Letter to a Trump Supporter #2: Path to Citizenship

This is the second in my series of “Letters to a Trump Supporter,” from correspondence with a family friend who supports Mr. Trump.

In keeping with the immigration theme, he sent me a video of Bill Clinton, as president, vowing to increase deportations. I responded:

Yes, President Clinton said that, and his administration did conduct a lot of deportations. But you know who ordered more deportations than any other president? Barack Obama.

Anyone who tells you that today’s Democratic Party is trying to encourage undocumented immigration is lying to you. The Democrats just don’t engage in race-baiting and fear-mongering, so they don’t get the headlines.

To this, my friend asked, “Do you agree to limit the number coming or agree to increase as Hillary wants?”

Below is my response.

~~~~~~~~~~

Dear Mr. ——,

Good question, but I might need to clarify it a bit.

Hillary Clinton has never said that she wants to increase the number of immigrants coming into the United States without limit. Her website lists her immigration proposals, which don’t say anything about an unlimited increase in immigration.

Current immigration law does have annual limits, and Secretary Clinton has not proposed to change them.

There are a couple things you might be referring to.

She has said that she wants to allow 65,000 Syrian refugees into the country. This would be a one-time increase representing 0.02% of the American population. That is a cap, of course, and a very small one at that.

She has also said that she would give undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship, but that’s only for people who have already immigrated here. So it wouldn’t change the number of immigrants at all.

This is not a particularly liberal stance. In fact, the leaders of both parties supported a pathway to citizenship in 2013 when they tried to pass immigration reform.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning news outlet ProPublica recently published a fascinating behind-the-scenes investigation into the failure of that effort. The Senate had passed a bill. The House was negotiating a bill. They had gotten 140 Republicans onboard. They were literally celebrating that a majority of both parties were ready to vote yes…and then Eric Cantor, the number-two Republican in power, was defeated in the primary by a conservative challenger who campaigned against his support for immigration reform. The Republican reformers all realized they were in danger of losing their seat too, so they abandoned the negotiation and the bill died.

If extremists like Donald Trump had not been allowed to hijack the debate, we probably would have passed immigration reform.

It even had the support of Sean Hannity, who said, “It’s simple to me to fix it. If people are here, law-abiding, participating for years, their kids are born here, you know, first secure the border, pathway to citizenship, done.”

And Paul Ryan, who said, “I want to do it because it’s the right thing to do, because I’m Catholic, and my Christian values say we cannot have millions of people in second-tier status.”

So, yes, to answer your question, I agree with Sean Hannity, I agree with Paul Ryan, and I agree with Hillary Clinton. Mass deportation is cruel and infeasible. A pathway to citizenship is in keeping with American values, Christian values, and common sense.

Best regards,
Anthony

What to Read on Libya

False Pretense for War in Libya? — Alan J. Kuperman

The president claimed that intervention was necessary to prevent a “bloodbath”’ in Benghazi, Libya’s second-largest city and last rebel stronghold.

The best evidence that Khadafy did not plan genocide in Benghazi is that he did not perpetrate it in the other cities he had recaptured either fully or partially — including Zawiya, Misurata, and Ajdabiya, which together have a population greater than Benghazi.

Libya: Another Neocon War — David Swanson

The United States was in the business of supplying weapons to Gaddafi up until the moment it got into the business of supplying weapons to his opponents. In 2009, Britain, France and other European states sold Libya over $470m-worth of weapons. Our wars tend to be fought against our own weapons, and yet we go on arming everyone. The United States can no more intervene in Yemen or Bahrain or Saudi Arabia than in Libya. We are arming those dictatorships. In fact, to win the support of Saudi Arabia for its “intervention” in Libya, the US gave its approval for Saudi Arabia to send troops into Bahrain to attack civilians, a policy that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton publicly defended.

The “humanitarian intervention” in Libya, meanwhile, whatever civilians it may have begun by protecting, immediately killed other civilians with its bombs and immediately shifted from its defensive justification to attacking retreating troops and participating in a civil war.

Mission Transformation in Libya — Glenn Greenwald

Whatever one thinks about this war limited humanitarian intervention on the merits, this is not the mission that Obama cited when justifying America’s involvement. It’s the opposite: “broadening our military mission to include regime change would be a mistake” v. “so long as Gaddafi is in power, Nato and its coalition partners must maintain their operations.”

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“Fool Me Twice!” Pleads Secretary Clinton

Mexico is “looking more and more like Colombia looked 20 years ago,” according to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Oh good, I thought, we’re finally learning from our mistakes.

At this time last year, I was reporting the results of our War on Drugs in Colombia, where we targeted the rebel forces known as “FARC”:

What most Americans do not know is that our tax dollars are largely responsible for the rise of the FARC in the first place.   Continue reading ““Fool Me Twice!” Pleads Secretary Clinton”

Learning from History, Rising Superpower Edition

Nobel Prize-winning international economist Paul Krugman has stirred up a debate over China’s exchange rate–and specifically, what the United States should do about it. Again, I don’t have time to wade into all the details, but it gives me an opportunity to repost a column I wrote for the Hazleton Standard-Speaker. (If you want to dive into the actual debate, you can find informed views here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.)

This debate follows on the heels of another one that possessed America’s chattering classes at the end of 2009: whether the United States is losing its dominance to China and India–and of course, what to do about it. Sadly, few observers have made the connection between the two issues. Recall what I said last week about the long reach of history and the fundamental challenge we face: “how to coexist (and survive) on this planet.”

It turns out those British history books are a good place to start, as I explained in August 2007:   Continue reading “Learning from History, Rising Superpower Edition”

The Iranians Who Knew Too Much

Yesterday was a traveling day, so I didn’t get a chance to post my latest column in the Sun-Sentinel. If you have been reading this blog regularly (specifically the “Best of the Week” posts), none of the information in it will surprise you. All the facts have been recited in articles and studies I’ve linked to in the past couple months. If, on the other hand, your knowledge of Iran comes from the American mainstream media, then it is quite a shocking list — cognitive dissonance, for most. As always, go read it.