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Archive for the ‘Immigration’ Category

The rich people in the $100k camper vans will fight with the strength of a thousand suns for their poppy fields and their plastic straw bans, but do they care that a few hundred miles south of here is a militarized zone where thousands of refugees are forced into the desert to their deaths? Refugees fleeing violence in Central America that was facilitated by U.S. policies and intervention? That their bodies are not recovered, that humanitarian aid workers are arrested for leaving food and water for them? That Cabeza Prieta wildlife refuge, a wilderness area where there is much infrastructure to protect the endangered sonoran pronghorn and where the ground is littered with the bones of refugees, recently added a clause to its permit application specifically prohibiting hikers from leaving food and water?

No, they don’t care.

I would trample every poppy in every single poppy field if it meant that they would care.

— Carrot Quinn’s Blog

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Wendy was forced to leave Honduras in 2018 after surviving many years of domestic violence. She also suffered a politically motivated attack just before escaping the country. Afraid that she would be killed, she fled to the U.S. in search of safety. Immigration officials detained her while she was pregnant at the Eloy Detention Center and she managed to be released on a bond last year.

In spite of Wendy’s fear of returning to Honduras, the immigration judge recently denied her asylum claim. The judge’s decision reflects the racism of our legal system, in which few Central American asylum seekers are able to win their cases in front of the judges. Wendy is now faced with a choice: appeal the decision or accept a deportation back to Honduras, where she could be killed.

Wendy has the chance to appeal the denial – and stay in the U.S. – but only if she can pay the attorney’s fees for the appeal. Will you help support Wendy in fighting her case? If Wendy can raise $2,000, she will be able to continue her appeal.

— Carrot Quinn’s Blog

I contributed $20. Maybe you can help, too! [click here]

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The president is now trying to use a chant to present to the American people a complex problem that no one has been able to properly address let alone solve in decades. Chants like this are useful for second-graders as mnemonic devices, or for indoctrination, but they do not work for me.

The president looks foolish and puerile to me when he spouts such drivel.

I am an immigrant. Not a third-generation immigrant like Trump himself, but a direct immigrant, like two of his wives and his in-laws. I have voiced my views about immigration many times in these pages.

Ponderings on the Trump Wall

Trump and his Scare Tactics about the Migrant Caravan

Immigrants are not Bad – Like Trump would have us Believe

Trump’s Police State – the Beginning

Book Review – Spare Parts – by Joshua Davis

Immigrant Statistics

Immigrants Who Created Jobs – and Tucker Carlson

Is there something wrong with our immigration system? Of course, I agree, and I don’t think I know anyone who does not agree. Trump proclaiming that “Democrats want open borders” is a foolish soundbite that does not reflect reality. Nobody wants open borders. Everyone agrees that to have a nation you need borders.

The United States, compared to many or most other countries, is in a unique position in that it only has two neighbor nations. This position has contributed to the country’s rise over the last century. It’s difficult to invade or attack a nation in such a geographic location.

We have immigration laws that are not being enforced properly, and when being enforced, result in public outcry, like family separation policies. We have immigration laws that prevent legal immigration for jobs where we need the help, like in agriculture, service jobs, etc. Immigration reform is a huge challenge and needs to take place. The problem is that it hasn’t been addressed, and no administration or Congress has found it possible to pull it off.

Trump is trying to reduce it to a soundbite. And while a border wall may well be necessary and helpful in some places, or all places along the southern border, it’s not going to get public support by spouting soundbites, particularly when those soundbites are based on incorrect facts.

Many of us don’t believe that “the wall” Trump wants would actually work and bring down crime. I don’t believe that immigrants are our main source of crime. I actually think Trump is vilifying immigrants as a political pawn game. He knows that sowing fear works, as proven by dictatorships throughout history. Scare the people enough, and they’ll let you do anything!

If Trump really wanted a wall, he should stimulate an active dialog. He should have the problem studied properly and he should educate the public with the facts. If the facts showed that a wall would solve the immigration problem and bring down crime, 90% of us would support it. There is no question in my mind about that.

Trump, if he were to stimulate a productive debate about the immigration problem, and came up with an immigration bill that would solve that problem, he would have the support of every Democrat and Republican in Congress. If he did that in his remaining two years, he would truly by viewed as a successful president.

Show a Will – Craft a Bill!

 

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Trump’s tantrums and his playing reality TV with the nation’s economy so he can get $5 billion to build a border wall (which he said Mexico was going to pay for) had me do just a bit of research.

I have always thought that walls don’t work. People tunnel under walls, and they fly over them. As a matter of fact, the majority of undocumented aliens in the United States arrived here by plane, came in through an airport, got their passport stamped, and then overstayed their visa.

Hordes at the border trying to cross are images made up by the Trump administration to scare us. Making immigrants out to be murderers and rapists are scare tactics. Immigrants in general are more productive and contribute more to society and the economy than native-born Americans.

Trump trying to state that “Democrats want open borders” is simply silly. Nobody wants open borders. Border laws must be enforced. Nobody will disagree with you on that. But spending $5 billion on a wall would take years, would be a waste of money, and would not make a difference in the end. So why do it?

Trump is also telling us that immigrants flooding into the United States is a problem for us, and that this is now worse than ever. That, too, is simply not true.

In fact, our undocumented population has dropped during the Obama years and has continued to drop between 2014 and 2018, beyond the chart above.

The methods that are in place are working and have been working. Trump is not doing any miracles. He is simply playing reality TV games with us and making us froth at the mouth, turning us against each other.

Here is a study on illegal immigration which provides some valuable facts:

US Undocumented Population Drops Below 11 Million in 2014, with Continued Declines in the Mexican Undocumented Population

It took me no more than 20 minutes of casual research to counter most of Trump’s “facts” about the terrible immigration problem we’re having in the south. Does he ever google some of these issues himself? Does he have staff that provides the facts to him if he can’t google? Does anybody advise the man?

The Congress should deny spending a single dollar on a border wall that makes no sense, has no purpose, and does not fix a problem we actually don’t have.

If the president is willing to cripple our economy over this, it’s his own doing and everyone knows it.

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Trump really must think we’re all stupid.

If you took a commercial airliner from Dallas, TX to Guatemala, it would take over three hours.

The distance is about the same as that from San Diego to Canada, and the majority of the “hike” is in desert terrain.

The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a world-famous hike that a few thousand people hike every year. It starts at the Mexian border outside of San Diego and goes to the Canadian border in Washington State. Seasoned through-hikers walk 20 to 30 miles a day, every day. They start in April and end in September. The hike is brutal, requires frequent resupply packages, and only the most persistent and hardy hikers finish it. It also costs a hiker a few thousand dollars for resupplies, several pairs of hiking boots that they wear out, and broken gear. You can find out more by reading one of the many books about hiking the PCT. Here is one of them I reviewed: Book Review: Bliss(ters): How I Walked from Mexico to Canada One Summer – by Gail M. Francis.

So now Trump is sending over 5,000 American soldiers to the border to wait for 5 months for the first of these migrant families with children in their arms, in flip-flops, with water bottles in their hands, to reach the American border?

There is so much wrong with this. If the president really believes this caravan is a danger to the safety of the United States, he can definitely wait 5 or 6 months until the caravan gets close and then send troops.

In the interim, the military could use its satellite surveillance to keep track of the caravan.

Of course, not a single one of those migrants in the current caravan will ever make it near the United States border due to the immense hardship of the incredibly long trip. It makes the Mormon hand-cart trips in the 1800s look like a walk in the park in comparison.

Obviously, the president and his supporters are using this to scare us. They are using fear-tactics and xenophobia to whip up the ignorant and uneducated, the people that don’t have the insight to look at a simple map and assess what’s really going on.

Fortunately, most Americans can see through this nonsense.

I can only say: MAGA stands for Make America Stupid Again.

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Why is the Trump administration bombarding us with messages about immigrants being bad? They are making this huge deal about “open borders.” They are portraying immigrants as murderers, rapists, criminals, gang members, etc. They are parading people on stages holding up pictures of family members murdered by immigrants. Somehow, it’s made the country think that immigrants are something bad, criminal, to be avoided, to be punished.

The president keeps saying that we “want open borders” because we don’t think building a wall makes sense, or because we believe separating children from their parents at the border is inhumane and immoral. 

The president should take a class in Logic 101. I do not “want open borders.” Of course, our borders should be controlled and we need immigration legislation that makes sense.

Both statements can be true:

  1. I do not think we should have open borders.
  2. I do not think building a wall would solve any of our immigration problems.

To get his way, logical or not, Trump misstates reality and disseminates untrue facts.

Check out my post on immigrant statistics and note that immigrants in America are way better educated than American-born people, they start more businesses, and they have more college degrees. Of the 400 richest Americans (according to Forbes), 41 are immigrants. Even illegal immigrants (undocumented migrants as we call  them) have a place in our society by working in low-wage jobs in agriculture, food service and – yes – in Trump properties.

To solve the undocumented migrant problem, I believe we need to institute a proper guest worker program, so the migrants can live here legally while they are gainfully employed, contribute to our society and economy with their services, and pay taxes to support our system.

In the modern world there is no way to keep poor people out of rich countries. You can build walls, only to find that the people fly over the walls or dig under them. The solution is proper trade, fair integration, mutual collaboration on solutions, and yes, enforcing the laws of the nation.

Immigrants have made this country what it is today. Trump’s great-grandfather was an immigrant. Trump’s wife is an immigrant.

I am an immigrant, and I am proud of it.

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In 1939, they called places like this Concentration Camps. What do we call them now?

To be fair, this picture is from 2014, when Obama was still president. We have done this for a while.

I wonder what the conditions are like now?

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There are 42 immigrants on the Forbes 400 list of 2016. That’s just over 10%. Most of them have a very high “self-made score.”

For instance, Jan Koum, the founder of WhatsApp, is 40 years old and worth over $8.8 billion. That’s more than twice the net worth of Donald Trump, at $3.7 billion.

Koum immigrated from the Ukraine with his mother in 1992 due to the political and anti-Semitic environment there. His mom worked as a babysitter. Koum was 16 years old and he got a job as a cleaner in a grocery store. They got an apartment through government assistance, and bought groceries with food stamps. Then Koum went to San Jose State, definitely not ivy league, and then got a job at Yahoo! where he worked for nine years before he started WhatsApp.

The American system has supported this immigrant in the beginning, yes. Cynics will lament that our tax dollars paid for penniless immigrants. They did. However, Koum created American jobs and American wealth, for himself, and for many others. He made many people millionaires.

The fact that 10% of the Forbes 400 are immigrants, and that many of them came to this country with a single suitcase, no money, two hands to work menial jobs, and an indomitable belief in themselves and the American Dream, attests to the value of immigrants in America.

Nothing can be more misguided than the nonsense we’re hearing spouted every day now. Go get the Forbes 400 edition of 2016. It provides many inspiring stories.

Steve Jobs’ biological father was an immigrant from Syria.

Andy Grove, the founder of Intel, was an immigrant from Hungary. He escaped from communist control at the age of 20.

Sergey Brin immigrated to the United States with his family from the Soviet Union at the age of 6. He studied mathematics and computer science as an undergraduate and then enrolled in Stanford University to acquire a PhD in computer science. That’s when he co-founded Google.

Albert Einstein escaped the Nazi regime in Germany before the war.

Elon Musk grew up in a middle-class family in South Africa, before he moved to Canada, alone, with just a few dollars in his pocket. He started working doing menial jobs, like shoveling out sewer tanks, just to survive. He then put himself through school, co-founded PayPal, and finally created Tesla and SpaceX – and he is just getting started.

The entire story of America is studded with sparkles supplied by immigrants, many from very underprivileged countries and environments.

In comparison to Musk, Brin, Grove, Einstein, Jobs and Koum, Tucker Carlson looks silly and small-minded as he panders to the followers of a misguided idea. He is contributing not to making America great, but making America dumb again.

What an asinine tweet that is!

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Watch this video and instantly see why immigration does not change world poverty:

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Here is another example of Trump’s poorly thought out, hastily written, deportation order. Families of active duty soldiers, currently serving in the Middle East, are being ripped apart and deported, while the soldiers are helplessly trapped overseas. It shows how this does not make sense, but in the age of Trump, the self-proclaimed law and order president, most actions are executed before they are thought out, rights of individuals be damned.

Incompetence rules!

Original article by Nathan Fletcher here.

Imagine you are a member of the United States military deployed on the front lines confronting ISIS or other terrorist threats. Suddenly you get a desperate phone call from home — Immigration and Customs Enforcement has arrested your family and they’re facing deportation.

Think it can’t happen? Think again. Think Trump.

The Trump administration’s draconian and hastily drafted immigration orders rescind a key protection for military families so that now even military spouses and children can be rounded up and deported. This will weaken our armed forces. It will harm thousands of military families. And it’s wrong.

In 2013, the Department of Homeland Security, at the request of the Defense Department, issue a policy memorandum aimed at preventing the deportation of spouses, parents and children of active-duty service members through a program called “Parole in Place.”

Put simply, the program allowed immigration authorities to give the immediate family of military service members a temporary reprieve from enforcement actions based on their immigration status. It specifically barred those with criminal convictions from these protections.

This was as much about national security as it was about upholding our commitment to support our troops. The Department of Homeland Security wrote, at the time, that “military preparedness can potentially be adversely affected if active members of the U.S. armed forces … worry about the immigration status of their spouses, parents and children.” We need our service members focused on accomplishing their mission and the safety of each other.

When you deploy to war, your greatest worry is not yourself. You worry about your family left behind. The least we can promise those willing to give their life for our country is that their immediate family members can remain in that same country. By all accounts, the policy has worked well.

Yet the Trump administration’s new immigration enforcement policy eviscerated “Parole in Place” protections. It does not continue a policy that reflects a promise made to recruits who joined the United States military in the last four years.

The new enforcement directive could have easily maintained the protections of this unique program, as it did a few others. It could have made clear that agents of the U.S. government will not round up and deport the spouses and children of our active duty service members.

Instead, it casually dispenses with exercises of executive discretion based on a “specified class or category of aliens.” The administration either did not know or did not care that one of these specified classes included military families.

That may be good politics for the red states, but it’s terrible national security policy for the United States, and a slap in the face to thousands of deployed troops with immigrant roots.

We cannot allow our troops to be consumed with fear and anxiety about their families while deployed on the front lines. We cannot indiscriminately endanger the family members of the citizens who sacrifice the most for our nation.

The initial reasoning and effort that created this program was sound. It strengthens our military and our country. It is wrong to go back on our word and our commitment to the very citizens who sacrifice the most. It isn’t enough to clap for veterans in airports or once a year on a holiday. We show our true appreciation by keeping our word, in this instance by protecting their families.

The Trump administration must immediately and explicitly clarify that the “Parole in Place” program for military families remains the law of the land. If Trump can turn out sweeping executive orders in a matter of days, surely he can fix this terrible mistake in a matter of minutes.

— Nathan Fletcher

Fletcher is a U.S. Marines combat veteran, a professor of practice in political science at UC San Diego and a former member of the California Assembly representing the 75th District. Twitter: @nathanfletcher

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Here is an article about how Customs Agents, who are authorized to search international flights, searched a domestic Delta Airlines flight from San Francisco to New York. All passengers had to produce “documents” before they were allowed to get off the plane. Supposedly, they were looking for one (yes ONE) individual that might have been on the plane. He wasn’t.

This is the start of Trump’s police state. Now we’re having to worry about bringing “papers” when we travel inside the country.

The tactic is as old as civilization. Scare the public. Control the public. Make the public carry “papers.” Show uniforms. Misuse uniforms.

Note, Customs Agents are not even allowed to scan domestic flights. But they did. This is misuse of police power.

Trump is slowly creating a police state, and we’re letting him do it.

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spare-parts

Here is a book I give four stars, because I cannot think of a book more relevant today.

It tells the true story of four undocumented Latino teenagers from Mexico in Carl Hayden Community High School in West Phoenix. In 2004, against all odds, they started a robotics team under the guidance of two extraordinary and inspiring teachers. They built an underwater robot (in the Arizona desert) and took it to the Marine Advanced Technology Education Robotics Competition at the University of California, Santa Barbara. They were up against some of the most renowned engineering schools in the county, like MIT, funded by grants of thousands of dollars. Their robot was built out of spare parts, PVC pipe bought at Home Depot, glue, a briefcase, all stuff they found around the house and the garage. The robot wasn’t pretty. They called it Stinky, because the glue they used stunk.

Against all odds, they won.

Spare Parts tells the story of four kids, Oscar, Cristian, Luis, and Lorenzo, how they came to live in the United States, what brought them to Carl Hayden High School, what motivated them, and what happened to them after they created national headlines with their unexpected underdog success.

Spare Parts tells the story of undocumented aliens in the United States. Each of these kids was as American as you or I. They were brought to the country by their parents when they were infants, toddlers, or elementary school kids. Yes, they were born in Mexico, but they knew no reality than their lives in the barrios of Phoenix. They were Americans and they could not understand why they didn’t get the same opportunities their American-born friends got. They were marked.

Their crime was that their parents brought them into the country by sneaking through a hole in a fence somewhere in the desert. They were guilty, and they were illegal, because their parents committed a crime, the crime of trying to make better lives for themselves and their families.

I am not advocating that it’s right to slip through the fence on the border to improve your lives. We have laws, and they don’t permit this. But I am advocating that it is not right to punish children for the crimes of their parents. Yet, our laws do exactly that.

Read Spare Parts and get a view into the lives of four teenagers, all of whom found themselves in this extraordinary situation, where they were very smart, driven, dedicated, hard-working, willing to serve their country, but not permitted to do so and ostracized and criminalized for it. Read Spare Parts to understand the problem.

Not only did these four teenagers in 2004 create extraordinary success for themselves, they started a movement. Carl Hayden High School has gone on to win many competitions in robotics all over the country since then. More students at the school get engineering scholarships than all sports combined. The interest in engineering has gone through the roof, and the program is now renowned.

Spare Parts refers to Jeff Sessions and Barack Obama. Both have appearances in the book. In 2001, Senator Dick Durbin had introduced legislation to provide a path to citizenship for young immigrants who had been in the United States for at least five years and were attending college. That was the Development, Relief, and Education for Minors Act, the “DREAM Act.” The bill failed to even make it to a vote. In 2010, he tried again, using Oscar Vazquez, one of the four teenagers in Spare Parts, as an example. Senate Republicans commenced a filibuster, blocking the vote.

“This bill is a law that at its fundamental core is a reward for illegal activity.”

— Senator Jeff Sessions

The Senate needed 60 votes to break the filibuster. They only got 55.

Spare Parts was written and copyrighted in 2014. Enter Trump in 2017. Jeff Sessions, the Illustrious, is now our Attorney General. Guess what will happen to immigrants now? Donald Trump has signed orders to have Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents round up “illegals” and deport them, sometimes without due process. Trump has blatantly labeled Mexicans rapists and murderers. Trump is fomenting xenophobia. Trump is stirring up vigilantism. Trump is dividing the country.

Reading Spare Parts will give you insight into the plight of illegal immigrant children and their despair about finding their own place in a world where they can’t figure out where they belong. I challenge you to read this book, and then come to me and defend Trump’s current approach.

I challenge you!

Rating - Four Stars

 

 

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Immigrant Statistics

Our prisons are bursting with illegals right now.

— Donald Trump

Well, let’s take a look at the numbers:

For the American-born population of males 18 – 39 years old, 3.3% are in prison. That’s a huge number. In contrast, for foreign-born men 18 – 39, 1.6% of them are in prison. So the likelihood of being in prison for an immigrant is less than half of that of an American-born man.

12.9% of the United States population is foreign-born. I am one of those.

Here are some “success” numbers:

immigrant-statistics-1

From this chart you can see that immigrants are much more educated than American-born, on average, in all categories. It’s most obvious and overwhelming in the Ph.D. categories in engineering and sciences.

Also, immigrants are twice as likely to start businesses, 41% of them have college degrees, versus 30% of American-born population.

This is not to say that illegal immigration isn’t a problem in the United States. It is. It is a problem that needs solving. But after decades of Congress not doing anything about it but whining, it is completely irresponsible by the president to foment immigrant hatred that covers all foreign-born people in its dragnet, illegal or not. The bigots among the population are now feeling empowered to abuse immigrants indiscriminately. People are getting killed on the streets based on the color of their skins.

It is right to enforce the laws of the country. It is not right to create or stir up vigilantism against people who “look different” or “speak another language.” Our president has a responsibility to calm the nation, to protect its citizens and to enforce its laws.

This president, however, incites fear and bigotry with his rhetoric, he lashes out indiscriminately against entire groups of people, he divides and he spreads misinformation.

He says immigration is a problem in the United States.

No, it is not a problem. Immigration creates jobs, raises the level of education, and produces the most industrious and productive section of our population. Lashing out at immigration does not make America great, it makes America shrivel.

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