing her that she had 33 days to leave the United States or face deportation. While the Trump administration has backed off from that deadline for Bueso and other patients like her, their petitions to stay remain under review. That’s a mistake that could cost patients such as Isabel Bueso their lives and the rest of us the advances we gain from their willingness to help.
…This is remarkably shortsighted. More than 30 million Americans suffer from a rare disease. Ninety-five percent of these conditions lack a single approved treatment. American scientists are working hard to find new treatments, but no single country has enough patients to conduct trials on these ultra-rare ailments. If we want the United States to continue leading the world in medical innovation, we will need patients from around the world to participate in our clinical trials.
…The sacrifice of patients such as Isabel Bueso help provide those families with hope. These families deserve our heartfelt gratitude, not a deportation notice.
The New York Times’ conservative columnist Bret Stephens on how slashing refugee admissions harms America’s best traditions and America’s interests: “Blessed Are the Refugees”
By almost any metric, America’s refugees tend to succeed, or at least their children do. Whatever they do to enrich themselves, they enrich the country a great deal more. Empirical data on immigrant success overwhelmingly confirm what common sense makes plain. People who have known tyranny tend to make the most of liberty. People who have experienced desperation usually make the most of opportunity. It’s mainly those born to freedom who have the knack for squandering it.
…The Trump administration has made no secret of its xenophobia from its first days in office. The number of refugees arriving in the country plummeted from around 97,000 in 2016 to 23,000 in 2018. Last week, The Times reported that the White House was considering options to cut the numbers again by half, and perhaps even bring it down to zero.
…Critics will also claim that “very bad people,” as Donald Trump likes to say, might take advantage of a generous asylum and refugee policy. Here again I’m aware of nobody advocating a “let-the-terrorists-come-too” immigration policy. Only a person incapable of kindness — a person like the president — can think that kindness and vigilance are incompatible, or that generosity is for suckers.