As we wake each day and venture out into a hellscape reality that can best be described as the love child of Back To The Future II‘s dystopic Hill Valley and the world depicted in Alfonso Cuaron’s 2007 film Children of Men, it’s hard to find hope, decency or even common sense. (See: the U.S. backing out of the U.N. Human Rights Council, Corey Lewandowski and Trump’s new friend.)
The most glaring challenge that has come to the forefront of this living nightmare is our country’s immigration policy — or the lack thereof.
I’ve met immigrants. I’ve worked with immigrants. I’ve befriended immigrants. Women who traveled four-hour round-trips, daily, to clean houses. Men who physically labored 12 to 14 hours a day, six to seven days a week. Immigrants with work visas who, at one time, wanted to return to Mexico, where they still have homes, but can’t now due to lack of economic opportunity and threat of constant violence by warring drug cartels. Murderers, drug dealers and terrorists are not moving en masse across the U.S.-Mexican border.
Don’t believe me? Take it from the agency in charge:
Customs and Border Protection statistics for fiscal year 2018 show that roughly 0.1 percent of people apprehended at the border (275 out of 256,857) have been linked to MS-13 by authorities. Between 2011 and 2017, about 0.02 percent of children detained (56 out of roughly 250,000) were connected to the gang, according to Senate testimony given by Secretary Nielsen in April.
Hardworking individuals and families are. Whatever threat the misguided individuals in our nation perceive to be present among these fellow human beings (whom we all know in one form or another), they are minor if not nonexistent.
Is Trump developing a hotel in hell?
On June 10, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said, “There’s a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad-faith diplomacy with President Donald J. Trump and then tries to stab him in the back on the way out the door.”
I’d love for Mr. Navarro to tell me what kind of place in hell is reserved for those who separate these people’s families and keep them in cages. Also, is President Donald Trump developing a hotel there? (That’s a rhetorical question.)
In light of Trump’s executive order on June 20 meant to end family separations at our southern border, one might have felt the temptation to breathe a sigh of relief, to sleep a little easier at night. Then came this week, in which that order was revealed to be more cosmetic than substantive, because the president called for undocumented immigrants to be deported without due-process.
Any person who would claim Kim Jong Un cares about his people — people the North Korean dictator has starved, imprisoned and/or killed — does not care about immigrants. Any person who uses the deaths of “beautiful babies” as a reason for military action and then allows children to be put in cages doesn’t care about immigrants.
Light at the end of the tunnel (for profiteers)
The faint light you’re imagining at the end of this tunnel through Satan’s digestive tract isn’t our salvation. It’s a fluorescent bulb. A cold, sterile light furnished by defense contractors. Companies that are all too happy to help. Not out of the goodness of their hearts (unlike some airlines) but for the right price. These businesses have ambiguous names. Names so general, the word “general” is actually in their name. For example, MVM Inc., General Dynamics — the more nondescript the better. Less specificity, fewer questions.
Why contract with companies experienced in health care, childcare, family counseling or development to build and staff immigrant-detention facilities when you can award bids and positions to military-minded companies you’re already allied with, right?
You try to tell yourself America’s standards remain above that nadir. Then, you realize a converted Walmart doesn’t sound like bad housing when the potential alternatives are tent cities on military bases or temporary housing in federal prisons. At this point, I guess we’re just supposed to be relieved and grateful our president hasn’t awarded such construction and staffing contracts to his own businesses. An opportunity for a positive perspective. The glass is half full, not half empty. Except the glass is a toilet, and it’s not half-full of water.
There are alternatives
The United States, Mexico and Central America could, together, improve the standards of their countries, their people’s safety and resolve the immigration problem if they perhaps considered legalizing all drugs or, at the very least, cannabis, which would cripple the violence that terrorizes all our citizens, and forces our southern neighbors to flee for their lives. America could continue to work with Mexico rather than prosecuting a trade war, which will only hurt their economy, invariably causing citizens to seek opportunities across the border. Or, we could choose the most practical and logical avenue: Reform the process to allow immigrants to obtain citizenship more easily.
Any one of these things would be much more effective and humane than separating families or scoring a political victory, the results of which amount to paydays for inadequate contractors and positive optics for the upcoming midterm elections. Halfheartedly signing a disingenuous piece of paper due to immense public outcry makes you an opportunist — not a hero.
If you’d like to set an example for our country and its politicians, continue to hold them accountable or just help a family in need, here’s a good place start.