America’s story, as a whole, is made up of millions of individual stories of immigrants. Unfortunately, there are some who for political reasons, conveniently forget these stories. But there are others in the corridors of power who are determined that new generations of immigrants are given the opportunities as past immigrants.
Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) is determined to not only keep these stories alive, he is equally determined to remind Americans about the inhuman treatment that those who wish to become Americans are experiencing. In his new book, America Is Better Than This: Trump’s War Against Migrant Families, Senator Merkley writes about his first hand experience at the border. In visiting migrants who are forced into what are essentially internment camps, where children are separated from their parents, he reveals the hard truth that we, as a country, must face.
As I see it, there are too many politicians these days who are too willing to bury their heads in the sand or to further their careers. I admire Senator Merkley for speaking up and reminding us that, according to his must read book, America is better than this.
Last night, the first night of the second round of the Democratic nominees aired on CNN. Over the course of three hours, the nominees debated, argued and did their best to prove why they should go against you know who next fall.
I have a few thoughts about last night.
As much as I would like to say that Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont) will be our first Jewish-American President, I don’t think he will be the nominee. From my perspective, his plan can best be summed up as a Monet. He didn’t do anything for me during the 2016 Presidential Election and does not do anything for me now. But, he did have the best one-liners.
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) said nothing new or different than she has said before. This round of debates are do or die for the candidates. While the Senator had many good talking points, nothing she said inspired me.
Marianne Williamson surprised me. I didn’t think much of her during the previous debate. But last night, she sounded like a candidate who might have a shot winning the nomination. However, her limited political experience bothers me. Not that there is anything wrong with a political newbie, but given the lack of previous political experience of you know who, I would feel more comfortable with a candidate who has at least some experience in government.
Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) stood out. I read her as a centrist Democrat who is able to walk the fine line of holding true to the ideals of the party while appealing to all Americans. I honestly believe that the ideal Democratic candidate to go against you know who is a centrist Democrat whose appeal goes well beyond the party’s base.
I don’t agree that immigrants whose status is labelled illegal should just be handed health insurance. Let them pay in, either out of their own pockets or via taxes and enroll in one of the government insurances. I’ve spoken on past posts about my immigrant forebears. They came to this country for the same reasons more than a century ago for the same reason that immigrants are coming today. My forebears did not ask for a handout. They only asked for an opportunity, which what they were given. We should be giving these immigrants the same opportunities that past generations of immigrants were given.
Those are my opinions. Readers, what do you think? What moment or quote stood out to you from last night?
P.S. Did anyone else notice that everyone on stage last night was Caucasian? All of the nominees of color are debating tonight.
The general idea of law enforcement is to protect the average citizen and ensure that the those who are breaking the law are removed from society. Their job is not target and/or arrest someone because of his or her religion, cultural background or family history.
Back in February, Ana Suda and Martha “Mimi” Hernandez, two Latina-Americans who live in Montana were stopped by border patrol and asked to show ID. They were stopped not because they were suspected of committing a crime. They were stopped because they were speaking Spanish. Both women are American citizens. There is a lawsuit pending against the officer who stopped them.
Last month, 18 year old Francisco Erwin Galicia, an American citizen and a Dallas native, was detained by immigration officials for a month before he was released. He stopped and arrested along with his younger brother. Mr. Galicia was released but his younger brother was eventually sent to Mexico and is residing with his grandmother.
This is not the United States that I know and love. We do not treat immigrants (or anyone else for that matter) like animals and second class citizens. We should not target American citizens and send them to another country because we assume that based on their mother tongue and/or surname, that they are not citizens.
It’s time to stop this madness before we ruin everything that is good about America and the American democracy.
If you can, please imagine the following scenario. You are one half of an interracial or inter-religious couple. Someone whom you work with and are in frequent company with makes what can only be described as a racist comment. Do you let the comment slide and make excuses for this person? Or do you stand up for your spouse/significant other and your relationship?
It is my opinion that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) has sold his soul to you know who in order to retain his position. After the blatantly racist comments that you know who made via twitter over the weekend, Senator McConnell made the following statement to the press:
“The president’s not a racist,” McConnell said. “And I think the tone of all of this is not good for the country. But it’s coming from all ideological points of view. To single out any segment of this I think is a mistake.”
The sad irony of his statement is that his wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao was born in China and immigrated to the United States as a child. She became a United States citizen at the age of 19. She is an example of the immigrant that you know who would, if he had his way, prevent from entering this country.
Politics aside, I would hope that Senator McConnell would defend his wife and his marriage. He may have done so in private, but these days, that conversation is worth nothing. It is the public statement condemning racism in all it’s forms that matters. But given his vague and slap on the wrist comment, I doubt that the Senator would actually defend this country if it came to it.
There are some people in this country who still believe that the United States is a white, Christian nation. According to these people, anyone who does not fit into both of those categories is either ineligible to be an American or is only fit to be labeled as a second class citizen.
Among these people is the President of the United States.
Over the weekend, he tweeted the following statement about four Democratic Congresswomen: go back to where you came from. The targets of this tweet were Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.). All four of them are freshman members of Congress and women of color. The incorrect irony of his tweet is that three of the four targeted Congresswomen are natural born American citizens. Ilhan Omar is the only one who was actually born in another country and immigrated as a child. She has been a citizen for nearly twenty years.
The truth of America’s history is that we have always been a multi-cultural nation. Unfortunately, that truth has been hidden to ensure that only a small minority have access to the American dream. Due to decades of hard work and soul searching, we have finally started to open the door to those who have been systematically disenfranchised and make amends for our collective sins.
The question now is, where do we, as a nation go from here? Do we let this racist used car salesman drag us back into the past? Or do we continue to walk the high road and work toward the ideal society that our founding fathers created when they broke from the British over 200 years ago?
Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
It does not say anywhere within the poem, “tell them not to come”.
Those are the words of the man who Americans elected to lead us in 2016.
What are these migrants supposed to do? Stay in a country in which violence, destruction and hunger is the norm? Watch as their children starve or die from gang violence? Just hand over their sons to the gangs to fill their ranks? Give their daughters to the gangs to become sexual playthings?
What would you do if you were in their shoes? Would you just stay or make the dangerous trek to America, hoping that the United States provides the safety and freedom that does not exist in your home country?
Past generations have left their homelands for America for the same reason that these people are leaving for America. It’s time to tell the administration to stop this persecution of Central American immigrants and treat them as human beings.
The United States has the unique distinction among the countries of the world to have citizens whose ancestry is from everywhere. There is no other country in which multiple people can say that somewhere on their family tree, a relative was born somewhere else and made their way to America.
The problem is that many forget this fact.
Pictures released over the last couple of days have revealed inhuman conditions that migrants are being held in at our Southern border.
These are human beings who are being treated as sub-human. Even if they may have technically broken the law, they did not leave their homes and families for sh*ts and giggles. They left dangerous conditions and trekked hundreds if not thousands of miles with the hope that the United States would provide refuge and opportunity.
What is worse is that these migrants are not single adults. They are families with young children, many of whom have been separated from the adults they depend on. This is not only a travesty of justice, it is a travesty of human rights and everything that is wrong with the world.
When we talk about hot button issues, we often forget that there are human beings who are affected by these issues.
Immigration and illegal immigration is one of these issues.
In the United States, the question of immigration and who can become Americans has always been a hot button issue. These days, it has to the point of dividing citizens based on where they stand on immigration.
The point that I keep seeing (that I believe many are missing) is that these migrants are human beings. They may not have entered the country legally, but they are first and foremost human beings. It is their right to ask for asylum and we must, at the very least, hear them out.
When a father and his young daughter drown in the Rio Grande while trying to reach our borders and ask for asylum, I have a problem with that. When detained migrant children are denied access to basics such as toothbrushes and soap, I have a problem with that. When you have kids taking care of kids because they have been separated from their parents, I have a problem with that.
This is not the America that I know and love. This is not the American that respects diversity and our immigrant past. This is hypocritical and flies in the face of everything that we claim to hold dear.
The Holocaust is one of the seminal events of recent human history. The persecution, starvation, torture, forced slaved labor and murder of six million European Jews is the hallmark of the inhumanity we often force on our fellow human beings.
Recently, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) made some comments in which she compared immigrants held by border control to the victims of the Nazi concentration camp. The response to her comparison has come fast and furious.
As a Jew and an a descendant of Holocaust victims, I think that her comments are on target. While the immigrants in these facilities are not being tortured, starved, forced into slavery or systematically murdered, they are being treated as less than human.
In the eyes of the current administration, they are the other. They are bad, they are evil and they are the cause of our problems. They do not deserve the opportunity to become Americans and add to the wonderful interwoven fabric of our country.
This is what she is saying and unfortunately, many who are responding are not listening.