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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Immigration Man

F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote, "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function." I guess that's how the U.S. has functioned, because we do hold two ideas at the same time. One is that we're a nation of immigrants, welcomed by the Statue of Liberty, a paradise where anyone, no matter how poor or what their background is, can be successful. The other is that we have always resisted immigration, especially if it is people that are not like us. Since the beginning, anyone who is not a white Anglo-Saxon has been harassed, discriminated against, and treated like dirt: the Irish, the Germans, the Italians, the Poles, the Hispanics, the Asians. African people, of course, were forced into slavery, and had their children sold away from them. Indians had their children taken away and put in schools to "civilize" them.

Therefore the recent atrocities committed by the government in detaining asylum-seekers and removing their children from them and put into cages should strike someone as nothing new. But it is horrifying that in this day and age it still has to be argued about. It is cruel and barbaric, and anyone who can't see that has been so twisted by either racism or xenophobia or both is swimming in a cesspool of immorality.

There has been a lot of misinformation about this policy. Like the women who are at the restaurant, and one says, "The food here is terrible," and the other says, "And the portions are so small," the alt-right has taken a position that this is no big deal and that this is the Democrats fault. So, basically, they are agreeing with Bill Clinton, who they say started this policy. No. The law they are talking about refers to removing children from unfit parents, not using them as a bargaining chip to get a folly of a wall built.

Jefferson Sessions, the elf that now is Attorney General, cited a Biblical passage justifying the policy. Besides the fact that we don't use the Bible to make our laws, the passage he used has been fodder for those justifying any bad law, such as slavery.

Beyond this is our national phobia about immigrants. Once upon a time they came by boatload and were processed at Ellis Island. Some of them stayed in cities, others went West. Some made it, some didn't. But many persevered, and about 40 percent of today's Americans are descended from those immigrants. I would say that worked out okay. A study shows that immigration actually helps the economy, because it increases consumerism and immigrants perform jobs that many other Americans won't do. But this study was killed the ghoul Steven Miller, who not only has one of the more punchable faces I've ever seen, but also to be evil incarnate. Saturday Night Live used to portray Steve Bannon as the Grim Reaper, I suppose Miller would be Lucifer himself.

The alt-right, which supports anything Trump does, has made some outrageous statements. Fox and Friends argued that they aren't cages, their fences made of chain-link. Ann Coulter said the children are actors (wow, there are a lot of Central American kid performers). Laura Ingraham said the concentration camps they are in are like "summer camps." Funny, when I went to summer camp my parents were allowed to pick me up, and we played games and shot arrows. How do they sleep at night, these people? Maybe they're not human.

President Trump has repeatedly stated that he can do nothing about it because it is the law. So how was he able to sign an executive order today stopping the policy? Something doesn't add up. And don't give him credit for ending a policy he implemented in the first place. The order does nothing for the children already separated from their parents (perhaps permanently), keeps the zero tolerance policy alive, and merely means that parents and children will be detained together, when they should be welcomed with open arms.

This country really can suck.

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