01 September 2016

Mexico, Immigration, Trump


So, nothing new from Trump's speech yesterday.  But still, hearing his immigration plan all at once, with all the asides, made me sick.  Teleprompter Trump would have been better. I don't want to live in the America that Trump wants to create.

This morning I read an email from an LDS missionary living in Southern California in a largely Iraqi neighborhood.  He sees Islamophobia and anti-immigrant abuse too frequently. He wrote about stopping a man who was loudly verbally abusing an older Iraqi woman on the street, getting threatened with a knife when he stepped in, and then helping her carry her groceries home when the man ran away.  I'm so glad he did that, but angry that he had to. 

The speech had the usual misrepresention and spin, which is normal and easily looked over.  But it also had some things that are factually untrue and policy proposals that are unacceptable in my mind. Throughout the speech it's often hard to tell sometimes which group of people Trump is referring to.  Sometimes he lumps all foreign-born people together, whether they're US citizens, green card holders, or undocumented; he seems to consider anyone who wasn't born in the US as an immigrant even if they're only in the US temporarily (being an immigrant means you are intending to settle in a new country permanently); sometimes he's talking about refugees who have a very different entry process than anyone else who enters the US; etc.  This lack of clarity isn't particularly surprising though.

First, I completely and thoroughly reject the idea that the point of our immigration system is to make life better for US citizens (and I don't think Trump sees increased diversity as one of those ways to make life better for US citizens). Our immigration system is to allow people from all over the world to move to the US and to improve everyone's lives, both the people born in the US or anywhere else in the world. Nearly all of my ancestors who immigrated to the US after it was an independent country didn't look that great on paper (except they were white) but I'm glad they were allowed to enter, obviously. America First is not an immigration system I can ever support.

Second, I have a serious problem with Trump's continuing to pit minorities in the US against immigrants.  This is also part of his America First rhetoric- trying to make people believe that immigration hurts the US rather than creating it (and I think we are still creating the US). Also, immigrants are humans and as important and worthy of respect as any US-born US citizen.  I care about immigrant families whose legal status makes their lives difficult. And people who cross the border illegally are not fish, so it is not acceptable to refer to them in fishing terms.

Third, Trump continues to lie about the refugee entry process into the US.  There are a lot of lies and spin out there in politics, but this should not be acceptable.

Fourth, Mexico is not going to pay for the wall.  Peña Nieto has made that clear.  Trump's plan to get Mexico to pay for it would have significant diplomatic repercussions if he tried to implement it.

Fifth, Trump is awfully fuzzy with his math throughout the speech.  I'm looking for a good fact-checker to explain why I say this.

Sixth, this extreme vetting is concerning and vague.  Trump did list some ideological differences he would screen for (too bad there are already US-born citizens who wouldn't pass his test because Americans are allowed freedom to have offensive opinions), but the point for anyone, citizen or not, is not belief, it's about agreeing to be subject to US law.  That is the only ideological test I am interested in, and immigrants already do agree to that.  Also, this is the main time when Trump lumps all foreign-born people living in the US together.  He made his attitude clear about foreign-born citizens when he disparaged Judge Curiel.

Seventh, I am absolutely opposed to complete bans of people entering the US from certain countries.  No country, not Mexico, not Syria, not Libya, not one country has an entire population that should be viewed with that level of suspicion by a US president.

Eighth, look forward to long lines when leaving the US so your passport can be checked by CBP.

Ninth, his statistic that 62% of households headed by an undocumented individual get some type of welfare benefits neglected to mention that the report he was quoting from said that the majority of those households get those benefits for their citizen family members.  It is obviously legal for US citizens to get welfare benefits.

Finally, I really disliked how he talked about immigrants and immigration at the end of his speech.  Assimilation and limiting immigration are conversations from one hundred years ago and we have moved far beyond that. I am also extremely opposed to the idea of only allowing immigrants who are already financially self-sufficient. Immigration from all over the world and from all sorts of demographics is a good thing for the US.

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