President’s Policies Trump Human Rights

opinion

By Keegan Ried:

Take your tired, your poor, your huddled masses and go home. Perhaps it’s time we updated the inscription on the Statue of Liberty. With each passing day, it seems as though Lady Liberty acts less and less like a beacon of hope for those arriving on our shores, and is now acting more and more like a giant symbol of a bygone era in which immigrants weren’t treated as burdens to be dealt with, but as real human beings.

Since Donald Trump’s inauguration in January, it feels like the “nation’s” view of immigration has turned from an opportunity to share our incredible wealth with those seeking asylum and hope, to this idea that we somehow do not have enough of anything, including kindness, to share with non-Americans. Our country’s leadership is so out of touch with immigrant families that they now treat those families like livestock that have invaded our fields from a neighboring farm; find the hole in the fence, send them back and plug the hole. Trump’s decision to repeal DACA is the latest push in a string of Trump-initiated events targeting immigrants.

People come to the United States for myriad reasons, but all too often we who were privileged enough to be born here forget that outside the comfort of our borders, people are dealing with issues far more complex than which new phone to purchase. People who uproot themselves and even their entire families are coming to this country in hopes that they can escape unending wars, oppressive regimes and extreme poverty. We are in no position to say, “Well, you need to go back to that life because you didn’t get a piece of paper.”

Trump is leading us down a dangerous path of ego fueled destruction. As he encourages us to focus on our own comforts, our own successes and our own desires, we shut out people who need help the most. When we are focusing on things at arm’s length–we can’t see the world crashing down around us and we certainly can’t see the people it’s crushing.

We need to stop and reset our views of immigration and where we stand in our global community. What is our purpose in this world? Are we a country that saves people from the unthinkable? What example are we setting for other nations? If Trump can so easily divide families to accomplish his own goals, what will stop him from focusing on your family next?

5 Comments

  1. I wholeheartedly agree with this opinion piece. People seem to be under the delusion that college students are not in tune with what is happening in the world, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. We know, because we have friends and family that are directly affected by these policies. America used to be such a land of promise! People from all walks of life flooded Ellis island for a chance at a better life, and now? Now we have a President that seems to think that human beings, our brothers and sisters, don’t have a right to flourish in our beautiful country, and it’s not what America was founded on.

    • America is still a land of promise, as we swear in a million new legal immigrants every year, and do the hard hairy work to protect innocents abroad. To be “in tune” with the feelings and sufferings of others, however, is not the same thing as being armed with facts and sound strategic analysis. Waving a magic wand to grant citizenship will irreparably harm both the nation and illegal immigrants themselves. We need a sustainable and Constitutional solution that is fair to everyone, including the millions of LEGAL immigrants and citizens, and the tousands of businesses, who abide by the laws. One nation, one people, one law.

    • You hit the nail on the head, Mike! DACA itself was an unconstitutional executive order which jeapordized the status of the Dreamers and disenfranchized millions of LEGAL immigrants and citizens. President Trump is the first President in twenty five years to fulfill his Constitutional responsibilities for enforcement, recognize his legal limitations, and turn over the legislation to the legislature. Because of this, he is the only President in my lifetime with a snowball’s chance of getting immigration right. One nation, one people, one law.

  2. CORRECTED VERSION:

    Thank you for a thought provoking opinion piece, Mr. Ried! I beg to differ with your analysis. The million legal immigrants we welcome every year have not been “targeted.” President Trump himself has an immigrant wife, and children who are second-generation immigrants. He has never advocated for an end to lawful immigration or a ban on all refugees. The sky is not falling. Our purpose should be to preserve our own traditions as we assimilate the best people and ideas from the rest of the world into American culture, not to uncritically embrace every hostile, predatory ideology and dystopian version of multiculturalism.

    Why dismiss the importance of “a piece of paper?” The Constitution is a piece of paper. Without it we are only savages. Your transcript, my passport, and my wife’s naturalization papers are all important pieces of paper. The two greatest gifts on this earth are the life we receive from God, and the Constitution from which we benefit as legal citizens of the United States. To embrace illegal, wonton and unvetted immigration degrades life and liberty, turns a blind eye to the incredible burdens of illegal and unfettered immigration, steals the fruits of legal citizens’ labor, and endangers the lives of American citizens. The eagerness of a radical activist minority to burden the rest of society with their self-righteous and shallow sensitivities is far more destructive and divisive than anything Mr. Trump has said or done.

    The problems of war, crime, and poverty are very real, and have been experienced first hand by my own immigrant family. Although I agree wholeheartedly that we should not examine problems at arm’s length, nor should we hold lawfulness at arm’s length. We are already a country that proactively saves the rest of the world from the unthinkable, as President Obama did when he bombed terrorists, as President Trump did when he bombed the chemical warfare facilities in Syria, and as many of us have risked our lives to do in service to our country and the Constitution. I have seen the third world in person, and I do not want it replicated in the U.S.

    We cannot help solve world problems by ignoring them or allowing our beloved republic to devolve into a lawless third world country, which was clearly our path prior to President Trump. The dysfunction in the rest of the world is all the more reason to hold to our own higher standards, enforce our laws, resolve our own dysfunctions, and continue to welcome legal immigrants who want to be Americans and contribute to American society and culture.

    Yet, the sins of the parents should not fall upon the shoulders of the children. Of the eleven million or so illegal aliens in the United States, the 800,000 registered “Dreamers” were brought here as children through no fault of their own. They grew up as Americans, now contribute to society, and want to become citizens. It was cowardly and disingenuous for President Obama to create the unconstitutional “DACA” executive order and bypass the legislature in which his party held majorities when he was swept into office. By doing so, he jeopardized the future of every Dreamer and disenfranchised every law abiding citizen.

    Dreamers are by far the most sympathetic and most deserving of special consideration. We should do our best to accommodate them, but they are not automatically entitled to citizenship. They must respectfully request it. The highly publicized, hateful and disrespectful Dreamer protests we see in the media are counterproductive and should be shunned by sincere Dreamers who want to be Americans.

    If we don’t like the law we must change the law, but first we must enforce existing law and stop rewarding lawlessness. President Trump is the first President in twenty five years to take these responsibilities seriously, and he is the only President in memory to not take crap from his own party. Because of this, he is also the most likely President in my lifetime to get immigration right and give the Dreamers, for example, a chance at citizenship and legitimate equality.

    This does not absolve Dreamers’ parents or their parents’ employers from blame for illegal or criminal behavior, for which they must be held accountable. I love my own parents and family, but I do not tolerate illegal behavior or ask for special dispensations for my own family. Nor should anyone do so. Willful illegal behavior must never be rewarded with citizenship. A short term fix to allow law breakers head-of-the-line privileges will do irreparable harm to the nation and stain the reputations of Dreamer families forever. The hard, high, and legal path to citizenship is the more sustainable solution, just as it has been for millions before us. American citizenship is worth the sacrifice.

    We must all stand shoulder-to-shoulder and unite to support the same standards for everyone. One country, one people, one law. Lying, cheating, stealing, and criminal behavior are not the paths to equality, social justice or unity. Mr. Trump’s vision, as flawed and grating as his style can often be, is at this point our last best hope to avoid the abyss, embrace the better angels of our nature, and remain true to ourselves as Americans.

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