Showing posts with label immigration. Show all posts
Showing posts with label immigration. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 31, 2017


Dozens of demonstrators converged on New Orleans City Hall on Monday for a second day of demonstrations against President Donald Trump's far-reaching executive order halting the admission of new refugees from war-torn Syria and suspending immigration from several other Muslim-majority countries.

The rally, the second in two days, came as some local religious leaders, including Catholic Archbishop Gregory Aymond, expressed outrage at the president's directive, condemning it as antithetical to humanitarian and American principles.

U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans, called the order "immoral," while City Councilman Jason Williams described it as "unconstitutional."    

"President Trump's discriminatory travel ban will make our country less safe because it will further alienate us from Muslim allies in the fight against terrorism and extremism," Mayor Mitch Landrieu said in a statement.

"New Orleans will remain a welcoming city because we know that our diversity is a strength," he said. "We also know all too well what it feels like to seek shelter and refuge in a place that is not your home."
I'm proud of the people in New Orleans who are out there on the barricades, and I'm grateful to the Democratic political leaders and to Archbishop Aymond for speaking out against the despicable executive order.

And then our brave Sen. John Neely Kennedy (R-LA) weighs in:
Sen. John Kennedy said the United States has the "right to control its border," adding that it would be "stupid to let people who want to hurt us into our country."

"We are a nation of immigrants, but we are also a nation of laws," Kennedy said. "I support the following rule: If you want to come to America, you have to be rigorously vetted to make sure you are not a terrorist, regardless of your religion or country of origin."
Perhaps Kennedy does not know the US already has the most rigorous vetting process for refugees in the entire world.

Does the senator believe that translators and intelligence agents from countries in the Middle East who put their lives and the lives of their families at risk to support the members of our military stationed in those countries are "people who want to hurt us"?  Does Kennedy approve of putting our troops the Middle East at greater risk, because people in those countries will no longer be willing to help our military fight ISIS?  Does he approve of putting our country at greater risk by providing ISIS with an excellent recruiting tool to say, "Look! The United States hates all Muslims."

Does Kennedy think citizens with dual citizenship in the US and another country should be barred from reentering the country if they travel outside our borders?  Does he think people who have green cards for permanent residence in the US should be barred?  Students from countries in the Middle East who went to their native countries for a visit?  So many questions, but no answers.

Ever since Trump signed the executive order, I've been calling Kennedy's office, along with the office of Sen. Bill Cassidy to express my opinion, but I can't get through.  Either the line is busy, or I receive a message that the voice mailbox is full.  I spoke to a person in Rep. Garrett Graves office, but I could not get answers to my specific questions, only a vague statement that he supports the order, because he wants to keep us safe, which, of course, the executive order does not do.

There's no point in writing my GOP members of Congress, because they use my letter as an excuse to respond with a spiel about the great things they are doing.  Invariably, their responses have nothing to do with the subject of my message.

I may not be able to reach my GOP senators, but it's good therapy for me to put the questions in writing, outside of myself.

Monday, January 30, 2017


Military veterans were dumbfounded and furious when it became clear over the weekend that President Donald Trump’s executive order barring the admission into the United States of people from seven majority-Muslim countries keeps out interpreters who’d risked their lives helping U.S. forces in Iraq.

“They better make a damn exception, because we are here because of them,” said Andrew Biggio, a former Marine sergeant who was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. “Our lives, our families, we have everything to thank for our interpreters. We owe them, we owe them, we owe them.”

Biggio, who voted for Trump, said he and other Marines he served with are waiting for a clarification from the White House. Many of them personally pushed for years to obtain visas for their interpreters and then raised funds to help them settle in.
Andrew Biggio, why are you surprised at the executive order? Good for you that you're speaking up now about what you know is wrong and cruel. My only surprise is that the Bannon/Trump administration is moving so swiftly with a number of executive orders that are signed without the normal vetting process.

It's understandable that a new president will want to change policies, but the ban on immigrants from seven countries with Muslim majorities, and the attempt by the administration to link Obama to the executive order is despicable.  Man up, and take responsibility for your own actions, Mr Bannon and President Trump.  Refugees coming to the US are already subject to the most rigorous vetting in the entire world.
Veterans said that honoring the implicit promise made to those who risked their lives to help the United States has nothing to do with politics, and that they can’t believe it would be up for debate.

“You will find military veterans unified in support of this; it’s not partisan,” said Brandon Friedman, a former Obama administration official who commanded a platoon during the invasion of Iraq. “This order demonstrates that we don’t have their backs. It’s totally un-American.”  
Who is vetting the Bannon/Trump administration's executive orders?  Apparently, no one who knows anything about the process is included.
Veteran officials who normally would have reviewed the order’s language to ensure smooth implementation and avoid potential litigation have been cut out of the typical process by the Trump administration — or simply overruled, current and former officials told FP [Foreign Policy].
As one of my friends asked, is the administration trying to incite ISIS to attack the United States? The executive order is probably unconstitutional, and it will not make the people in the country safer.  It will increase the danger of a terrorist attack, and, worst of all, US members of the military serving in the Middle East will be put at risk.  To ask troops to put their lives on the line, even as the presidential order puts their lives at greater risk is abominable.
President Donald Trump is getting blasted for reorganizing the National Security Council to oust the director of intelligence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff [James Mattis] from always attending the Principals Committee -- and installing one of his top political advisers on the key panel.
Trump's order makes his chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, a regular member of the Principals Committee. The committee is a Cabinet-level group of agencies that deal with national security that was established by President George H. W. Bush in 1989.
Does anyone on Trump's team know what they're doing?  What's going on in the White House?  What is Vice-President Pence doing?  Standing like a potted plant to watch Trump sign executive orders?

Is Bannon/Trump in the middle of an attempted coup to govern by fiat, with no regard for the other two branches of government?  Where is the leadership from the GOP?  Democratic Senators are expected to introduce legislation as early as Monday that aims to overturn President Trump's executive orders on immigration.  Democrats will need cooperation from Republicans to pass a bill to put an end to the madness of the executive order through legislation.  And Trump will have to sign the legislation into law.  What are the chances for an override of a Trump veto?  Probably zero, but Democrats must go on record loudly and proudly in opposing the ban.

Friday, April 20, 2012


From Episcopal News Service:
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori recently spent three days on the U.S.-Mexico border between Arizona and Sonora engaged in educational and faith-based activities organized by the Diocese of Arizona and aimed at giving positive attention to the borderlands, upholding unity between the two countries, remembering the victims of the immigration crisis in the United States and Mexico, and raising consciousness and action toward immigration reform and economic development. Jefferts Schori offered the following words before a border crossing in Naco on April 14.  
Bishop Katharine speaks of humans as wanderers from the beginning.  The history of our faith life begins with the wanderings of Adam and Eve.  On throughout the Hebrew Testament the story of the Israelites is that of travelers from place to place.  Jesus was not born in the home town of Mary and Joseph, because they were traveling on account of a census ordered by Caesar Augustus, and then his parents were abruptly ordered to Egypt by an angel to escape the predations of King Herod.  Jesus himself was an itinerant, wandering from one town to another to preach the Good News.
God is not much interested in borders except as our flimsy excuses – to be crossed, bridged, and transcended. What is the greatest word in our story? The central word, according to Jesus, is “love God with all your heart and mind and soul and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.” Love is what gets past the fence. Love is what gets us past the fence.

The overwhelming witness of the scripture is about loving God and neighbor, particularly the neighbors who have no family member or tribal structure to look after them. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is the god of aliens and migrants. We hear over and over that “the Lord your God is the one who executes justice for the orphan and widow, and who loves the stranger, providing them food and clothing.”  When the Israelites take up their harvest, they are charged to leave some “for the alien, the orphan and widow, so that the Lord shall bless your undertakings…. Remember that you were a slave [and an alien] in Egypt.” (6) It gets even more explicit, “‘Cursed be anyone who deprives the alien, the orphan, and the widow of justice.’ Let all the people say, ‘Amen!’”

The prophets continue the litany, ‘care for the widow and orphan, and the stranger or alien in your midst, for you were strangers in Egypt.’ Those who seek God’s blessing will not find it unless they remember the alien and the sojourner, the migrant who needs justice.
Right and true words, indeed.  Borders are artificial constructs by which the powers attempt to order the lives of people, often for the named purposes of safety and security.

H/T to Andrew Gerns at The Lead.