Democrats: It’s Your Turn on Immigration

Regardless of how the shut-down turns out, the Democratic Party risks losing its majority status in the next election for one simple reason.

A majority of the country believes that there is an immigration problem.  While I’m obviously no fan of the President, and while the immigration situation was not the national emergency or crisis Trump has turned it into, there is an immigration problem.

As many people have pointed out, we’re making it harder and harder for the kind of skilled and educated immigrants we can use to actually immigrate here.  We’re making it harder and harder for foreign students who get their advanced degrees to stay here and work.

We allow hundreds of thousands of people to come as students or tourists…and stay past their education or visas… and then almost randomly, with no real program, abruptly deport a comparative handful, often breaking up families, and leaving legal children without a parent.

We have a need for low skilled workers to do grubby jobs.  But rather than have a program for them, as we once did, now illegals do some of the work, legal immigrants do some, and some doesn’t get done, and those who do it are often subject to brutal conditions because so much is under the table.

There aren’t enough immigration judges or other personnel… and all that I’ve mentioned doesn’t come close to covering the problems.

Now… unlike the Democrats, Trump has addressed the problem and proposed a solution.  In my opinion, as most who read this blog know, it’s a lousy and wasteful solution that doesn’t really do anything that will get to the roots of the problem, but it’s a solution.

In all the Democratic rhetoric, I haven’t heard one single word about what their solution might be to the problem, only that what Trump has proposed is wrong.  I agree.  What he’s done is wrong and also won’t really solve the problem.

But he’s trying to address it.

The Democrats are pretending it’s not a problem; that it will go away if we continue immigration as we did before.  It won’t.  Given the awful conditions in too many Latin American countries, this problem isn’t going away.

So… Democrats, what’s your plan… besides saying “No” to Trump?

An old political consultant I respected greatly once said, “You can’t beat anything with nothing.”  And right now, the Democrats have exactly nothing.

10 thoughts on “Democrats: It’s Your Turn on Immigration”

  1. Tom says:

    This from the DNC:
    -Democratic Party Platform
    Democrats will continue to work toward comprehensive immigration reform that fixes our nation’s broken immigration system, improves border security, prioritizes enforcement so we are targeting criminals – not families, keeps families together, and strengthens our economy.
    It is my understanding that both the right and left agree that the immigration system of the US needs to be changed and strengthened to meet the present and future needs of this country.
    The present shut-down of the government is (perhaps) because one side feels the greatest immigration system need is building a physical obstacle and the other side will not agree to release such funds as will be necessary to improve immigration controls until the government is re-opened.
    Both Pelosi and Schumer have been arguing for debate and legislation to fix “the broken immigration system” for at least the last two years and have supported for such legislation but the proposed legislation has not got through the Republican Congress and White House.
    I do agree that one of the reasons for the present political situation in the US is the weakness of the Democrat platform ( with its continued excessive socialism) and not just the apparent interest in the destruction of the US social infra- structure by Miller, Trump, Nunes, Ryan, McConnel, and Putin.

  2. Hanneke says:

    You do realise that a lot of people from the north-west European social democracies tend to laugh incredulously at US claims of excessive socialism for programs and ideas promulgated by some in the Democratic party.
    Over here, those tend to be considered basic human decency towards one’s fellow humans, and basic care for a stable and healthy future.

    There’s not a smidgeon of real excessive socialism or communism, privatization of all corporate means of production, in any of those programs.
    Some support for the less fortunate, some protection for our living environment present and future, some reigning in of excessive capitalism – it might lead to some (very slight, by Europen standards) redistribution of wealth from the richest to the middle class and poorest, but it’s very far from real excessive socialism.
    In fact, runaway growing disparities between rich and poor (as is the case in the USA) both limit social mobility (the American dream, which is a lot easier to realise in any of the northwest European states than in the USA, in the last decades), make people less happy and content, and make the society less stable and productive as a whole.

    In our eyes, the US (as well as a lot of middle eastern and other countries) suffer from runaway capitalism, for instance allowing profiting off people who don’t have any other rational choices (healthcare costs, Shrekli and his ilk), giant multinationals using influence on lawmakers to stifle startups and their competition, the Republicans forbidding Medicare and Medicaid from bargaining about prices with the medical and pharmaceutical industries… how can you consider that a free market, if someone is not allowed to bargain on a product where your choice is either buy it or die?
    Even apart from plain subsidies there are so many ways in which your present rules allow companies to pocket all the profits, but make the taxpayers pay for all the costs (of bad side effects like pollution, black lung disease etc.), that amount to subsidies for companies; because industry needs to be supported; after all, we need jobs.
    But the idea of supporting one’s less lucky fellow human is considered abhorrent to do collectively, that’s excessive socialism!

    1. Tom says:

      The excessive socialism I am referring to is beyond what people without the means (cognitive and otherwise) need for basic living without want ( which does exclude mere desires). You are right, it is still theoretical in the US and the society here is not ready for the socialism in depth as in the NW Europe.

      I do see that both Sweden and to some degree Norway are having political difficulties despite their austere life styles and rational debates.

      The international decision making with regard to other European nations citizens (Estonian and Lithuanian come to mind) during and after WW II also leaves questions regarding the northwestern European quality of socialism. Will it be any different if Russia invades the eastern Europeans again?

      1. Hanneke says:

        Northwest Europe is still mostly capitalist, they just mitigate the worst excesses of capitalism along the lines of social responsibility.
        They really are not socialist, by any working definition of socialism, even though Americans like to call them that.

        They are not ideal, no human society is, but they appear to be near the best available in the world right now, from many metrics. Including happiness, productivity, wealth, stability, social mobility, successful start-up companies, safety and others – not just ‘socialist’ metrics either, but ‘capitalist’ ones as well, like the number of start-up businesses.

        They do try to keep the balance in the free marketplace between labour and capital; better than many US states do, when they prohibit workers and consumers from forming unions, but protect large corporations and investors (banks, hedgefunds etc.). This is not socialism.

        Every society has rules, even the most supposedly-free capitalist ones, from the anything-goes “might makes right” of anarchy to the pro-capital “you are not allowed to infringe on a patent” (which Europe has as well) and “you are not allowed to bargain collectively” and the pro-labour “we will institute a collective savings account so that when people are laid off they need not beg or starve” and “healthcare is a collectively sourced public good, you are not allowed to ransom ordinary people who have the bad luck to have an illness for their entire savings and that of their families”.
        How well those rules balance out has a huge impact on society, and having allowed ‘capital’ to capture your rule-making legislatures has clearly imbalanced the US. However, as you have such weak rules against monopolies, people’s major sources of news and information were already captured by certain interests decades ago (at least in some areas of the country). This means that people have learned to rely on sources of information that have a very biased slant, and tend to point to scapegoats instead of analyzing the underlying problem. So it becomes easy for people to believe that the scapegoat must be responsible for their worsening situation, instead of seeing clearly that they themselves have, for decades, been duped into voting for people who will make rules in favour of ‘capital’ and against ‘labour’, i.e. promoting large (monopolist/monopsonist) corporations, banks, hedgefunds and the super-wealthy, while blocking anything that would be in favor of the ordinary working man or woman.
        This has moved the ‘Overton window’ (i.e. what people consider to be the political center) ever farther to the right, so that what you now consider to be ‘left’ would a few decades ago have been ‘center’ (as it still is, looking from Europe, though we too have been trending right for over a decade). What you consider center is still considered firmly right-wing outside the USA, and your regular right-wing would be very far-right over here…

        Once this mindset has become a part of people’s identities, it becomes very hard for them to see through it.

        I know I had a lot of trouble realising that what I consider basic human rights and decency, like not bankrupting and evicting a family because their child is ill, is not something that is recognised as such everywhere – at least not enough to do something about it apart from some inadequate (religious) charity. Not my problem, so no need to do anything about it, apparently outweighs the need to do something to create a safety net that will work for almost all members of society. The mindset appears strong that doing anything for the unfortunate collectively, as a society as a whole is bad, and the only good way is through individual charity if you happen to know and like the unfortunate person, or be a part of the religious institution doing the charity. As long as that is ingrained, you are going to have an imbalanced society, with beggars depending on charity, wage slaves utterly dependent on their employers (even for their healthcare, making it very hard to change jobs!), and no level playing field in the so-called free economic marketplace.

        I do fear that a lot of Democratic leadership has also been captured by the ‘capital’ side of things, since begging campaign donations from wealthy people, large corporations and business associations has become so central to being elected. They too are subject to the Overton window shift, and not solidly behind the ordinary working people where they should be, so they form an inadequate counter-weight to the (far) right Republicans. Some of the newer Democrats appear to be shifting a bit left, which if the trend continues and forces the party as a whole to move back to where they were before the campaign finance rules legalised bribery, might bring back a bit of balance.
        Though the Republican media portrays this as very scary, and whips up people’s anger and fear with the scapegoats of illegal immigration and Democrats, I really think yhat bringing back that balance is the better solution to the mess that the political right-shift of the last 3-4 decades has caused.
        The goal of ‘capital’ may be to capture all the resources and all the money, but in the long term that is not good even for the capitalists themselves: if your workers have no rights and no money, they aren’t going to buy your products, which in the end will be bad for the rich investors and owners as well. America’s (venture) capitslists appear to have lost sight of the long game in chasing after the short-term winnings.

        I have no idea how you could effect a change to real problem-solving legislature, working for the good of the people as a whole. Certainly I can’t do much to help that along; the only helpful thing I can think of is putting my bit of outside information out there, when the discussion seems to warrant it. Maybe someone, sometime, will be motivated to take another look at what they consider received wisdom, and check some facts, and come to an evidence-based conclusion instead of just following party lines or a speaker’s assertions (including mine, as I’m just an ordinary person just as prone to be mistaken as everyone else). That would be a good start.

        1. Tom says:

          I have heard and I have read opinions such as you have expressed before and I think I understand why you think such. You may be right in at least some aspects.

          Your sixth paragraph agrees with my view of what society is about and more specifically what society’s responsibility to the individual may be.

          I believe that US citizens are decent, reasonable, and giving people, who do care about each other in their society and other societies in other parts of the world. However I also see that, because of what I call their “in your face” personality style and their overwhelming need for praise, they can never ever become as socially responsible and in the same way as Europeans. They really do feel taxes are not the way to support a nation except for such entities as the military and other security purposes. They do pull together to support each other through tough times as witness the support for the Federal Workers who are being used as slaves by Trump and abetted by McConnel and the senate republicans. The US citizens understand the necessity for FEMA but only because “other than Miller and Trump” they recognize the emergency services and relief following disaster is more efficient via a purposeful organization. They see the waste of their tax dollars by the government and that gets under their skin: as it does citizens of other nations as well. So they will continue to try to find some other way to finance the needs of the physical and social infrastructure of the US society.

          The greatest problem with the US accepting the necessity for some form of social support for their citizens, who cannot support themselves, is that wherever they look around the world, even NW Europe, there are problems with the systems in use by which ever national system they choose to examine. We continue to look for a perfect societal system. The world still has not learned from LEM the need for balance in all we do as humans; to our selves, each other, and the earth.

          1. Hanneke says:

            Sorry if I came on too strong. I too believe most American people are decent people as well; there are decent people all over the world. Most people the wide world over just want to live their lives in peace, and to get ahead a bit.
            The social and societal systems we all live in are never perfect, but some are more broken than others.
            I’m supporting three US writers I like, through Patreon, who ran into trouble with your broken healthcare system and lack of a social safety net, and am starting to pick up on a fourth who appears to be heading that way; but I don’t see how to add support for a fourth without diminishing the support I give to others who still need it.
            It’s made the cracks in the present US system feel rather personal to me, even though I’m not subject to them myself.

  3. Autumn says:

    Until they have 60 seats in the Senate, don’t you think that point is moot? Is there an upside in trying to get a group with such diverse constituencies and viewpoints to fight over the exact legislation until they can actually pass it?

    1. They don’t need legislation, but they do need a short list of basic bullet points that people can rally behind.

      1. Tom says:

        I do not like the idea of bullet points because they will be immediate targets for the opposition.

        I would rather that a political party has a ‘platform’ or presents a series of ‘white papers’ which outline the goal; the reason for the goal; the general outline of how to reach the goal with the obvious tools at hand. This is the purpose of National Political Party Committees as I understand their function – not just money production for elections.

        1. Tom, you’re right. A simple platform would be much better.

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