Sunday, January 28, 2018

SUNDAY READ: Trump's immigration proposals rooted in racism

AFTER A YEAR in office, it is now clear even to the most casual observer -- Donald Trump is a racist.

The White House will release a "legislative framework" for an immigration deal on Monday that it believes can earn bipartisan support, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said. 

As we have seen the basis for almost all his policy proposals is to keep whites in power and to turn the tide of growing influence of people of color and to stop the demographic shift to a browner America.

There is no doubt about Trump's anti-immigrant positions after his comments Jan. 11 in the Oval Office when lawmakers proposed restoring protections for immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries as part of a bipartisan immigration deal, according to two people briefed on the meeting.

“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump asked in that infamous meeting at the White House.

He followed up with another question, “Why do we want people from Haiti here?” Then he reportedly said, Why can't have more immigrants from Norway? In other words: Why can’t we have more white immigrants, and fewer nonwhite ones?
Trump stokes the deeply felt the fears of his mostly-white constituency by painting immigrants as a danger to our society.

"Today we face a number of serious threats—from the vicious MS-13, to the deadliest drug epidemic in American history, to radical Islamic terrorism," said Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a speech to law enforcement officers in Norfolk, VA last Jan. 26.
Trump's underlying message of his campaign plays to the fear held by white people that they will lose their position of privilege propped up and perpetuated by the dominant influence of white people in almost every area of influence in our culture.
There appears to be two primary strategies to achieve that dubious objective:
1. Stop the increasing power and influence of people of color by ending the avenues  or opportunities through which POC advance their social status in the U.S., ie. education, employment and political influence. To achieve this goal might take the form of various policies: ending  affirmative action, lower the quality of public schools where most POC send their kids for an education, removing penalties for bias in the workplace and making it more difficult to vote.

2. Besides the obvious deportation of undocumented immigrants, the administration wants to stem, or more realistically slow down, the inflow of immigrants from Latin America and Asia. The long-term overall impact of this policy will hurt the U.S. economic and political standings in the world. Despite the harmful effects this policy will have, the goal of this administration is decidedly short-term: the temporary shoring up of Trump's supporters' xenophobia, the fear of the "other." 
The policies for No. 1 are numerous, complicated and ongoing. It will require a watchful eye on the current administration as they try to disguise their efforts under the guise of economic development and job creation. Views From the Edge will continue to track the policy proposals that will inevitable generate turmoil and harm to our country, no matter what race one may be.

The goals of Trump's immigration policies have a strong appeal to his base -- to those Americans who see "their" county changing and "their" status of privilege slipping away.  that we will focus on today.

The day Trump announced his candidacy and declared immigrants from Mexico as criminals, rapists and drug dealers, should have set off alarm bells among all Americans who believe we are a land of immigrants and the pursuit of the American Dream that separates the U.S. from other countries. and it is continuing with his proposed Muslim bans that are winding their way through the courts all the way to a Trump-friendly Supreme Court.

The Trump administration has taken a hardline approach to immigration thus far, including: 

  • Cracking down on undocumented immigrants, 
  • Calling for harsh punishments for so-called sanctuary cities
  • Executive orders executing what are essentially Muslim bans,
  • Proposing to cutback on H-1B visas and the necessary visa extensions,
  • Curtailment of the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program that allows family reunification,
  • Despite stating his support for immigrants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Trump is instead using the program as a bargaining chip to build a $20 billion wall on the Mexican border.

Trump has also endorsed the Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) Act introduced by GOP immigration hardliners Sens. Tom Cotton (AR) and David Perdue (GA) last August, which attempts to cut immigration to the United States in half — from approximately 1 million people to only 500,000. 
The RAISE Act also seeks to cap refugee numbers and do away with the diversity visa lottery. As he is wont to do, Trump has already branded the family reunification policy with a derisive moniker: "chain migration." It is the policy that gives priority to immediate relatives of green card holders in order to stabilize the new immigrant's emotional well-being by reuniting the family in America.

Despite a desire to move to a merit system to bring in immigrants with specific skills that would benefit the U.S. the Department of Homeland Security under Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen appears to be undercutting this stated objective. The DHS is considering new regulations that would prevent H-1B visa extensions, according to two U.S. sources briefed on the proposal. The measure potentially could stop hundreds of thousands of foreign workers from keeping their H-1B visas while their green card applications are pending.

The administration is also getting stricter in issuing the coveted H-1b visa given to those workers and grad students who wish to continue working or studying in the U.S. By cutting off extensions of the three-year visa, the proposed policy would drive these highly-skilled individuals back to their home countries, depriving the U.S. of their skills in technology, medicine and science.

Trump is reportedly considering a proposal to stop H1B-visa extensions to highly skilled foreign workers mostly from India, while they wait for their green cards to be granted. If the proposal passes, between 500,000 and 750,000 skilled Indian workers who hold the non-immigrant work document could be deported. if H-1B workers were no longer allowed to apply for extensions. 
The bulk of affected workers would be from India. “It would remove hundreds of thousands of tech workers from the work force, and discourage new people from coming,” said Leon Fresco, an immigration lawyer and former deputy assistant attorney general at the Justice Department’s Office of Immigration Litigation.

Trump recently criticized policies that stressed family reunification, the American Immigration Council says case-study evidence shows that extended immigrant families "ease the economic assimilation of new immigrants and promote investment in U.S. human capital as well as the formation of businesses."

Trump blames so-called "chain migration" for allowing one immigrant “to bring in dozens of increasingly distant relations” with “no real selection criteria.” Trump pointed to a Bangladeshi man who detonated a pipe bomb in a New York City transportation hub last month as an example of how the system can compromise national security. 

The number of visas granted to extended family members of legal immigrants dropped to the lowest level in more than a decade—and he is calling on Congress to stop such “chain migration,” claiming it presents a national security threat.

The number of approvals for family-based visas in the first nine months of 2017 fell to 406,000 from 530,000 in the same period a year prior, a drop of nearly a quarter, according to a Reuters review of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) data. A similar amount of applications were submitted for both periods.

This proposal could severely impact Asian immigrants who have used this policy to bring over family members. "They're talking about your tias/tios, lolas/lolos, cousins, etc. They're talking our families," tweeted Jose Antonio Vargas, one of the most outspoken undocumented Americans who has advocated for expansion of the DACA program.

White House immigration 'framework'

The White House "framework" for immigration is so extreme that it will be almost impossible for Democrats to accept which could endanger negotiations to safeguard participants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

The supposed framework reportedly will create a pathway to citizenship for DACA participants. The White House would pit DACA, which surveys show the American public has great sympathy for, against Trump's immigration reform that would contain all the elements discussed above.

“Let’s call this proposal for what it is: a white supremacist ransom note," 
immigrant advocacy group United We Dream said in a statement Thursday (Jan. 26). "Trump and Stephen Miller killed DACA and created the crisis that immigrant youth are facing. They have taken immigrant youth hostage, pitting us against our own parents, Black immigrants and our communities in exchange for our dignity, 

“So let us be clear: any politician who backs up this ransom note is enabling Trump and Miller’s white supremacist agenda. Members of Congress of conscience must make the moral choice to reject this white supremacist proposal and pass legislation that protects us without harming others. Dream Act now.”

Then, there's that $25 billion Wall Trump wants to build between the U.S. and Mexico. It appears he won't back down on that.

What the immigration debate is really about is the future of America. Whites see Trump's immigration policies as a way to stay on top. Whites, like most of the world, see the U.S. a white country. But the beauty of the American experiment is that it is continually changing. It has the ability to absorb new peoples, their energy, ideas and drive to create a country the world has never seen before. 

Whites and all their power structures need to accept the changes that are happening.  What they will discover is that not much will change that dramatically.

America was never just their country - ask the Native Americans whose land was stolen, ask the Chinese who built the railroads, the Filipinos and Mexicans who toiled in the fields, the millions of military personnel of color who died fighting for the America, or ask  the Asians driving the information economy. it has always been - OUR  country - all of us!

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