Today’s Sacramento Bee’s Forum section had three (at least) different op-eds on immigration. One was written by Pete Wilson, the Republican Governor, who supported California’s Proposition 187 in 1994. The proposition would have prohibited illegal aliens from receiving a range of public benefits, including attending public schools. Five years after it was passed, the proposition was ruled unconstitutional.
Wilson’s support, along with other Republicans, is commonly understood as the beginning of the end of the Republican Party in the state. In the almost 25 years since, California has become one of the bluest states in the nation and the Republican Party has dwindled to third party status — behind “Decline to State.”
As you can see from the linked article, Wilson believes the issue is how to strengthen and modernize legal immigration, while securing California’s borders. While he pays lip service to the reasons people come here illegally, he says nothing about how we should deal with Dreamers, and others who arrived here illegally and have been here for years contributing to America. He also says nothing about family separation, the wall, or some of Trump’s most extreme actions.
The second piece was written by John A. Perez. (Unfortunately, I can’t find it on the SacBee’s website to provide a link.) Perez’s history includes being a labor organizer, a Democrat elected official who rose to be Speaker of the State’s Assembly, and fealty to the liberal left. Perez’s piece is titled “How our Debased Immigration Politics Must Change.” While he bemoans the long history of American anti-immigration hysteria, he makes absolutely no reference to any need to stem the flow of immigrants to this country. He does not acknowledge at all the idea that a country cannot exist if it has open borders and uncontrolled immigration. Instead, Perez calls for action in November to elect officials “sane and human immigration policies” while offering absolutely no specifics about what he thinks those policies would be other than that Trump’s policies are inhumane.
The third piece was written by Sasha Abramsky and is titled “After Migrant Family Crisis, America Just Might Become America Again.” I have no idea who Abramsky is except that he started appearing in the Bee’s Forum section with regularity over the past couple of years. His pieces are all of the very liberal sort and the short bio on today’s piece identifies him as a professor at UC Davis, a nearby public university. Abramsky’s piece extols the virtues of those who protest what he calls Trump’s “gangster-state.”
As with Perez, Abramsky says nothing about reasonable limits on immigration, whether illegal immigration can be tolerated at all. In fact, he says virtually nothing specific about immigration policy and what he thinks it should be. Instead, protesters are “marching for decency, for morality, for empathy with the weak and solidarity with the detained.”
In participating in one of the protests, he felt like “This was America.”
Why am I sharing these three pieces with you? Because they define perfectly the problem that exists in our country today.
Republicans are unwilling to acknowledge and address the reality of immigrants already in our country and that we have to agree to a path forward for them. Republicans are also unwilling to deal credibly with the yearning immigrants continue to have to come to this nation of immigrants and which still is the promise so many seek.
Democrats refuse to acknowledge and address the simple reality that we cannot survive as a country as long as we have open borders and that there is some level of security we need at our borders. That people who arrive at the border and are not authorized crossed should be turned away. That people caught in our country illegally must be treated as individuals who violated the law.
No, instead, Republican “leaders’ speak to their base and refuse to budge towards a compromise allowing for Dreamers and a path to citizenship, while shouting for a wall. Democrat “leaders” scream just as loud in opposition to the wall while offering nothing in exchange. On both sides, immigration is a shining example of the divide in our country, the noise being generated to drive us further apart, and the absence of leadership on both sides that could produce a compromise. Why? They are addicted to the noise, they are addicted to all out ideological war, they are addicted to the idea of accepting nothing less than total victory.
And America, the real America which is defined by neither of the extremes, continues to suffer.