Millions of people immigrate to the United States in hopes of a better life for themselves and their families in…
Donald Trump’s Anti-Immigrant approach
One of the biggest surprises is the rise of Donald Trump. Who could have predicted that in 2016 Donald Trump would be the overwhelming Republican front runner? This man has led in the republican primary polls since the week he announced his candidacy, regardless of the things that have come out of his mouth. We have heard him call Mexican nationals terrible names such as criminals and rapists, we have heard him time and time again insult and degrade women, and most recently we heard him call for the total ban of all Muslim entry into the United States and to register every Muslim already in the U.S. There is nothing more un-American than the last two. Despite his harsh and angry rhetoric, he still leads in the national polls by double digits. There is a huge divide in America of anger and fear, and Donald Trump has found a way to channel it.
Continuing Crisis in Central America
We have continued to see a mass exodus of children and families from the Northern Triangle of Central America. The conditions they are running away are horrendous. The trials and sacrifice they faced just in getting to the U.S. through Central America is just not discussed in America. Those that survive and arrive in the U.S. are then treated like animals. We have even heard about the rise of a Supreme Court case dealing with these conditions as possible human rights violations. What we don’t hear are any short term or long term solutions to this problem. That is simply a failure of leadership. There is nobody but the U.S. who can help solve these problems, and once again we are doing nothing.
Syrian Refugee crisis
We have also witnessed the continuation of the Syrian civil war and the resulting mass migration of Syrians with nowhere to go. I find it amazing that Europe is willing to take in the refugees, while the Arab world really isn’t. Sure millions are in Turkey, Lebanon, and surrounding countries but everybody recognizes that is temporary. That is surprising. Equally surprising is our country’s response. The president for once stepped up with a plan to take in more refugees, only to be met with the governors of 31 states saying that not one Syrian refugee will be allowed to cross their borders. The governors have no ability to prohibit refugees, but this sentiment is also prevalent in Congress. This is the largest refugee crisis since World War II, and our nation can’t even decide on whether to do the right thing and provide shelter to the victims of Islamic Terrorism. Create whatever process Congress is comfortable with to vet the refugees, but to simply say we are not accepting anyone because some might be hidden terrorists, is again un-American.
Is attention to immigration a good thing?
One of the best things we have seen this year however comes from everything that I have just mentioned, and that is attention. For the first time in years, we are paying attention to immigration issues. This will force some policy changes. Whether it will be positive changes remain to be seen. We have seen the Pope say that not only our nation, but also our world needs to do more about immigration. We have seen the President’s Executive Action on Deferred Action, the Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver, and the prioritization for deportation proceedings. However, these are band aids on an open pulsing wound. We need a comprehensive solution, not more cosmetic changes. I can’t say that this was a good year for immigration. I will be unable to say that until our nation’s capital develops a comprehensive immigration reform bill, and truly starts to look out for and protect one of the largest and fastest growing demographics in this country, the immigrant community.
My hope for 2016
So what do I hope to see in 2016? Well the first answer is obvious, anyone other than Donald Trump as president. He is a dangerous force. He is a product of the nationalistic and isolationist tendencies that are spreading throughout Europe. I thought we were better than that, but maybe we aren’t. We have some pretty bad candidates for President, but he truly tops the field. I would also like to see peace come to the Northern Triangle of Central America, mainly so that the families of those nations can live in their own homes rather than have to uproot and make a dangerous pilgrimage to a country where they will be rejected. The same is true for Syria. It has the roots for a larger regional or world war. We need to realize this is a religious war. They hate us (Christians and Jews) for many reasons, but few of them are for things we willing change. They also hate each other (Shia vs. Sunni). I don’t know that we can contain the chaos in the Middle East without affecting the rest of the world. I hope to see America’s treatment of those who come to this country illegally become more humane. While it is true of course that these people have violated the law, they deserve to be treated humanely. They need to be screened and their circumstances evaluated. If they qualify for relief in the U.S. they should be assisted in applying for it. For those that don’t qualify for relief in the U.S. need to be sent back in a humane manner. I want to see compassion. For too long now we have seen a world divided by skin color and ancestry. I hope that in 2016 we can focus more on what brings us together than what divides us. So regardless of who you are, or what race you are, or what religion you are, make this coming year the best you can. Learn to be more tolerant, learn to love the people around you. When we appreciate the differences between people rather than fear them, we will see true peace.