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Posts Tagged ‘Immigration’

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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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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There are 42 immigrants on the Forbes 400 list. 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.

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Trump

[Credit: Melina Mara/The Washington Post/Getty Images ]

So two yahoos from Southie in my hometown of Boston severely beat up a Hispanic homeless guy earlier this week. While being arrested, one of the brothers reportedly told police that “Donald Trump was right, all of these illegals need to be deported.”

Rolling Stone, Aug 21, 2015

Then, further in the article, here is what Trump is quoted as saying:

“I will say, the people that are following me are very passionate. They love this country. They want this country to be great again. But they are very passionate. I will say that.”

Statements like these, and movements like these, have often in history been the beginnings of very bad eventual outcomes.

For example, in the 1920s, Germany was not doing very well. The economy was a disaster, people were hungry, humiliated from World War I, and hopeless. Decades of abuse by bad leadership had created a vacuum.

Then came an unlikely little man with a powerful speaking voice. Whenever he spoke, he incited passion in his listeners. He spoke of new hope, of national pride, of honor, of making his country great again. He also started to spread the seeds that much of the economic demise of the country was due to the Jews.

With his upbeat and passionate message, he gathered more and more followers and eventually he managed to get himself elected through crafty and actually illegal maneuverings.

Within weeks of being elected, he outlawed other political parties and systematically took over police and security. Suddenly, those that earlier were just blamed for the demise of the country, no longer had the protection of the system. The police had turned against them. Jews started to flee while they still could.

But the country was “becoming great again.” There were massive public works projects and everyone was employed. Industry boomed. The people were proud. The country hosted the 1936 Olympics. The people were passionately behind their leader, their Führer.

Pretty soon, Jews could openly be abused, beaten, robbed, raped and killed without any recourse. The German Third Reich was supposed to last 1000 years, yet it rose for only about six or eight, and then went down in a spectacular firestorm of world-wide disastrous proportions. As we so say, the rest is history.

But let’s remember how it all started.

There was a man who fired up his listeners. They came to listen to him to beer halls and stadiums by the hundreds first, then by the thousands, and always left with fire in their bellies.

There was a man who said he knew how to make the country great again, and he started cranking the economic engine unlike anything seen before. He kept saying he knew what he was doing.

There was a man who, probably with all good intention, thought he had figured it all out: It was the fault of the Jews. Too many of them were usurping the power and money from the country and its people.

Trump does all those things today. He says that 7.5% of all births in the United States are by illegal parents and he wants to take away the birthrights of those United States citizens. Note that he is already setting himself up to perform illegal acts, all in the name of the country. After all, we’re being “stupid, right?” And his listeners with fire in their bellies applaud.

By targeting illegals, he is creating an atmosphere of making them at least one of the scapegoats of our demise. It’s the Mexicans’ fault. Whether those “Mexicans” are illegal or legal, you can’t tell from the outside. So an entire class of our society is becoming a target of hate without any solid ground. When idiots like the guys in Boston (article above) beat up immigrants, Trump, rather than being outraged like any decent citizen would be, he dismisses it as “passionate” and thus we have it:

A leader is officially condoning violence against an arbitrary subset of the population that he has identified as being “the problem” of the country that we all must make great again. He is encouraging this behavior.

It’s beginnings like these that have paved the road for some of history’s greatest thugs, it’s beginnings like these that have resulted in entire countries of decent, hard-working, pious people being hijacked and forced to commit unspeakable crimes and atrocities, all in the name of country and leader.

This is how it starts.

Just saying.

Full disclosure: I am an immigrant.

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If we really deported all the undocumented aliens, as so many Republican politicians seem to be asking for (led by Sarah Palin again, who wants to hire enough ships to send them all back across the ocean to Mexico), we would ruin our economy.

  • Who would make the beds and clean up in the 50,000 hotels and about 4.6 million hotel rooms in the United States?
  • Who would work in the harvests in the California Central Valley?
  • Who would lay bricks, pave roads, paint bridges, and work in factories all over the United States in mostly low-paying jobs?
  • Who would drive around to empty the portable toilets at outdoor concerts?
  • Who would bus tables and wash dishes at the 616,000 restaurants in the United States?
  • Who would handle our luggage at airports?
  • Who would pick up the garbage in New York City?

I realize that not all people doing the jobs I just listed are undocumented, but many, many are. Things would get pretty ugly pretty quickly without immigrants. Not all immigrants are illegal. But 11 million, we estimate, are.

Do we really want to deport 11 million people?

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Watch this video and  then tell me that you think it is right to simply send these young people away to countries they don’t know and have no connection to. They are Americans, and we need to deal with that reality.

 

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