If you are a compulsive NY Times reader as I am, you will have seen articles talking about how tech is taking over our lives. We'll all be living in tech-run hives before we know it wi}th AI opening our refrigerators and scolding us for eating too much cake.
But when I look past that, I still see a world largely ignored by tech, billions of small houses often made of concrete or mud with straw rooves or lamina rooves, inhabited by large numbers of parents and kids who barely have enough, who often don't have enough, through no choice of their own, but through the luck of the draw. And in the Americas, Central America, for instance, their lives are riddled by gang violence, government corruption, no work, no chance to even farm. Some of these problems, at least, can be laid at the feet of the United States. Remember United Fruit.
So today in ye famous NY Times I find this in an article by Alan Yuhas.
American border officers sent tear gas into Mexico early Tuesday to drive away about 150 migrants trying to cross the border into the United States, the authorities said.
In a statement, the Customs and Border Protection agency said that the migrants tried to climb over and crawl under the border fence near San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico — the same area where American officers fired tear gas across the border late last year and where Mexico is struggling to handle thousands of migrants who have fled violence and poverty in Central America.
Early Tuesday, as migrants gathered at the border fence there, several teenagers with heavy jackets, blankets and rubber mats tried to cross or cover concertina wire at the barrier. Others began throwing rocks over the fence at the American officers, according to the statement.
In the December 3, 2018 of the New York Review of Books, Pramila Jayapal, herself an immigrant and now
... a Congresswoman, representing Washington’s 7th district, and the elected chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Previously, she was a state senator in Washington, a civil rights activist in Seattle, and the executive director of OneAmerica, Washington state’s largest immigrant advocacy organization.
wrote an article that was reasoned and calm about the need for immigration reform and the absolute lack of a need for a wall. It is a longish article. I have outlined it for you so you can read it in a shorter amount of time. Please do if you are still not clear about where progressives stand on immigration. We absolutely must learn how to return to respecting each other and especially suffering human beings.
From: A New Moral Imagination on Immigration, Pramila Jayapal, Dec 3, 2018
Immigrants as central to national identity.
- 19th and early 20th century labor demand so great almost anyone allowed in who passed a physical exam
- Immigration exclusions before 1921: Chinese, most Asians, prostitutes, people with “dangerous and loathsome contagious diseases”, and the insane.
- 1921, 1924 quotas based on race, nationality and favored people from western Europe.
- BUT few laws and little bureaucratic control so undocumented immigration was the norm.
- 1929 Registry Act allowed “honest, law-abiding aliens…” without papers who’d been here a certain no. of years to stay.
- 1965: admission on basis of immediate family or employer relations permitted. No national quotas
- 1990: increase in employment-based visas.
- Two contradictory immigration traditions defined approach
- Spirit of generosity and renewal of country always shaped by immigrants.
- Battle has occurred in every generation.
- Under Trump and his remake of Republican Party
- Political calculation to appeal to fear and racism. Refers to immigration as “invasion” and “infestation” in supposed implicitly white, Christian America. otros
- Trump made unconstitutional threat to revoke citizenship of those born here.
- Provoked and used fear of supposed horde to send wave of troops to border.
- , etc., etc.,
- Propaganda narrative: current laws work; undocumented immigrants prefer to live in shadow, game the system; benefit from generosity of taxpayers.
- These beliefs are absolutely false.
- Current immigration system
- Immigrants are currently held in expensive private prisons – majority because of undocumented status or waiting to see a judge.
- A militarized and hardened southern border has led to large surges of undocumented immigrants becau
- In past there was a “circular flow” of migration: workers moved back and forth across the border more easily.
- Laws protecting workers, however, weak.
- Good immigration laws would…
- Allow immigrants to move back and forth from their homes to US and back again depending on work. Most immigrants would prefer to maintain their south of the border homes if they could by only
coming to the US to work.
- Encourage family immigration which laws did in the past.
- Can fill jobs at different levels with different family members.
- Essential support for immigrants to integrate and become self-sufficient: e.g. grandparents taking care of grandchildren, children taking care of parents, etc.
- Update system regularly
- To prioritize industries growing rapidly, needing workers.
- Address problems of declining economic conditions for both American-born and foreign workers.
- Retraining initiatives, investment programs for displaced workers.
- Resources for helping immigrants integrate will lead to economic and civic benefits.
- Learn English while preserving own languages
- Training for skills needed to realize their talents.
- National interest in reforming immigration law
- Now is a blunt tool of a militaristic foreign policy.
- Should reflect interest in development, diplomacy, protection of human rights internationally.
- US (and other countries) should invest in countries that send most immigrants to encourage people to stay at home (most people when surveyed want to stay at home) instead of making “perilous journeys”.
- Sensible, humane system of immigration is best for everyone to address the following;
- Immigrants needed to replenish US work force as baby-boomers age.
- Fast-growing industries of domestic care, home health, nursing assistants, personal care aides, immigrants make up “vast” majority of workers.
- of visas for nonagricultural e.g. construction, housekeeper, forest, health care) workers: 66,000 last year, BUT THE ECONOMY requires “millions”.
- Last year, 3.9 million US citizens and permanent residents had legally applied for closest family members: parents, spouses, kids, siblings—these are the only members eligible (Trump´s chain migration” is a lie) Thet are in processing “backlog” that could take decades to clear. There are many huge backlogs in US immigration.
- S. moral and legal obligations (under US and international law) to take refugees and asylum seekers from around the world.
- Often fleeing horrible political situations.
- In some cases, US has been complicit in political, economic situations leading to need to become refugees.
- Submitting millions to refugee camps with little freedom, dire living conditions, no say in their futures is a moral question for all nations.
- US ranks only 50th in the world for welcoming refugees.
- Leaders of all faiths (including evangelicals) emphasize need to strengthen and humanize refugee resettlement program.
- Currently no orderly, functioning US immigration process
- Temporary fixes under Reagan and Bush but no underlying reform.
- Simplistic narratives by anti-immigrant groups have led to billions of dollars poured into mass deportations, vast labyrinth of private prisons costing millions (maybe billions).
- Trump, unlike all previous presidents of the past several decades, has followed rigidly restrictionist agenda of anti-immigrant zealots.
- Inhumane policies: separating children from families, imprisoning them, shackling pregnant women; slashing all legal migration; vilifying immigrants.
- Progressives must (and most do recognize that nation has the right to control who comes in and out. Democrats who wants to fix the system in humane way do not believe in “open Borders”.
- Enforcement against employers and employees who break law vital, but in a system that actually works.
- Vast majority of imprisoned immigrants in expensive private prisons for undocumented status or waiting to see a judge.
- Effective reform would mean they wouldn´t be held in prison.
- Immigration courts could again function efficiently.
- Evidence shows:
- A more militarized and harden southern border has led to enormous surge of undocumented immigrants because of the breakdown of “circular flow”.
- Family immigration is the best.
- Have spent over 20 billion on border security with no underlying solutions.
- 2/3 of those surveyed opposed detaining families with children who want asylum.
- ¾ support humane forms of enforcement such as providing with case management and aid to get into compliance.
- Goals should be
- Laws that work
- Knowing who is in the country
- Immigrant wouldn´t have to hide.
- “…a fair and forward-looking immigration system must be at the heart of America´s moral imagination.