We get it, President Trump. You don’t want immigrants pushing their way into the United States, legal or not.
You love the ugly politics of immigrant-bashing, and you despise the “huddled masses.”
You’ve made your point.
There are exceptions, of course. You rail against family-based migration, referring to it as “chain migration,” but you had no complaints on Thursday when your Slovenian in-laws, First Lady Melania’s parents, became naturalized American citizens through that very system.
Your own grandfather found his way here from Germany, lucky him, at a time when the door was open to anybody who could make it over. He was 16. Today, we’d call him an unaccompanied minor and you’d gripe that he can’t speak English.
We get it. You want to shut the door.
You want to rouse the rabble ahead of the November elections, and we get that, too.
You’ve stirred the pot of xenophobia expertly. You’ve stuck it to undocumented immigrants, and now you’re sticking it to legal ones. Just this last week, your administration announced that it wants to deny citizenship and green cards to immigrants who have signed up for food stamps or Obamacare, or accepted public assistance for their American children.
Nationalists geeked out. They loved it.
We get it. Your America is a white European America — let’s just put it out there. All others need not apply.
Unwelcomed are people of the “wrong” color. Though you insist there is no racial or ethnic bias in your immigration policies. Or the “wrong” economic class. Though our nation purports to welcome the “tired and the poor.” Or the “wrong” religion. Though we pretend to embrace religious tolerance.
We get it. When your administration makes it nearly impossible for refugees from Central America to gain asylum, your political base goes wild. When you say our country is being “stolen” by immigrants here illegally, they chant “Build the wall.”
And it doesn’t matter that the great majority of today’s immigrants are like the great majority of yesterday’s immigrants. They work. They raise their kids. They keep their nose clean. They wonder if their children, so quickly becoming “American,” will even hang on to the old language.
Your own administration found last year that refugees over the last decade paid tens of billions more in government taxes than they cost the government.
We get the game. Single out the exception and call it the rule. Find the immigrant, here illegally, who committed a horrendous murder and tar all undocumented immigrants as violent criminals. Find the drug-dealing gang members and suggest all the desperate men and women crossing the border are drug-dealing gang members. Point to a handful of Muslim immigrants engaged in terrorist activity, and paint all Muslim refugees as potential terrorists.
We get it. Trash the immigrant and goose the base.
A majority of Republicans this year were just fine with your policy of splitting up families who crossed over from Mexico, separating children from parents. And your attorney general, Jeff Sessions, and a top aide, Stephen Miller, are the cheerleaders of xenophobia. They want to deport young undocumented immigrants brought to our country as children — the so-called “Dreamers” — who currently have protections granted by former President Barack Obama.
Anything Obama did has to go, right?
Your administration is fighting in court to end protections for Dreamers. How compassionate of you. A federal judge says your Justice Department’s rationale for doing so is “arbitrary and capricious.” How you despise such judges.
Another judge, just this Thursday, ordered that a woman and child that your administration deported back to El Salvador be returned to the U.S. for an asylum hearing. Your administration apparently booted them out too fast.
We get it. It’s all about us, never about them. What can they do for America? Who cares what America can do for them. And who cares that the entire history of this country is that those who show up in rags give back 100-fold in time?
America thrives on immigration. That’s the simple truth. Last year, our nation’s fertility rate dropped to a record low, even as the giant Baby Boom generation moves into retirement. A Pew Research Center study concludes that immigrants soon will have the “primary role in the future growth of the working-age population.”
Immigrants, that is to say, will be doing many more of the jobs that generate the taxes that keep Medicare and Social Security going for the rest of us.
But don’t take our word for it, President Trump.
Drop by Argyle Street in Chicago, as vibrant a city neighborhood as you will find. Try a banh mi sandwich. Check out Devon Avenue, and buy Melania a sari. Visit suburban Bridgeview and try the falafel. Try a torta on 18th Street. Hop a water taxi to Chinatown. Finish up the night with an Italian ice from Mario’s on Taylor Street.
It’s OK. Nobody will hurt you.
We get it, Mr. President. America is a fort, holding back hell, and the door is closing.
You’ve made your point.
We just wish you’d give it a rest.
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