The last four days or so have first reminded us of the evil of political hostage taking. If there was ever a reason to think about the Biblical “Do unto others”, it’s apparent from the government shutdown that appears as I write this to be ending for three weeks.
Imagine how you would feel if you were the adult child of an undocumented parent. The 2014 film “Documented” about Jose Antonio Vargas(a former Washington Post reporter) makes a case in point. But the fact is, our lives are bargained with by politicians all the time, on all sorts of issues. Consider my own narrative about my own experience with the military draft and student deferments in the 1960s. A lot of low-income men (often of color) and sometimes less cognitively aware men were bargained away to protect the “elite” from the domino theory.
We all know that the Democrats refused to budge this weekend, even though the deadline on the Dreamers is supposedly March 5, because they have no leverage over the anti-immigration forces if they give in (so they feel). So, the paychecks of active duty military, TSA screeners, and many other people working temporarily “for free” are put at hostage. There are even some situations where private interests (even executors of trusts like mine ) could be expected to become involved in tiding them over.
And the media is overlooking the fact that the Treasury could run out of its “extreme measures” soon on debt-ceiling issues. Although the issue of payment prioritization is complicated, it could eventually put the incomes of better-off seniors receiving social security on the bargaining table, if more aggressive means testing became policy.
The immigration debate seems to bifurcate into two parts: one is what is the GOP willing to do to help the Dreamers, but the other part is what other anti-immigration measures will be demanded, such as stopping chain migration, reducing legal immigration and green card access, undermining asylum seeking and refugee issues, and “building that Wall”. And in some circles there is a certain “us v. them” hostility to Dreamers, as if they were somehow “on parole”.
The Cato Institute has just published two articles of particular interest.
One is a piece by David Bier and Stuart Anderson, “House Proposes Largest Restriction on Legal Immigrants Since 1920”. The article links to LOC copies of HR 4760 and S 1720. Particularly noteworthy is that the House bill seems to stiffen “credible fear” concept for asylum seekers to where they would have to show a greater than 50% chance of harm if they return to their home countries. That would sound relevant to LGBTQ asylum seekers. It’s not clear that it would affect asylum cases already in the mill (or paroling out of asylum) Employers and businesses generally prefer more legal immigration, and despite Trump’s claims, studies show that lawful immigrants help the economy and rarely displace Americans from jobs they want. That is not to say, however, that there aren’t some problems with some immigrants families where the kids don’t assimilate (like the Tsarnaev’s), There is no way to provide better livings standards for most people without some random and unpredictable personal risk.
The second piece, by Alex Nowrasteh, says “Reforming the Diversity Visa Could Pay for the Wall: Here’s How”. That proposal would involve auctioning certain green cards (10,000 out of 50,000 in the diversity visa or “green card lottery” program) to employers) to raise funds for The Wall outside to the normal federal budget.
There are interesting articles, as in Think Progress, about the more “understanding” Republicans in Congress on DACA, as well as deadline pressures and DACA on Vox. But Elise Foley of Huffington Post (which, remember, just stopped accepting unpaid articles) writes that Dreamers already say they feel let down by Monday’s “deal”, link.
At the end of his 9 PM interview program Jan. 22, Chris Cuomo said that Trump had called Dreamers “terrorists”. I don’t remember hearing Trump say that.
(Posted: Monday, January 22, 2018 at 8:45 PM EST)
Update: Tuesday, January 23, at 4 PM EST
David Bier of Cato Institute made some alarming comments to Newsweek, as quoted in an article by Carlos Ballesetros, “Government shutdown vote passes, but can Democrats and Republicans ever reach an immigration deal?” Bier characterizes the problem as one of “principles” held by extremes. Hardline conservatives, stressing nativism and “taking care of one’s own first”, see Dreamers as seeking “amnesty”; Liberals apparently are adamant on keeping sanctuary cities and chain immigration. CNN’s Fareed Zakaria has been critical of Democrats for shifting to the Left in the past ten years (link). As an independent blogger (“retired” and not needing to keep a “real job” in the short run), I get asked why I see joining up with a picket-waving demonstration on one side or the other in solidarity as “beneath me”, and this is getting dangerous. I am not tribal.
Vox has a stinging piece by Matthew Yglesias, showing the Republicans have opposed legislation legitimizing Dreamers since the Bush years, with no clear reason other than partisanship and nativism.