Posted by: Floyd J Fernandez, J.D. | February 1, 2018

The Reality & The Fog—February 1, 2018

dreamstime_xxl_96034876The reality of what I am seeing, when one looks at the details, is very different from the appearance given by most media networks.  I have looked at the hysteria, the hystrionics of those who are opposing President Trump’s immigration proposals, and I find that the reality of his proposals is nothing like the image being projected:

Donald Trump is a racist.  Donald Trump is an hysterical loon, a moron, an idiot.  Donald Trump is mean, hateful; he insults anyone who disagrees with him.  He is an emotional flamethrower.  He is an evil man to women.  He is evil to disabled people. He is degrading, disrespectful.  He will take us to nuclear war.  He doesn’t understand the nuances of nations and the difficulties that we must “massage” to get “peace.” Oh, we must have “peace”, let’s all join hands and sing kumbayah.

No issue highlights that narrative like immigration (with the possible exception of all the women who keep making either false or dated accusations of sexual assault against Mr. Trump, or who twists his own “locker room talk”—yes, I have boasted of a conquest or two I didn’t actually achieve).  From the Middle East travel ban (called the “Muslim travel ban”) to the actions against “sanctuary cities”, to the declared phase-out of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and now his proposals on limitations on legal immigration, and of course “The Wall”, everything President Donald Trump has wanted to do, is immediately denounced as hateful and racist, and therefore unconstitutional and banned.  That is launched against even programs and measures that his enemies admit would be acceptable for anyone else.

What has made the situation worse are the hysteria stories of individual cases of ICE arrests of people who had committed no offenses except being in the country illegally.  Instances that shock the conscience, such as those arrested near schools and hospitals or in the very interviews with USCIS that are supposed to grant legal status and avoid the arrest that happens, usually done by stealth or by an induced appointment by USCIS agents that have arranged it with ICE agents.  And now ICE is noised in the press as having announced plans that courthouses are to be targeted to arrest those who are set for removal.  

But what I have found out, in case after case, the reality is much more rational and conventional in their actions than what would appear to be the case in the sensationalistic headlines.  The ICE directive referred to above excepted a whole series of instances where no one would be arrested (divorce courts, workers compensation boards, small claims courts, traffic courts with non-DUI cases).  The ICE directive specified those who were subject to arrest, none of which were those with even minor misdemeanor offenses, but those who have been convicted for felonies, misdemeanors involving drug use, human trafficking, domestic violence, and or DUI.  None of the stories in the media have included those facts, just the outrage over the headlines, and the general animosity toward ICE.  Indeed, what has made it worse is the penchant by ICE Director Thomas Homan to say outrageous and heartless things about arresting anyone at anytime.  From expressing happiness at the arrest of a DREAM kid while picking up his date at a high school prom, to threatening to arrest governors and mayors who don’t cooperate in arresting any undocumented, at any time, at any reason, Homan is certainly writing the journal on “jerk.”  If anyone is writing a book on how not to use effective public relations, they should use a hundred quotes and actions of Thomas Holman.

I have just taken a look at the proposed Congressional Act that has been authored by a cadre of Republican congressman, led by Rep. Robert Goodlatte, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.  It is the core of the proposals made by President Trump at the State of Union Address just this past Tuesday.  It has been pilloried by those on the Left as drastically curtailing legal immigration.  But a closer examination reveals a remarkably modest set of proposals.  The bottom line is that the Goodlatte bill calls for legal immigration to have changes in cutting off areas of eligibility that have been criticized by members of both political parties as unhelpful to America’s economy and sometimes a means for terrorists and criminals to enter the country to do harm.

One criticism was that parents of U.S. citizens would no longer have immediate relative eligibility for green card sponsorship.  That is true.  What is also true is that the bill creates a non-immigrant visa, called a “W” status visa, that is good for 5 years, and can be renewed indefinitely for 5 years at a time.  Hardly an act of gross cruelty.  It is claimed that the number of immigrants would be cut to 400,000 with the bill.  It is not.  From an average of 1,060,000 over the last decade, it is set to decline under the Goodlatte plan to about 800,000, over a 10-year period.  And those are estimates.  One thing noticed in the immigration process, the numbers of immigrants, when a law is about to be passed, are always larger than what is predicted.  I suspect that will happen again.

Are there instances of enforcement gone awry? Yes, and some of them are downright disgusting.  But indulging in the hysteria is not nearly as appropriate or productive as the activists on either side would tell you.  Calling people lawbreakers or sellouts aren’t going to make them willing to sit at a conference table and work out a deal.

Consigiliere Pacifica

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