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Last week, in his latest 2020 reelection messaging ploy, President Trump spread terror in communities nationwide by announcing plans to deport “millions” of undocumented immigrants. Editorial boards across the U.S. denounceed Trump’s latest scheme to rile up his 2020 base and it is not just the Northeastern “elitist” newspaper and West Coast “liberal” papers whose editorial boards are denouncing Trump’s actual and threatened actions, the resistance is coming from the heartland as well.
The saddest part is all that effort — from cleaning up the fallout, to the hundreds of agents that will be enlisted to carry out the president’s plan — is for nothing. It won’t make us safer: Trump seems to be making no effort to target criminals over peaceful families. The return on this investment is suffering, not a solution to illegal immigration nor to the influx of hundreds of thousands of desperate immigrants seeking asylum at our southern border.
Of course, doing nothing is not an answer, either. If a judge has determined in a fair process that an immigrant has no case to remain in the country, then the law should be enforced. To ignore it, to let the status quo remain and allow these families to set down roots, as prior administrations have done, is irresponsible, too.
…President Trump has proven incapable of facing this complex issue. His actions have been superficial and callous, and this latest is even worse: nothing more than a cynical ploy to rally his base for his re-election bid. Any hope for real, comprehensive solutions must wait for him to leave office.
Until then, it is up to communities such as Houston, which value and understand the importance of immigrants, to do their best to mitigate Trump’s recklessness. It’s up to us to demonstrate the humanity that our president lacks.
Undocumented or not, rousing a family out of bed at 6 a.m. to abruptly end their lives in the U.S. seems heartless. We don’t do that in America, or at least we shouldn’t.
Now, after spreading panic by playing bad cop, Trump is now playing good cop, saying he wants Congress to try to come up with a solution — or else the raids will be on again. Classic Trump move to put Congress on the spot — and maybe they should be on the spot. It’s easy to blame President Trump for this immigrant mess. But when he points the finger at Congress for not passing immigration reform measures years ago, he’s right. He is now using their failure as a re-election ploy.
When they had control, congressional Republicans didn’t see fit to do much of anything about immigration, even when their political-party brethren, including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, went out on the limb and offered palatable measures. So now, in a re-election cycle, Trump is reforming our immigration system with predawn raids, even in Miami which has long welcomed immigrants and has been strengthen by them. We embrace immigrants, not deport them. That’s who we are.
Trump has long demonized immigrants as being a major source of crime despite research establishing that the opposite is true. He has used dehumanizing language to justify policies that break up families, lock up children and otherwise cruelly treat migrants fleeing poverty and violence in search of a better life.
…These policies and mass arrests, if they come to pass, will break up families without regard to the consequences for children. Many of the people living in the country illegally have been productive contributors to their communities, in some cases for decades. Deporting them would damage local economies and strain the social services left to care for their kids.
Mass arrests will also cause more overcrowding and worsen conditions at migrant detention centers. Rather than addressing a growing humanitarian crisis at the border, Trump has fixated on diverting billions of dollars to a border wall.
The wall does little to address illegal drugs and contraband that largely comes through ports of entry and refugees seeking asylum through legal channels. Instead of trying to help Central American countries improve conditions that cause migrants to leave, Trump seeks to strip aid from them.
Trump doesn’t seem to care if his immigration policies work, as long as they motivate his supporters to vote for him again. More should be expected from DeSantis, who used his outspoken support for Trump to help get elected governor but has taken a more moderate approach while in office.
Trump, his histrionics, his wall, his divisiveness, his deceit and his perverse politics aren’t the answer. They’re part of the problem.
Congress must stand firm and bi-partisan against the Trump administration’s misguided ploy to expand the humanitarian crisis it’s already created by using the country’s immigration dilemma as a sordid political indulgence.
Policies that leverage much-coveted visas to direct a skilled workforce to areas of the United States that are in need, along with legislation like that offered by Lee and Harris, won’t resolve all of our immigration problems. Far from it. But at a time when much of our national conversation about this topic is ugly and angry, there are solutions out there.
Our leaders just need to put politics aside and take advantage of them.
On Saturday, June 22, he walked back from deportations, tweeting, “At the request of Democrats, I have delayed the Illegal Immigration Removal Process (Deportation) for two weeks to see if the Democrats and Republicans can get together and work out a solution to the Asylum and Loophole problems at the Southern Border. If not, Deportations start!”
And then we realized it isn’t about creating a viable fix for the nation’s broken immigration system — it’s about telling his base he’s going to do “the right thing” about nonwhite people.
…Focus on the Mexican border also doesn’t take into account the biggest contributors to illegal immigration — those who legally enter the country. Two times as many illegal immigrants (about 700,000 in 2017 according to U.S. Border Patrol) overstay their visas as cross a border.
And remember, Mexico is America’s third-largest trading partner at $557 billion (and Arizona’s top partner), behind China ($636 billion) and Canada ($582.4 billion). For the man who says he puts business first, attacking Mexico and the southern border is bad business.
Which is why we believe this has nothing to do with immigration and more to do with using race to scare older white voters.
The president’s tweet previewing “the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States” combines menace and hyperbole. It is likely to induce anxiety and panic in some immigrant communities, even though Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency responsible for deportations, lacks the officers, detention space and other resources to remove “millions” of migrants except possibly over the course of years.
More to the point, perhaps, doing so would necessarily entail shattering large numbers of families, including ones well established over a decade or more of residency and whose children, born in this country, are citizens. As Mr. Trump and his administration discovered a year ago, Americans are rightly appalled at the sight of government agents wrenching apart parents and their children; they would likely react just as badly to a rerun involving their neighbors as they did to the original iteration, in which agents focused on families who had recently crossed the border.