March 18, 2017
By: Kevin Solis
President Donald Trump met with German Chancellor Merkel, and during a joint press conference he once again opened up his remarks on immigration by citing negative imagery with his three favorite words, “Radical. Islamic. Terrorism.” Words he always pronounces slowly, taking great pause between them to emphasize “Islamic” and “Terrorism” so that you know they are separate but linked in a common theme to remind you, you are in a war with a religion. That, or he is just delighted with the fact these are the words with the most syllables within his lexicon. (Lexicon – The vocabulary of a person, or branch of knowledge. In case Trump is reading.)
He says the protection of U.S. citizens must come first when looking at immigration. Supposedly to protect us from some foreigners fleeing a war torn area of the world. Yet most acts of terrorism committed upon U.S. citizens have come at the hands of Radical. Christian. Terrorism. The latest so shocking it caused South Carolina to remove the Confederate flag from their statehouse. But these victims of radical Christian terrorism only count if you consider blacks to be U.S. citizens.
He says that immigration is a privilege and not a right. But, I would remind Trump that migration IS a right. Whether a person is seeking residence in an adoptive country, to work, or reunite with family as an immigrant; or whether that person is forced to flee their country to escape war, or religious or political persecution as a refugee, both retain the right to emigrate. Further, that since the United States has created the very economic and war conditions around the world that causes migration the United States has a special obligation to receive these immigrants that is closer to “rights” than it is to “privileges.” Something that much of Europe agrees with. In this light Trump both praised Germany’s involvement as a counter-ISIS coalition member but criticized their welcoming of Syrian refugees as “catastrophic” saying “And nobody even knows where they come from” Uh, Donald? They come from Syria.
It is no accident that Trump is refusing to call war immigrants, “refugees”. As was explained to him in an earlier call between he and Chancellor Merkel, the U.S. is a signatory to the U.N. Refugee Convention that requires the international community to take in refugees on humanitarian grounds. So, if they remain “immigrants”, America doesn’t have to act. And doing nothing, or the bare minimum (and suing if you have to even do that) is a hallmark of Donald J. Trump.
It’s the phrase, “integration” that is missing from America’s immigration dialog. That there are two parts of migration; immigration and integration.
And at the press conference Merkel had to education Trump on another matter, “Migration, immigration, integration has to be worked on, traffickers have to be stopped, this has to be done by looking at the refugees also.” It’s the phrase, “integration” that is missing from America’s immigration dialog. That there are two parts of migration; immigration and integration. To assimilate those who come into our country into the American culture. Something we’ve done for generations. Something that happens even without our trying. That the children, and grandchildren of immigrants grow up to be Americans. We need to put as much effort into integration as much as we talk about immigration.
But, the most important statement of the press conference is one that none of the media is talking about, the one that puts all of Trump’s comments and decisions into context. It is this; “we are a very powerful COMPANY, eh, country….” And this is not the first time he has slipped and said “company” when he meant “country”. Because if you think of America as a company and not as a home you then look at all your citizens as employees rather than brothers and sisters. You look at your people as either working productively or needing to “be fired”. You see an influx of immigrants as job applicants rather than refugees fleeing poverty and war. And, you see yourself as a boss rather than a guardian, a boss who talks about privileges over rights. Merits over family. Earned rights over inalienable rights. In short, you sound like the current President, confusing and conflating every subject on immigration and the economy. People are either employees or enemies, there is no middle ground.