Zeroing In on A Recent Outrage

I’m off on another impossible mission again today. I’m going to try to catch up with the recent outrageous behaviors of the Trump administration. You will find that I failed miserably. (Note: This sentence was added and the title changed in the first edit.) Let’s explore.

The Trump administration announced some changes to the criteria we use in admitting immigrants. Basically they need to have financial security above what many Americans have or ever had before we let them in.

I don’t know a lot about my family history but I do know that three of my four grandparents came to America from Poland in the very late 1800’s or early 1900’s. Based on my life and what I know of my parents’ lives I have every reason to believe they were far from wealthy when they landed on the American shore. They certainly didn’t have graduate degrees. I am equally certain they didn’t have private health insurance.

While a merit based immigration system has some very solid selling points and I certainly think it is counterproductive to graduate young people from our best universities with doctorates only to effectively deport them, there is something un-American about the new Trump rules. Whatever happened to the melting pot idea? Automation is taking over and more of it is to come but we still need laborers. Like most Americans I have tremendous respect for physicians but when the toilet backs up I’d rather have a plumber than a surgeon visits my house.

The biggest problem I have with how the Trump administration is handling immigration is that they are making no distinction between economic opportunity immigrants and refugees. They are two very different categories of people. Refugees are literally fleeing for their lives. They don’t have the luxury of preparing themselves with educations, financial wealth and health insurance. They need to get someplace safe.

One of the many advantages of having been born an American is that the likelihood of my having to flee America for my safety is rather small. (Being an environmental “refugee” within the United States is another story.) I’d like to think that someplace (i.e. Canada) would allow me shelter. Why would I deny the same to my fellow man in need?

On Monday Acting Director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, Ken Cuccinelli, took to the White House podium to defend the policy. As background, Cuccinelli is a recent Trump appointee who has a long record as a right wing extremist. He was Attorney General of Virginia which is normally a stepping stone to the governorship. However Cuccinelli is so radical that he lost his bid for the office while having the springboard of being the state AG. That is not an easy feat in Virginia.

On Tuesday he redefined Emma Lazarus’ The New Colossus (the poem at the base of the Statue of Liberty). Cuccinelli’s version (no doubt endorsed by Trump) is “Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge.”

If people like Trump and Cuccinelli had been running America at the time my grandparents presented themselves I wouldn’t be here today. My guess is that Trump and/or Cuccinelli are in the same boat. The difference is that I haven’t forgotten where my ancestors came from and they apparently have.

This was intended to be a multiple topic, catchup article. I guess I found this issue more outrageous than I originally thought. I’m far from a bible scholar but I don’t remember hearing that all God’s children stopped at the southern border.

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