Unpresidented, Again

“There’s never really been a time when a generation of people, raised and rooted in the United States, has been stripped of official recognition and pushed back into the precarity of unauthorized-immigrant life.”

—Dara Lind, of Vox

Dara Lind explains stuff for Vox. This morning she wrote of the nasty DACA reversal decision ordered by one racist coward, Tr-mp, and announced by another racist with bigger balls, Sessions. Lind’s article (“Why ending DACA is so unprecedented“) featured this gem:

Undoing DACA would widen the gulf between reality and law. And that gulf is, in some ways, broader than it’s ever been before. What truly makes the end of DACA unprecedented, in the broad sweep of US history, is the size of that gap between the law and the reality.

With DACA hanging in the balance, America has a group of people on the verge of being socially integrated, but legally isolated — socially championed, but legally victimized — in a way we’ve never really seen before.

Well, we’ve seen a lot of things lately we’ve never seen before. And, somehow, one never gets used to it. Every affront still shocks. But Lind pointed out something that I think many of us either didn’t know or forgot about our border history with Mexico:

Historically, it was easy enough to cross the US/Mexico border and work in the US — both because it was simply easier to enter the country by land without being detected than to sail into New York harbor, and because (partly because it was so hard to regulate) the US government didn’t restrict immigration from the Americas the way it did from the Eastern Hemisphere.

It was so easy, in fact, that immigrants were often simply migrating back and forth. “Immigrants preferred to live in Mexico for most of the time,” Stanford historian Ana Minian explains, “and then come for short periods of time, sometimes up to a couple years, and then return to Mexico until they needed to come back again.”

It wasn’t until the second half of the 20th century that the US made it harder to legally immigrate from Mexico. After that, it was still possible to come to the US and work — just not legally. So the circular migration continued, but its legal status changed.

She notes that the “circular flow” stopped in the 1990s, when border security was beefed up and the crossings became riskier (thanks to a bipartisan effort in Congress and with Bill Clinton’s signature on a little-known law that, in Lind’s words, “essentially eliminated an existing back door to legal status” and “locked a front door to legal status, too”). Thus, many of the immigrants simply just stayed here rather than take the border-crossing risk. And their kids stayed with them. Today we call those kids DREAMers. And this country is the only home they know.

In June of 2012, President Obama spoke in the Rose Garden about his decision to create the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy. He talked about the DREAMers:

These are young people who study in our schools, they play in our neighborhoods, they’re friends with our kids, they pledge allegiance to our flag.  They are Americans in their heart, in their minds, in every single way but one:  on paper.  They were brought to this country by their parents — sometimes even as infants — and often have no idea that they’re undocumented until they apply for a job or a driver’s license, or a college scholarship.

Put yourself in their shoes.  Imagine you’ve done everything right your entire life — studied hard, worked hard, maybe even graduated at the top of your class — only to suddenly face the threat of deportation to a country that you know nothing about, with a language that you may not even speak.

Unable to put himself in anyone’s shoes but his own, Tr-mp, with the help of his loathsome and lying Attorney General, just told these DACA beneficiaries that they aren’t welcome here unless a Republican Congress, which isn’t even able to confidently guarantee the nation’s bills will be paid without defaulting, can rescue them within six months. Jesus.

John Kennedy wrote a book in 1958 called A Nation of Immigrants. On the back cover of a posthumous edition published in 1964 are these words:

Throughout his presidency, John F. Kennedy was passionate about the issue of immigration reform. He believed that America is a nation of people who value both tradition and the exploration of new frontiers, people who deserve the freedom to build better lives for themselves in their adopted homeland.

Man. What was he thinking?

sessions on dacaAs I write, Senator Lindsey Graham, who applauded Tr-mp’s action today, said this is a “defining moment” for the Republican Party to get this right, to fix our “broken immigration system” by helping the DREAMers. Well, I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen a lot of “defining moments” for the Republican Party over the last several years. And they have certainly defined themselves, time and again. They are now defined by that Orange Racist Creep who didn’t have the guts to go out himself today and tell the DREAMers they were now at the mercy of the same congressional Republicans who supported him, a man who began and maintains his putrid political career by scapegoating immigrants.

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7 Comments

  1. Anonymous

     /  September 5, 2017

    Duane,

    As a native Texan that lived there until age 20, I can tell you the open border was a reality. Back in the 70’s it required only a driver’s license to go into Mexico. Unless you violated the laws there, you were welcome to stay indefinitely. If you had friends there, you could build a pueblo in their village for $2500, and utilize it whenever you chose. The hospitality was far greater than Americans afforded then.

    I recall farmers and ranchers in my community that would hire 4-5 men to work their land with promise of payment at month’s end. The Mexicans lived in dirt floor shacks and worked tirelessly. They lived on pinto beans and there own tortillas with an occasional rabbit or possum. Those farmers would then call the Border Patrol to have them sent back before payday. If they returned, it wouldn’t be to that farmer. After 20 or so victims the farmer found he couldn’t hire anymore because the word had got around.

    Mexicans by and large are cooperative neighbors, while Americans are extremely competitive. I am reminded of a psychological test done on American and Mexican children. Americans competed vigorously to win the Tic-Tac-Toe game to win a bowl of candy, with Cat winning most games. The Mexicans played one game, and both were eating the candy when the testers came in. Both replied the other one won and were sharing the candy.

    Our country has many ugly Americans that don’t give a damn about others and will step on anyone to achieve their goals. Many of these cowardly Americans are threatened by children of hard working individuals that came into this country to give those children opportunities which are few in Mexico. It’s not about rule of law, it’s about fear. If the USA doesnt want to cooperate with our neighbors, perhaps some adversary like Russia or China will.

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  2. Herb and Duane,

    Mixing blogs here but the article that Herb referenced was excellent and must be considered, not to solve problems but to point out the contradictions faced in a modern world. Basically the author shows the conflict between human rights and economic policies in a “Global” world, today.

    One of the most impoverished countries in world is NK, right now. No one with any sense calls for war to make NK behave. But millions call for more economic sanctions against NK, war by other means in my view. We don’t want to bomb them to death, but starving them to death is fine and we see no horrendous scenes on TV of nuclear (or conventional) holocaust. Hell we won’t even see starving babies in NK given our attempts to economically (or diplomatically, talking them into submission) force them into a more “moral” approach.

    What does all that have to do with “dreamers” might be asked. A lot, in my view. What to do with people living a lifetime in America, illegally? Usually Americans used to fall back on “follow the law”. But what if half the country believes “the law” is immoral, etc. Hell what if 3/4ths of the “people” consider that to be the case.

    Obviously change the laws, democratically. But that has not worked for about two decades now, since 9/11 at least, in USA. We have stalemated government by and large and now can do little or nothing. The last time I recall a major decision made by our federal government, one that had about 80% approval by “we the people” was the invasion of Iraq. Look how that turned out!! “They lied” is now the excuse. As if politicians on “my” (or “your”) side never, ever did so!!

    Your solution is single party power, federal, state and local government only by Democrat edicts. We will certainly have a far more “moral” form of government but it will go broke sooner rather that later.

    Solutions to “dreamers”, relief for Harvey (estimated at $150 Billion just for starters) and now relief for Irma (AT LEAST another $150 Billion) are pretty straight forward and CONGRESS is the governing body, that “by law” must do it. Give green cards to all the 1 Million (or more) “dreamers” so they live in USA legally. Then do as Obama has done (illegally?) and make them re-register every two years until they become citizens (legally).

    For relief efforts, pay all that is needed plus another 30% or so for waste, fraud and abuse. Then pay for it by levying a 10% federal income tax surcharge on all Americans (and others) that pay federal income tax. If you actually paid $10,000 in such taxes (under current law) then pay another $1,000. If you “paid” such income tax by payroll deduction only and actually qualified for a refund, then take 10% of that refund out of the federal refund check and put it towards paying off the inevitable debt incurred by relief efforts.

    NO Democrat or GOPer will call for a tax increase to meet emergency conditions or effects on people from “immoral laws”, however. Since 9/11 we saw “Bush tax cuts” then “Obama tax increases” but both were so marginal that it paid for little or nothing other than business as usual on part of federal government. Of course that business as usual has quadrupled ($5B x 4 = $20B) the National Debt in 18 years as well, despite all the hand wringing over “we need to spend more or less on…….”

    What is it about “richest nation in the world” AND “biggest debtor nation in the world” that makes any sense, morally or economically? What is it about the moral concept of keeping ones promises, I get money from you, shake your hand and promise to pay it back over time, then go borrow more money from …….. and never pay much if anything back to anyone?

    Any society, dictatorships, democracies, capitalist, socialist or communist collapse under such moral decade. Does not history itself show that time and time again. And of course before such utter collapse the inevitable war happens often at the cost of now 10’s of millions of innocent lives as well.

    The thing that astounds me today is the utter arrogance of both sides of the aisle, politically, today. Each side firmly believes it alone has the correct answers to all this turmoil, today in USA AND around the world. Democracy for all in the world and Democrats only in America. Hubris is what it is, pure, idiotic hubris, my way or the highway if you will!!

    John McCain has it right. Back to “regular order AND, AND, AND compromise”. Of course regular order will NEVER get us out of what is on the plate of Congress NOW, right NOW. Dreamers, debt ceiling, relief funding, pass a damned budget, etc. ALL THIS MONTH. Are you kidding me and THAT is a direct result of kicking the cans down the road for the last two decades. See any vultures in the trees (birds coming in to roost)?

    The only good news is we the people (except in Houston and soon Florida) have not fallen off any cliffs, yet. Will the vultures have us for lunch before that happens, I wonder.

    Anson

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  3. Dreamers? Debt ceiling? Relief funding? All seem pretty easy and straightforward to people of community, compassion and common sense. That list would — as observed today — obviously exclude most Republicans and spineless Independents. As for the budget — submit a real one that benefits more than about 400 uber-rich families. Also impossible for today’s GOP. In actuality — for a competent Congress — there isn’t that much on its plate.

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  4. When Duane does not write something for a few weeks I find those few weeks less of a challenge, an opportunity to get my oar in on important matters (and my ass handed back to me by many as well). Trust all is well with you and yours, Duane, and you get back soon to these pages.

    When you do I surely hope you write about trump becoming a Democrat!!!!

    Of course trump is not a Dem or a GOPer. Like David Brooks said in Friday night on PBS Newshour, “I like seeing an independent in the WH. I just wish the one there now was a better politician”!!!!!

    trump is doing what he has always done, try hard to “WIN”. In doing so he will align himself with the devil incarnate, screw anyone, cheat anyone, kiss many different posteriors, essentially anything to win. Hell he doesn’t even know for sure what “winning” might be unless his personal wealth gets shortchanged.

    Anyway, I miss the opportunity for you to once again “scold me”. Get back in harness please and make me go “nuts” in doing so, again.

    Anson

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    • Anson,

      I have been working on other “projects” that have taken up much time. I appreciate your remarks, though. 

      As for the “scolding,” I must say that if you think Tr-mp is “an independent,” you are sadly mistaken. He is no such thing. He is and always will be a narcissistic opportunist who will abandon his faux principles and his political “friends” in a heartbeat, no matter whether they be “Chuck” and “Nancy” or “Paul” and “Mitch.” He hasn’t the intelligence to follow a policy argument and he has no moral compass. Plus, his juvenile rhetoric and impulsive reactions are dangerous in a world currently dominated by a thin-skinned dictator in North Korea who happens to be developing nuclear weapons that can hurt our allies, if not ourselves. And that’s not to mention his stance toward Iran, an exercise in stupidity.

      The so-called adults around him, the generals, have had some success in taming a few of his worst impulses, but that success is, sadly, marginal. He still tweets on as if he is some masturbating kid in his mom’s basement who just discovered porn on the Internet. We will be lucky if Tr-mp doesn’t stumble into something we pay for with countless lives and treasure.

      Duane

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  5. ansonburlingame

     /  September 24, 2017

    I should have written dumb, narcissistic, implusive, shallow, ………. “independent”. Being “independent” he has no loyalty to anything other than his wealth and “image” as a tough guy.

    Welcome back. Missed opportunity to engage with you.

    Anson

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