In our current political atmosphere, it seems more important to point a finger at whose fault it is than it is to fix the United State’s immigration issue. Often during the blaming process, all parties lose sight of the problem or the goal. This is where a mediator or third party would come in to help everyone get back on track.
In the past, the media has served as the third party. In the modern era, President Donald Trump has sowed seeds of distrust in our media and news sources, especially those that don’t agree with him.
If we water down the issue of immigration, we could say the issue is between Republicans, Democrats and people trying to cross the border.
On the Republican side, namely Trump and his advisors, the issue is that the Democrats have created sloppy and unfair policy, and to amend the issue is the fault of the Democrats.
Democrats reflect the blame on Republicans, for almost exactly the same issue – plus a border wall. The fact of the matter is that it is both of their faults. No one is innocent when it is the policies of both sides which have created this divide, and the difficulty which currently exists to immigrate into this country.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions exemplifies this in on the particular statement: “If you cross this border unlawfully, then we will prosecute you. It’s that simple. If you smuggle illegal aliens across our border, then we will prosecute you. If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you and that child will be separated from you as required by law.”
Labeling people as “aliens” dehumanizes them, so that persecution of them is much easier. Calling them illegal immigrants brings a similar thought to people’s minds. They are regarded as almost being subhuman, a class which states that they don’t deserve rights or fair treatment. What Sessions said was a clear case of victim-blaming.
We can’t paint a wide brush on everyone trying to come to the U.S. and say that they are all trying to escape persecution from their government, crime lords, etc. We don’t know if they are all criminals. We don’t know if they are just coming to try to have a better life. What we do know is that these people are trying to come here regardless of the anti-immigration sentiment in our country and despite our oppressive immigration system.
The zero tolerance policy means that every person who tries to cross the border will be charged with a federal misdemeanor. Prosecution is the main goal, thus anyone crossing is a criminal. This is supposed to serve as a deterrent to other people trying to cross illegally, but in practice, it is becoming more of a violation of basic human rights. Before this zero-tolerance policy, people trying to cross were given court orders. Now they get placed in tent cities, not unlike the Japanese internment camps from the 1940’s.
The public outrage about children being separated from their families and being put into cages was met with Trump’s self-proclaimed “brave” executive order on June 20th that lets families be detained together indefinitely. This doesn’t fix the underlying issue- the fact that we are putting people in cages and in detention at all. And this isn’t happening to immigrants from predominantly white countries. This is a race issue just as much as it is a policy issue.
I think that it is important to note that what is going on is nothing new. And that the proceedings at our border could be done in a more humane and ethical way. What is important here is to stop finger pointing and get to the issue. We can add it to the laundry list of things that Trump has done wrong but at the end of the day, it won’t end his presidency.
I’d like to see Democrats not trying to use this as a way to gain political brownie points. I want to see a genuine concern. We should all hold true to our values and remember what kind of place we want America to be.