By Rosetta Miller-Perry
The Republican Party, both statewide and nationally, no longer utilizes facts or even attempts to address realities when they offer policy approaches and/or solutions. Instead, they cling to outdated, reactionary and uninformed theories, unproven allegations, or just outright lies while trying to scare people into believing they have a coherent party rather than folks acting like a cult and blindly following an incompetent demagogue who fortunately was voted out of office, yet still thinks he’s the President.
Our state’s Republican legislators, most notably one of our Senators Marsha Blackburn, blindly follows the Trump line, no matter how dumb it makes her look. A prime example is her current rhetoric on immigration and the situation at the US/Mexican border, one largely caused by the inept Trump policies that resulted in the separation of families, and an inability or refusal to address conditions in Central American countries that was causing a mass exodus of people trying to escape.
Now Blackburn and some of her cronies like Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director David Rausch are trying to claim that Biden, who’s only been in office a little over 100 days. is responsible for a situation largely caused by the incompetence of the Trump administration. According to Rausch and Blackburn, suddenly there is a crisis in Tennessee and other states. We supposedly have hordes of immigrants flooding our borders, participating in human trafficking and dispensing illegal drugs.
Now neither Blackburn or Rausch have presented any factual date to support that allegation. It’s just standard right-wing rhetoric, a combination of nativist excess and thinly veiled racist dialog. The immigrants are coming to take your jobs, threaten your children and overrun your towns and states they claim. Rausch even uses the line “out of control” to really accelerate the fear factor.
Well, here are some actual facts about the situation. In March alone more than 170,000 migrants (actually 172, 331 to be exact) were detained by the Border Patrol in Arizona, to cite one state DIRECTLY affected by the situation. That’s the highest number on record, and a lot better than under Trump. 103,000 were immediately expelled.
Those figures come directly from the government, and are not some figment of anyone’s imagination. In the states DIRECTLY affected by the crisis, the Biden administration is moving to cut down the red tape, reunite families, but also try to find better ways of dealing with the situation than simply locking people up, or sending them back without even trying to address the issues that caused them to leave their native lands in the first place.
Simultaneously, the administration is establishing dialog with the rulers in various Central American nations, working on solutions to the economic and political problems that have caused the mass fleeing of large numbers in these countries. America can’t solve these problems by themselves, but more inter-governmental co-operation and international approaches to these problems could certainly help start addressing these concerns.
America’s immigration policies have needed reform for decades and still do. But sensible reform cannot happen without the realization that racism and nativism are NOT legitimate approaches to the issue. Immigrants from Central and Latin America, Africa and the Caribbean need to be treated just as fairly as those from Europe, and if there are going to be restrictions placed on numbers of immigrants allowed, such things as political injustices, economic hardships, and family relationships must be part of the equation.
This garbage about cartels and illegal drugs is a smokescreen to what Blackburn and her Trump-loving crew are really promoting with their “America First” and “border crisis” rhetoric. They are stoking racist fears of what Trump once called “a horde” of people coming from non-European nations overriding their towns, cities and states. and most of all voting for Democrats.
Yes, America needs sensible, compassionate immigration reform and policies. No nation in the world has totally open borders, and America has never operated that way. no matter how many lies Republicans want to spew now claiming that to be the case. But what the Biden administration is trying to do is both reunite families and put reasonable restrictions on the number of immigrants from these Central American nations that this country can handle.
The last thing that anyone needs is another ridiculous bill from a Trump sycophant aimed only at people from Central American nations. Instead, it’s time for Congress to intelligently look at broad-based changes in the immigration system, streamlining and eliminating outdated restrictions, making certain that immigrants from all nations are treated fairly, and rejecting appeals to racism and nativism being made by people whose agendas are only a foreign extension of the same ideas that have always represented the worse in American political discourse.
Senator Blackburn has no legitimate ideas on immigration reform, and should really be spending her time trying to improve conditions for those in this state in a number of areas. But instead as usual. she’s cozying up to the Trump nutcases and proposing silly legislation that’s not going to solve anything and doesn’t even really address serious immigration issues.
Fortunately the Biden administration will ignore the nonsensical rhetoric from the Trump cultists and continue working towards sane, reasonable and compassionate approaches to a crisis largely created by his incompetent predecessor.