Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Irritation Men

Donald Trump's new immigration proposal - backed by a bill from two Republican senators from, you guessed it, the South - is carefully constructed to appear like it helps our economy but is designed in fact to delay or prevent the day that non-Hispanic whites become less than 50 percent of the population in These States.  It would only allow nuclear family units and not extended family members to come here, and they would have to be highly educated and be able to speak the American language.  Well, I'm certain that they would be highly educated, if they can speak Cherokee.   
Ha ha!  I mean English, of course.  This bill would obviously be partial to English-speaking immigrants, meaning it would be partial to countries like Great Britain, Ireland and Australia, where English is widely spoken, but the education requirement would keep out folks from Third World English-speaking countries such as Jamaica and Nigeria - from which people come to study in the U.S. because higher-education opportunities back home, shall we say, leave a good deal to be desired.  And families couldn't be reunited, although bringing families together has been the cornerstone of American immigration policy since 1965.
If these restrictions had existed in the early 1920s, just before the racist 1924 Immigration Act restricting immigration to those northern Europe was passed, my Italian maternal grandfather wouldn't have been able to come here.   
Trump and his nationalist adviser Stephen Miller defended the proposal, and Miller was very irritable and irritating with reporters who found the bill exclusionary, defending it as a bill that would be economically advantageous, not racially disparaging.  He insisted that the bill would benefit the economy for all Americans, and he even said he was insulted by the suggestioin that it would keep out people from non-English-speaking countries because such a suggestion assumes that people from such places can't speak English.
By the way, "Miller" is a nice Anglo-Saxon name.  It's also a nice German name (most immigrants in the mid-nineteenth century were German and spoke the language even after they became assimilated).   It's also a nice Jewish name . . . and Stephen Miller just happens to be Jewish.  Eastern European Jewish, to be exact; his own great-grandfather came from Belarus, where English is not widely spoken.
By the way, Donald Trump's own paternal grandfather - who changed the family name from Drumpf - could not have gotten into this country from Germany under such restrictions.  And non-English-speakers from non-English-speaking countries are more common than Miller thinks; did he ever notice that Germany's own chancellor doesn't speak the language of Shakespeare?
The irritating Tom Cotton, the  Republican U.S. Senator from Arkansas who is co-sponsoring this immigration bill with Senator David Perdue, a Republican from Georgia, ironically divulged the true intention of the bill in defending it on economic grounds.  Cotton said that allowing only highly skilled immigrants would protect unskilled American workers from foreign-born competition from low-wage jobs.  Well, if you really wanted to help the economy, why not provide more skill training  opportunities and increase wages for lower-paying jobs through minimum-wage laws?  Because improving the lot of workers is the last thing Republicans (and many centrist Democrats) want to do.
So much for the tired, the poor, and the huddled masses yearning to breathe free.  That line came from Emma Lazarus, of course - she was of German-Portuguese Jewish ancestry. 
The bill has no chance of passage, as most Senate Democrats and many Senate Republicans oppose it.  But that's not the only reason it will fail.  Trump may not be in a position to promote it for much longer; special counsel Robert Mueller, who has been irritating the White House, has expanded his investigation into Trump's business dealings, and he has called a grand jury as part of his investigations.
By the way, "Mueller" is a nice German name . . . ;-)

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