As chaos in DC deepens, we seem to bounce from one awful report to the next. Besides what actually happens (e.g., Trump saying the special counsel investigation was treasonous), rumors and speculation accelerate. Will Trump nominate attack dog Stephen Miller as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security? As director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)? As “immigration czar,” whatever that is? Or will it be former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach? Or maybe Julie Kirchner, the former executive director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform? Will Trump reinstate family separation or close legal ports of entry or end asylum processing or take other completely illegal actions?
Reading and hearing the torrent of hateful nonsense spewed by Trump and Company makes it tempting to speculate endlessly on Trump’s next move and to despair over the future of the country and constitution.
I know. I’ve been there. Sometimes daily.
I also know that neither speculation nor despair helps me or the country. I need to pay less attention to the Trum-ery and focus instead on facts, and then on trying to convey facts to others. I need to work on building solidarity rather than division, on taking positive actions, however small, to build the muscle of resistance.
Countering the nonsense and lies from the White House, Vox offers two thoughtful and well-written perspectives on the importance of immigration.
The first comes from Ezra Klein, explaining that “America Isn’t Full.” On the contrary, “For both economic and political reasons, we should worry about the consequences of depopulation. And the most powerful tool we have to address them is immigration.” Klein goes on to describe in detail the geographic disparities in economic growth and population decline and to suggest ways that immigration policies for the heartland could make a positive difference.
The second Vox article comes from Matthew Yglesias, reminding us that, “Immigration to the United States has not, historically, been an act of kindness toward strangers. It’s been a strategy for national growth and national greatness.”
“The main sources of immigration — and the main occupations likely to employ immigrants — have changed over time, but the story has been the same from the beginning. A larger and more diverse population supports more intensive development of the resources available and a more complex division of labor, leading, over time, to a steadily more sophisticated and prosperous national economy….
“And for those who believe in the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the value of America’s ideals, accepting a future of decline and retreat in the name of ethnic purity should be unacceptable. That the more homogeneous America will be not just smaller and weaker but also poorer on a per capita basis only underscores what folly it would be to embrace the narrow vision. That hundreds of millions of people around the world would like to move to our shores — and that America has a long tradition of assimilating foreigners and a political mythos and civil culture that is conducive to doing so — is an enormous source of national strength.
“It’s time we started to see it that way.”
These positive voices need higher visibility in our public discourse. You can help by reading them and posting them on your social media to encourage your friends to read them.
Meanwhile, resistance continues in the usual and some unusual places. Democrats in Congress are suing to challenge the presidential declaration of a national emergency as an end run around Congress’s constitutional authority on appropriations. A federal district judge issued a preliminary injunction against the policy of returning asylum seekers to Mexico, though he stayed the effect of the order until Friday to give the administration time to appeal. Some Republicans are voicing alarm at the latest purge of DHS officials:
“The president has to have some stability and particularly with the number one issue that he’s made for his campaign, throughout his two and a half years of presidency,” Grassley said. “He’s pulling the rug out from the very people that are trying to help him accomplish his goal.” …
“The GOP senator was also critical of Stephen Miller, a senior White House adviser who has been one of the leading voices within the administration that has lobbied for the wholesale housecleaning at DHS.
“I think it would be hard for him to demonstrate he’s accomplished anything for the president,” Grassley said. When asked to elaborate, the senator chuckled and added: “It’s pretty hard to elaborate on it when there hasn’t been any accomplishments.”
Finally, a voice of determination and hope from someone on the front lines in El Paso:
“I don’t buy into the fear mongering of this administration,” the Rev. Robert Mosher, the director of the Columban Mission Center in El Paso, told America. “They’re creating the worst possible picture of things on the border. Asking for asylum is not a crime.”…
“We can handle this,” Father Mosher said. “This is a drop in the bucket of what we can do. I hear all this hysteria and it’s exactly how not to respond to this situation. We are capable of responding well.”