At the dinner table Friday night I said to James the same thing as the thrust of the following paragraph found today in The New Yorker.
Such is the framing of the issue by the White House, and the framing of the story by the media, that no one had the one right response to this idea: “But this is the very point of a sanctuary city! Immigrants, regardless of status, are safe in them. Bring them here! They are welcome.”
I live in Madison, Wisconsin which is a sanctuary city. Over the 30-plus years of living here I have had countless conversations with people who moved here to start a new life, raise a family, start a business, and create jobs.
That the Trump Administration tried to pressure Immigration and Customs Enforcement to transport detained immigrants to sanctuary cities and use them as a political payback for Democrats who will not relent on our national core values says far more about Trump than the issue of immigration itself.
I was, once again, saddened in how Trump speaks with dehumanizing language as his tweet about “releasing migrants” was xenophobic, and racist. It sounded like he was taking about wild animals to be released, or hardened criminals. The fact is immigrants are human beings and must be treated as such. Using the code words and vile insinuations for his supporters is most troubling. And most telling as to what is at the core of Trump’s being.
When the families of the 1800’s came to these shores they were no different than the Latino’s today, except they had far fewer barriers. If the 19th century newcomer was ill they were held for a period of time, but otherwise were allowed into the country legally. They were registered, counted, and in some cases offered land parcels, such as here in the Midwest. But perhaps the greatest difference is that those earlier immigrants were able to bring their entire family. The whole family traveled together from whichever country they heralded. They did not need to scale fences, dig trenches, or pay ‘coyotes’ for transport.
Today Latino’s face a far different story and our understanding it is vital to this whole issue. The worker from Mexico that comes here by any means possible does so to pay for a family he/she left behind. A family he/she may never see again. Think about that. The economic plight in Latin America is such that in order to sustain a family a worker makes an attempt to get into America. Once here the Latino takes any job available and sends as much money as possible back to his family by check or money order. And I repeat, to a family he/she may never see again.
While in the United States the worker is paying taxes and Social Security and even may buy a home. Or start a business which adds to higher employment. According to the Kauffman Foundation, immigrant entrepreneurs employed about 560,000 workers and generated about $63 billion in sales from 2006 to 2012.
All they want is the right to live here without fear, and yet there are some very cruel people who just cannot allow that to happen. Even though more workers are needed here in every sector of the economy.
Highly successful, fast-growing startups—the type this blog has consistently encouraged through the use of venture capital funding–shows what happens when immigrants come to America. There is a study, conducted by the National Foundation for American Policy, which determined that 44 out of 87 privately held companies valued at more than $1 billion had at least one immigrant founder. It further estimated that each of these immigrant-founded companies created 760 jobs.
I never hear those types of facts at a Trump rally. One might think, between Trump re-shaping the story of the Election returns from 2016, and the latest insults about his nemesis of the moment, there would be time for truth. But, sadly, there is only room for fear-based politics in Trump’s world.
What this all says to those who reason their way through the issues of the day is that Trump has no idea how to resolve an issue that he continually gins up. The reason he does so is two-fold. He has no idea how to foster a working coalition for immigration reform, and secondly wants to use the issue for political purposes. Having a grand solution would not work for him in the next election.
Trump had two full years to enact immigration reform! Two years! The Republicans had control of the House, the Senate, White House and held sway in some courts, too. But there was no real effort at immigration reform. Trump has played the nation, and especially his base, with loud rhetoric and plenty of bombast, but has no viable solutions.
And so it goes.