So, it has come down to this: the left’s chief activity these days, virtue signaling, is focused most tightly on the virtue of illegal immigrants.
It begs the question: which part of “illegal immigrant” do they not understand?
Sure, the left can try to re-define the term by simply performing a Stalinist purge of the word “illegal” and replacing it with “undocumented,” which carries with it the implication that these immigrants are the same as us, but for lack of paperwork.
They can fear monger by promoting wrenching tales of families split apart by immigration law, as if it is America’s fault that these people broke the law.
They can demonize people who don’t even support new laws on the subject, but just want existing immigration laws enforced, as they do other laws.
They can scream that enforcing immigration laws is fascist, and call the president Hitler, and demand his impeachment on the grounds of…well; they’ll come up with something.
None of this changes the stark-naked truth that what they are supporting is…illegal.
Now, the left could do what is supposed to be done in this republic if you don’t approve of a law: change it. But much like their hero, Barack Obama, the left doesn’t want to do the complicated and intricate work of building a consensus, lobbying, fundraising and everything else involved in changing the law. Perhaps because they know their position is not supported by the American public. It’s much easier to stand on the sidelines and throw out political smoke bombs.
This is how actual fascists operate. When they don’t get their way, they ignore the law, they bully, intimidate, radicalize and foment violence. They demonize their opponents and call them names – racist, sexist, xenophobic and all the rest – and by dismissing the humanity of those who disagree with them as deplorable and irredeemable, per Hillary Clinton, they have eliminated the necessity to listen, compromise or debate an issue.
There is no understating how dangerous this is to a functioning democracy.
There are many among us who recognize that most immigrants work hard – in many or most cases even harder than Americans jaded by the wealth and opportunities afforded by our nation.
There are many who similarly acknowledge the invaluable contributions of the waves of immigrants who came to define the changing culture of America around the turn of the 20th century, and were central to that “American Century.”
And many similarly acknowledge the ongoing need for refreshing the national bloodstream with those who desire to come here, work hard, be productive, raise families and support the nearly forgotten national slogan of E Pluribus Unum – out of many, one.
What we do not want are those whose motives are demonstrably impure – the people who scheme to exploit government largesse and/or hate what the country stands for and/or do not want to participate as part of a melting pot rather than the leftist narrative of a mosaic of stand-alone cultural identities.
We want, for example, Mexican-Americans, not Mexicans, just as we wanted Italian-Americans rather than Italians a century ago.
And we want people coming here to obey the law, not break it. For all the screaming and gnashing of teeth on the left, that is essentially all this president desires to do – along with protecting against the inherent dangers of those entering the country from hotbeds of Islamo-Fascist terrorism.
Exactly when did it become so deplorable to support the enforcement of laws?
Republicans brought this problem upon themselves by constantly promising to “do something” about illegal immigration. But as the number of illegals swelled into eight digits – more than eleven million by most estimates – the GOP, in service to their bankrollers at the US Chamber of Commerce desirous of plentiful, cheap labor, did precisely nothing. In contrast to this GOP hypocrisy, the left’s position, while hostile to the republic, is at least forthright.
So now Donald Trump comes along and proves he intends to do what he promised about illegal immigration – something new to Washington – and is forced to pay the full political price for the false promises and inaction of his party.
So does this mean the President will create a deportation army of government agents empowered to, for example, break down doors and forcibly remove otherwise law-abiding but illegal immigrant parents of “Dreamer” children classified as legal because they were born in the US? Does it follow that every single one of the millions here illegally will be rounded up and sent back to their countries of origin?
Almost anyone watching this debate closely would conclude that even an immigration hardliner like Trump would not attempt such a thing. For starters, many countries have refused to accept or repatriate illegals from their nation. Just as significant is that the logistics, not to mention the optics, of such an initiative, are beyond impractical. And for all his heated rhetoric in the presidential campaign, Trump has made clear his desire for a nation of people who are productive and patriotic. And he understands that many of these illegal immigrants not only work harder than many Americans but also take jobs – many in day labor, a particularly insecure form of work – which Americans have increasingly refused to do.
So how does Trump proceed in the face of this unrelenting assault against him by the left? At some point in the near future, it would make sense to offer a path forward to those illegals living in the shadows even as they otherwise play by the rules. Provide a window of time in which they could register with the federal government and be offered a streamlined process for legal residency. Those who comply would be treated with dignity and relative generosity. Those who refuse to register and persist in remaining here illegally would be subject to deportation.
While the left will never agree with a single Trump initiative regarding immigration, many on the right will also object and call this approach too soft. But I would challenge those conservatives to offer a more realistic – and fair – solution to what has become an intractable problem.
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