Loading...
Bless his heart, he had sworn off commenting on the online articles. Wish he stop commenting and keep the negativity to...

Comments illustrate division on immigration issue

The haters are still wrong

Steve and Cokie Roberts

Cokie and Steve Roberts

Loading…

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

John Kelly, the White House chief of staff, recently told NPR that undocumented immigrants are "not people that would easily assimilate into the United States, into our modern society. They're overwhelmingly rural people. In the countries they come from, fourth-, fifth-, sixth-grade educations are kind of the norm. They don't speak English; obviously that's a big thing ... They don't integrate well; they don't have skills."

Kelly is repeating the same nativist nonsense that was hurled at his own Irish and Italian ancestors generations ago. They were told they could not integrate into America, that they lacked the skills and intelligence to contribute to their adopted country — and especially to Kelly's home city of Boston. Catholicism was actually illegal in Massachusetts until 1780, and a convent was burned to the ground there in 1834.

The haters were wrong about Kelly's forebears, and Kelly is wrong about the latest wave of newcomers. If anything, immigrants are more productive than native-born Americans, according to virtually every economist who has ever studied the topic.

One example: The Council of Economic Advisors under President Bush 43 concluded, "Our review of economic research finds immigrants not only help fuel the nation's economic growth, but also have an overall positive effect on the income of native-born workers."

Kelly's statement reflects a monumental ignorance of both economics and history, but he is only channeling the woefully warped mindset of President Trump, whose mother was born in Scotland and who has married two women from Eastern Europe. Like his chief of staff, the president embraces anti-immigrant attitudes rooted in fabrication, not fact; emotion, not evidence.

Trump doesn't care about facts, because his real motivation is pure political opportunism: fanning the fears of supporters who yearn for a more white, less diverse country with fewer neighbors from what Trump famously called "s---hole countries."

When John Feeley, Trump's ambassador to Panama, quit in disgust, he wrote in the Washington Post: "I am convinced that the president's policies regarding migration are not only foolish and delusional but also anti-American." He is right, but Trump's anti-immigrant crusade has only gotten more determined and more dangerous. Here are four examples:

■ Abandoning Dreamers. A recent Harvard-Harris survey found that 76 percent of voters say that Dreamers, about 700,000 undocumented young people brought here as children, should be granted a path to citizenship. But Trump has torpedoed every attempt at a legislative compromise and no permanent solution is possible without his assent.

■ Encouraging family separation. On the day that Melania Trump introduced a program to help children, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a "zero-tolerance" policy for anyone caught trying to enter the country illegally. That means parents who are arrested at the border and sent to prison would be separated from their children, who are barred by law from incarceration.

The New York Times reports that at least 700 youngsters have been taken from adults claiming to be their parents since October. Michelle Brane of the Women's Refugee Commission told the Times: "The idea of punishing parents who are trying to save their children's lives ... is fundamentally cruel and un-American."

■ Ending protected status. About 300,000 immigrants who fled natural disasters and civil strife in Haiti, Honduras and El Salvador enjoy Temporary Protected Status under a program enacted in 1990 that allows them to stay in the U.S. Trump has canceled the program and ordered the migrants expelled, even though many of them have planted deep roots here and produced an estimated 273,000 American-born children.

The president rejected the advice of senior diplomats who encouraged him to keep the program because, as the Washington Post reports, "Money sent home by Central Americans and Haitians living in the United States is an engine for job creation that reduces the pressure to go abroad."

■ Deporting workers. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency has stepped up raids on businesses that hire undocumented workers, making about 1,200 arrests since Oct. 1, which is up from about 300 during the previous fiscal year. This comes at a moment when the agricultural sector is plagued by a severe labor shortage. The Wall Street Journal documented the crisis in the crab industry on Maryland's eastern shore and quoted a local fisherman, Burl Lewis: "It trickles all the way down the line. The Mexican labor creates jobs for Americans. It's creating my job."

President Trump, with John Kelly's backing, is following an immigration policy that is not just "foolish and delusional (and) anti-American." It also directly undermines the country's economic future.

Steve and Cokie Roberts are journalists, writers and political commentators.

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Op Ed

August 17, 2018

In the 1981 sci-fi novel "True Names," Vernor Vinge describes a dystopian future in which hackers go to great lengths to keep their real-world identities secret for fear that the U.S. government might enslave or assassinate them. Almost four decades years later, it's not lives that are at risk, but…

Elaine Ou

August 17, 2018

The Fayetteville Observer

It was a group that would have a hard time agreeing on where to eat lunch, or even on a good color for wallpaper. They certainly aren’t of one mind about politics.

But there they were Monday, all five living former governors of North Carolina, two Republicans and…

August 17, 2018

It's hard to take Omarosa Manigault Newman's word for anything. But Lordy she has tapes, and they offer vivid proof that Donald Trump's White House is part clown show, part nest of vipers.

Omarosa achieved single-name fame as a contestant on Trump's show "The Apprentice," where she performed with…

Eugene Robinson

August 16, 2018

The Washington Post.

When White House counsel Donald McGahn asked White House staff to sign nondisclosure agreements, he reportedly assured them that, though President Donald Trump insisted on them, they were unenforceable. Yet on Tuesday, Trump's campaign filed an arbitration action against former…

August 16, 2018

It was the teenage girls of Trundle who opened up the hearts of Sydney. Their school principal was on the radio last week describing Australia's devastating drought and the impact it was having on students in this small rural town in the state of New South Wales. Among his examples: Some farms no…

Richard Glover

August 16, 2018

In Washington in the 1990s, it was a sure bet that whenever conservative journalists and activists got together, the conversation turned to the Clintons, Kenneth Starr and the Whitewater investigation. There was a good bit of what one editor memorably called "hush-hush and heavy breathing" when…

Byron York.jpg

August 15, 2018

The Washington Post

It was a gratifying reaffirmation of American values when thousands of protesters turned out Sunday to denounce the few dozen white-nationalist bigots who rallied across from the White House on the anniversary of last year's mayhem in Charlottesville, Virginia. It was also, from…

August 15, 2018

The Situation Room "is the inner sanctum within an already-secure facility where the most sensitive of the most sensitive information is discussed," Ned Price, former spokesman for the National Security Council said.

Precisely.

In responding to a question from The Washington Post, Price put his…

jim hoagland

August 14, 2018

Have you seen the Nature Valley (the granola bar people) ad out of Canada? It has been making the social-media rounds lately, because it seems to capture something that is well within our power to fix. It portrays different generations of families talking about their childhoods. Scripted or not,…

kathrynlopez

August 14, 2018

If you haven't been to the DMV lately, prepare to be unpleasantly surprised. Everyone's favorite state agency has upped its game and now offers an even more hellish experience.

I'm currently writing this column while sitting cross-legged on the floor at a DMV office. State leaders have been urging…

Colin Campbell
284 stories in Op Ed. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 29
        Next Page»   Last Page»