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The following is a statement from Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, regarding the administration’s dangerous, cynical, and reckless ploy to bar Central American asylum seekers from the United States:
Like most Americans, I’ve never seen anything like it: the closing political argument for Trump and the GOP is swerving from cynical to dangerous. Unbelievably, our so-called leaders want us to ignore the bomb assassination attempts aimed at former presidents and other political figures; lie about gutting pre-existing conditions that will threaten the health of 130 million Americans; and deliberately fan the flames of racism as an electoral strategy. Trump and the GOP are trashing the norms and institutions of our nation on the altar of political power.
Trump’s demagoguery is a transparent and desperate ploy to change the news cycle. Trump hopes to scare voters about poor brown people, who flee violence and hope to exercise their legal right to apply for asylum. He wants to change the subject from assassination attempts on political leadership. He wants to change the subject from the GOP’s indefensible record of dismantling healthcare and lying about their repeated efforts to eliminate protections for Americans with preexisting conditions. He wants to change the subject from the fact that the signature achievement of the GOP Congress – a smash-and-grab tax cut that lined the pockets of wealthy donors – puts Social Security and Medicare on the chopping block.
Let’s not even pretend Trump is serious. Trump’s demagoguery regarding a few thousand bedraggled refugees from a failing nation in Central America has nothing to do with addressing the challenge of Central American migration. It’s a stunt that will quickly be blocked in the courts. It’s about theater not substance.
A serious strategy would combine root cause alleviation; a regional approach to refugee protection and resettlement processing in countries neighboring the northern triangle nations of Central America; and a strengthened asylum process that combines efficient processing with case management practices to balance the need to protect refugees and the need to ensure integrity of the immigration system.
Trump isn’t interested in any of that. He wants to push the envelope, grab the attention, change the headlines, ban Latinos and win an election. It won’t work as a policy. Will it work as a homestretch political tactic? That largely depends on how it’s covered. Will those in the media allow themselves to be played by the master manipulator? The early signs are encouraging.
Let’s hope that this nation of 320 million people, a nation with the strongest military in the world, won’t fall for the silly notion that people seeking safety in America are a threat. We are a nation engulfed in the challenges of racial and political polarization, assassination attempts, income inequality, climate change, gun violence, budget deficits, threats to healthcare, educational funding and equity, attacks on civil and voting rights, and so much more. Let’s get real and get serious. Let’s not play into the hands of a desperate and racist President trying to throw sand in our faces so he can hang onto power and avoid accountability.
It’s up to the American people to see through this and lead us through this.