The American debate over immigration has always been about creating a class of people that can be used for political fodder. It has been this way since the Anglo-Protestant political elite embarked upon Manifest Destiny. No American government has ever attempted to accept the simple premise that America is great because of immigrants, not despite them. This is true for Democrats and Republican alike. The politics of last week and those about to happen this week poignantly point this out.
Let’s start with the separating of immigrant children from their parents as a tool used to control immigration. Separating the children from their parents is nothing more than a tool used to instill fear on immigrants contemplating entering the country illegally. It is nothing else. Is it acceptable to use children as a tool to enforce immigration? Obviously, I believe the answer is no.
But, I’m not alone because the Democrats are on the bully pulpit calling out Donald Trump for separating the immigrant children from their parents. Applaud the Democrats, if you like, because truth be told, it makes great sound bites to scream, how dare you hurt children. But the hands of the Democrats aren’t clean on this either. We will get to that in a moment.
First, let’s look at Donald Trump and the Republicans. Donald Trump, through Jeff Session, told everyone that the policy of the United States will be to separate children from their parents at the border for violations of immigration laws. Sessions enforces the policy that the Trump administration demands. If the Donald Trump administration felt the policy is wrong, it could simply order its attorney general to stop separating the children from their parents. This would not even require a Congressional intervention as the policy squarely sits on the presidency. But Donald Trump has not done so.
Because the policy of separating children is designed to create fear on immigrants contemplating coming to America without documents.
But to understand that the children are nothing more than political fodder, you need not look further than Donald Trump placing blame on the Democrats for the “horrible” policy that separated the children. Never mind that Trump could simply order Sessions to stop.
But, it is not about the children. It is about creating the narrative that demonizes immigrants as a danger to the country. Remember that the “rule of law” is meant to treat everyone equally, both the enforcers of the law as well as the law breakers. Yet, the United States government lost track of 1,475 immigrant children and the narrative is focused on whether the parents put their children in danger, or not.
Obviously, the Democrats are placing the blame on Donald Trump and on the Republicans. Rightly so because Trump and his party control Congress now.
However, the Democrats’ hands are not clean on the immigration debate.
Historically the Democrats have been anti-immigrants for the simple fact that the labor unions have never wanted the immigrant labor to compete against that native-born population. The unions have historically supported the Democrats.
But, let’s not get bogged down on a debate about this right now. Let’s just look at the recent events to see how the immigrant plight is a useful tool for the Democrats.
Remember the two recent debate on the national budget? As the minority party at Congress, the Democrats argued against money for the wall and resolving the DACA debacle. At one point, the Democrats were able to shutdown the federal government over the DACA issue, only to backtrack on the promise that legislation would be allowed on the House floor to deal with DACA. The Democrats argued that they achieved their goal when the House Republicans promised a debate over DACA forthwith.
It did not happen.
When the Omnibus bill for $1.3 trillion was adopted, the Democrats told anyone listening that they were promised by Paul Ryan that he would allow DACA legislation to the House floor.
That did not happen.
Why did Nancy Pelosi cave to the two-year funding bill? Because she used the DACA debate as a tool to get Democrat policy initiatives from the Republicans in return for the funding bills.
The argument that Ryan promised a floor debate was just political fodder, at the expense of the DACA recipients for the Democrats getting what they wanted.
Some readers may be tempted to argue that this is the best that the Democrats could do under the notion that it is difficult for them because they are the minority party in both houses of Congress. That argument does not negate the fact that the DACA recipients were used as political fodder.
Those of you who are following national politics know that a “discharge bill” is making its rounds in Congress. The bill is a back-door attempt to force debate over DACA in Congress. How far it makes it and what it accomplishes is still to be seen.
However, it is just another political fodder ploy on the backs of immigrants.
Through all this, American farmers are demanding greater access to immigrant labor because their businesses are being destroyed. Donald Trump’s own companies are using immigrant labor through work permits. Other industries are demanding access to foreign workers.
The low numbers of available work permits are creating the demand for the government to do something, but Donald Trump, the Republicans and the Democrats aren’t addressing the simple solution of increasing work permits for immigrants.
There are two reasons, the first is that acknowledging that America needs immigrant labor destroys the narrative that immigrants are a danger to the country. The second is that allowing immigrant to legally work does not allow for them to be abused for political purposes.
Thus, the war on immigrants remains, and both parties are to blame.