Tag Archives: immigrants

Tough Stuff at the Border for Asylum Seekers and Immigrants

New Orleans     The President is still running and running hard against immigrants and immigration, even though the issue has now fallen out of the top ten concerns for the American public. It seems a classic case of fighting the last war, rather than the current war, when Americans are focused on the cratered economy and pandemic which still seems spiraling out of control.

Shockingly, while our attention is focused on other pressing concerns, the tragedy of asylum seekers and the travesty of our current public policies are creating a human rights disaster at the border.   Sixty per cent of the American people in recent polls in fact do believe that the border should be hardened during the pandemic, which has given carte blanche to hard-fisted and draconian policies. Some 70,000 have been turned away at our southern border in recent months, and asylum seekers are being denied legal requirements to receive a hearing and be treated on a case by case basis.

I listened to an interview with a Guatemalan woman and her child who turned themselves into Border Patrol and were literally dropped in the middle of the night on the bridge over the Rio Grande without explanation or a hearing after being told they could not enter; the border was closed.  Mexican authorities finally took them off the bridge and dumped the pair in an overcrowded shelter.  US policies have also precipitated a crisis in Mexico where there is no place, plan, or resources to house swelling numbers of people there, and where concerns over spiking virus and economic problems are also being exacerbated by this desperate migrant stream.  This story was commonplace, not exceptional.

Immigration lawyers along the border are outraged at the government’s willful disregard of asylum laws.  Lawsuits are falling like rain over these practices, but meanwhile they continue unabated, and now largely outside of public scrutiny.

There has to be a better way.   Reading about the coming wave of climate forced migration in Central America and southern Mexico in a special edition of the New York Times Magazine based on extensive data and scientific modeling, it is clear that we haven’t seen anything yet like the crisis that will be coming.  Millions will be on the move over the next several decades with nowhere to go but north.  Harder borders and deficient or antagonistic policies will force terrible deprivation in Latin American countries hit by rising temperatures and reduced precipitation leading to crop loss and starvation.

Migration and asylum are different things, and current polices are treating them as one, which is a mistake. Right now, the administration is all blunt talk and hard fists, but this is not a sustainable policy.  We need to fix our border, and if we want to meet the challenge of migration, we need to help our neighboring countries with policies and resources that allow people to live and work in their home countries, rather than being forced to hit the road to survive.  We can’t put our heads in the sand and have that work, especially when the desert sands are expanding all around us.

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Please enjoy Revolution by Heartless Bastards.

Thanks to WAMF.

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Please Bus Migrants to Sanctuary Cities

New Orleans       Put your head in your hands for a second, because this is almost mind blowing.  Yes, we’re talking about the latest confusion about the Trump administration’s immigration policy or policies or whatever you would call this mayhem and mess.

Over recent days word slipped out that some of the rabid, mouth foaming aides, like Stephen Miller, wanted to put migrants and their families crossing the southern US border with Mexico onto buses and pack them out to so-called sanctuary cities.  This was supposed to be a punishment of some kind for these cities because of their unwillingness to act as an unpaid local police force for a fraught federal immigration policy.  Everyone involved at ICE, Homeland Security, and the White House then denied that this was a policy recommendation or anything more than some crazy spitballing fueled by too much caffeine.  Just fake news by a biased, liberal press.

In short, never a real proposal, just a wild hair, until…President Trump, who increasingly is infamous for never rejecting a bizarre proposal if it can divide and inflame his base, seized the idea as his own and started insisting that, yes, roll up the buses, and send the migrants from south Texas and southern Arizona to sanctuary cities.  At least do so for several news cycles.

Here’s what I say.  Call his bluff.  Please, please President Trump, send these desperate migrant families seeking asylum, opportunity, and safety to the cities of America, especially sanctuary cities, where they will finally be supported and cared for with the historically generous and open-handed spirit of the real America.  Get them out of tented detention centers, hot and dusty, or repurposed Walmart stores in south Texas, and let go where there are jobs, social services, and people who know that we need new workers and fresh blood to build America.  Let them come to the cities that have been built and welded together by immigrants for generations.  Let them go anywhere as long as you get them out of border detention camps!

Some mayors of US cities have the right idea and have condemned Trump’s attempt to use migrant families as political pawns in his bitter, hateful, demagogic campaign posturing.  Mayors in Chicago, Philadelphia, and other places like Montgomery County, Maryland, that have large immigrant populations have said, hey Mr. President, send them over here.

Cities and towns throughout the United States are crying for population to fill jobs, students for schools so they won’t have to close, customers for stores, and families to pay taxes.  How about putting the welcome sign on the city limits in these communities so that the Trump buses know where to pull in, stop, and unload families to a real home rather than a prison camp?

Make Trump do the right thing, even if it’s for the wrong reason.  Let sanctuary cities be real sanctuaries.  Please.

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