Tag: immigration

The New Caravan

Federal agents policing cities is a total campaign-as-reality-show move, just like the caravans were in 2018. Enough legit story there to ensure coverage, attention-getting footage. “The caravans” was a “get out the vote” instead of “appeal to voters” strategy — make sure your voters fear the possibility of loss to ensure they show up. Caravan fear didn’t work well in 2018, so it’s not exactly a fail-proof strategy.
Why didn’t it work? Well, for one — people had bigger concerns. Republicans want to throw my 22-year-old kid off my health insurance, and they promise preexisting conditions aren’t coming back but have no answer for how that becomes financially sustainable to private insurers. Those are really personal concerns, whereas an invasion of caravans was a far more abstract concern.
But the caravans weren’t the boogie monster Trump made them out to be either. There was a pastor in Texas — Gavin Rogers — who spent time traveling with one of the “caravans” that I thought did a really good job of humanizing those refugees. I’m sure there were others, but he had a pretty public media tour and gained a lot of followers. Without having empathy for other people, I can see how Trump couldn’t fathom people having sympathy for refugees … and, yeah, there were some news agencies promoting racist views and villainizing “the caravans” even after stories about people fleeing cartel violence started airing.
In 2020, he’s replacing ‘caravans’ with ‘protesters’ — which seems even less likely to succeed. And not just because employer-based health care amid a pandemic an economic collapse means people have *way* bigger problems than protesters. And that protesters out in the big city are still a fairly abstract concern for the majority of the country. Not to mention voter’s desire for competent disaster response. The protesters seem like they’d be a lot more generally sympathetic than refugees — protesters are Americans, a huge majority of Americans think police brutality is a problem that needs to be addressed. I had a good discussion with an acquaintance a few weeks ago — she didn’t see why sports players had to kneel in protest when there were so many other ways they could have talked about whatever they wanted to talk about. I’m sorry you were uncomfortable, but do you think the message needed to get out there? (And, post George Floyd, she totally thought the message needed to get out there). Those people did try many other ways to communicate the problem. People ignored the protest until the form of protest selected made people uncomfortable. So, evidently they did need to kneel at public sporting events. Maybe protesters today need to destroy some property for people to take notice too.

Fact-free discourse

The migrant caravan illegally invading the United States has been a gigantic heap of “alternative facts” — or, for the old fashioned, inaccuracies and lies. Is there anything to gain from proving individual tenants of Trump’s argument to be the abject falsehoods that they are? People walking from Southern Mexico are not at the US border. 5,800 US military personnel, *they* are at the border in what I am sure is a fairly expensive political stunt. But people hiking across Mexico have a few weeks of walking ahead of them.

And what exactly are they doing that is wrong?? How many people know step #1 of the asylum process? Here it is — from the US Department of Homeland Security website. To apply for asylum, you need to be physically present in the US or seeking entry into the US at a port of entry. So … people who want to request asylum in the US that head to a port of entry are, wait, following the legal process.

But while there are a bevy of proximal arguments being made, the distal complaint is essentially “we don’t like other, keep them out”. So I wonder about the efficacy of of providing actual facts to counter the litany of alternative ones. Are there people rooting for militarization of the border who will change their mind when they realize asylum seekers showing up at a port of entry are following the proper process? Or will they come up with some new “fact” to heap on the pile.

But he MADE me do it

I wondered if this was the logic when he first started in about how it was the Democrat’s that were forcing the separation. Not that the Dem’s passed some laws forcing kids to be separated from parents but that the Dem’s refusal to just go along with asinine policies that don’t even do much to reduce illegal entries mean the trump administration “has” to do all of this terrible stuff. Good to see the master negotiator at work here. 

Curious, too, that *immigration* laws are going to deter ‘criminals’ whereas gun laws won’t. I’d almost give on immigration policies for the analogous gun control policy: a wall (longer waiting periods), merit based immigration (more background checks and reasons for denying ownership), ending lottery/chain (no gun or ownership is grandfathered)



When a law enforcement officer refuses to enforce the law and can rely on the president to pardon the infraction, does that not elevate the executive branch above all others? Trump encouraged law enforcement officers to abuse people in their custody (full on Jerry Seinfeld why are they so careful getting the guy in the back of the cruiser?). Can police officers expect to be pardoned when charged with brutality? Will they be guaranteed their jobs even after killing a suspect? What is the point of having laws (or a court system) if one branch of the government can decide what should be legal by pardoning infractions they don’t like.

Sure there are mitigating circumstances that may diminish the severity of the infraction, mandatory sentencing produced people whose ‘time’ in no way fit their ‘crime’, some people are amazingly reformed after the commission of their crime. Hell, the law could change five years into your term rendering your infraction a perfectly legal activity. Some people deserve a break. Would it not be better to allow the judicial system to redress these scenarios? Mechanisms to do so are already in place — parole reduces the effective sentence, but the individual retains a criminal record. Expunction seals the record and generally means the individual does not need to disclose the conviction.

And not that I believe Trump is in the least bit concerned about people whose rights were trampled by Arpaio? What redress do they have? The purported ideology does not care who is damaged in the pursuit of illegal immigrants. And that is what makes this particular pardon so offensive. In the ‘war on drugs’, cops abused people in poor neighborhoods. Evidence was planted to convict those who were known to be dealers. What would have happened if Reagan had just pardoned those officers?

We watched a lot of movies when building Windstream. A lot. We were splitting an eDirectory tree, and a couple of servers each night would be moved. I ran the support bridge for the split, and needed a way to get a good number of people to volunteer to work 6p-2a six days a week with no overtime. Accomplished this by having free dinner, snacks, and movies. I didn’t own that many DVDs, so people volunteered to bring their collection too. It was a lot of fun (some of the techs ringing into the bridge would get the same DVD going and watch with us), and I got to see a lot of movies I wouldn’t have known existed. One of those movies was an early 70’s movie based on a mid 60’s book: Colossus: The Forbin Project. Pardoning Arpaio makes me think of the movie — the premise was essentially that the US government commissioned a computer system to control the country’s nuclear arsenal with the goal of preserving world peace because computers do not suffer human foibles such as irrational emotional responses. The computer accomplished it’s goal … by using the nuclear arsenal to blackmail humanity into peace (either you stop fighting or I start nuc’ing you until you concede). Same lack of constraint or morality. It doesn’t matter how many people are tortured or killed, as long as the objective is met.