The Bannon-Sessions-Cotton immigration bill isn’t about the Canadian “points model”.

There are several commentaries (including at DKos) that defend the new immigration bill by favourably comparing it to the Canadian ”points system” for immigration which prioritises younger more educated workers and those with skills deemed to be in demand.

I agree there are advantages to a points system, for one, it takes a more holistic view of immigrants. For example, the Canadian system awards points for family, including siblings in Canada, under the assumption (largely correct) that such a support network helps new immigrants successfully navigate the economy and society.

But, lets not delude ourselves. The proponents of these bills don’t want to set up a “Canadian model”. They have only one goal, reducing immigration and removing as many potential immigrants as possible from the US.

Canada takes in 260k immigrants per year. Their population is 36 million. The US population is 323 million. We currently take in about 1 million people. If the Trump-Bannon-Sessions plan was meant to copy Canada’s system it would raise immigration to 2.33 million people per year. Instead, it drops immigration to 500k.

That shouldn’t be a surprise since this is an alt-right bill. Their objective is to address what they call the “demographic problem”.  They see a possible future where white people are a minority in the US as one to be avoided at all cost. That’s the driving force behind this bill. That is not the approach Canada has taken.

Here’s the alt-right explainer on Breitbart:

“Halting, or drastically slowing, immigration is a major priority for the alt-right… the movement is frightened by the prospect of demographic displacement represented by immigration…The alt-right’s intellectuals would also argue that culture is inseparable from race. The alt-right believe that some degree of separation between peoples is necessary for a culture to be preserved.” — Breitbart

Yes, Canada operates on a points system, which awards points for knowing English or French. It also awards points if you have close family in Canada, and if you have specific levels of education or skills. Of course, like all cherry-pickers, the alt-right socks want to discuss only the language requirement. Here’s the thing, Canada has official languages, two to keep both Anglophones and Francophones satisfied. We’ve never had an official language codified in law at the Federal level. At various points, the top two most common languages have fluctuated between various Native American languages, English, German, Spanish and French. If we want a Canadian model, we would define official languages, and Spanish would have to be a second official language since there are 42 million native Spanish speakers in the US. You can live a full and complete working life in parts of the US speaking only Spanish, just as you can speaking French alone in parts of Canada. But this bill’s language requirements  aren’t about economic or social realities facing immigrants, they’re driven by the alt-right’s fear of an America where English isn’t supreme.

We currently have 4.4 million people waiting for an immigrant visa. These are folks who would qualify for immigration under our current rules but don’t receive immigrant visas because we limit the number issued each year. Some have been waiting for over 15 years (wait times are especially acute for family-members from Mexico). Canada does have wait times, but they’re generally 2-4 years. If this bill was meant to copy the Canadian model, it would propose clearing those waiting lists by taking in a much larger number of immigrants (perhaps temporarily). Instead it shreds those lists by changing the rules and telling all those millions of people who’ve patiently waited that the alt-right is now in charge and they aren’t wanted anymore.

By the way, if you want to know how Canadian politicians eviscerated their far-right on immigration and built support for high levels of immigration, read this analysis.

Lastly, I want to address the rollout and Miller’s performance. It was interesting to see him denigrate the Statue of Liberty and Emma Lazarus’s poem as symbols of an America welcoming to immigrants. The alt-right knows that if they want to succeed at closing the doors to immigration, they will have to change American’s views of ourselves as a “nation of immigrants”. Lady Liberty and Emma Lazarus’s poem The Great Colossus are the most potent such symbols. That is why Miller gleefully launched his attack.

As we fight the policy, we should not forget the power of symbols, and we should protect the symbols that support our vision of the world.

 

Make America White Again*: The Bannon-Miller-Trump Presidency.

Stephen Miller (Santa Monica native, Duke grad and self-appointed defender of African-American workers) led a press conference on immigration today where he tried the standard Republican trick of playing the victim. You can watch the entire exchange at C-Span. Miller at one point said Jim Acosta was exhibiting cosmopolitan bias by quoting Emma Lazarus’s poem “Give me your tired your poor…” That should probably be transcribed as (((cosmopolitan))) bias, but same difference.

Miller was at the presser because the  administration is pushing a bill introduced byTom Cotton (R-AK) and David Perdue (R-GA) to reduce by 50%, the number of immigrant visas available each year. That’s legal immigration, cut in half. It was introduced a week after the Muslim ban, and was the first sign of this administration’s determination to attack all forms of immigration. Millions of people eligible to emigrate to the US already face 5 or 10 year waits (only if you’re brown/Asian) before they are allotted an immigrant visa. There are no such lengthy wait times for immigrants from European countries. This bill would stretch those waiting times even longer. The bill did not receive much attention initially, it was overshadowed by the spectacle of visitors with valid visas were turned back at our airports. Perhaps it will now.

Talking to Bannon on air in September 2015, Sessions, who has received awards from virulently anti-immigrant groups, described the present day as a dangerous period of “radical change” for America, comparing it to the decades of the early 20th century, when waves of immigrants flooded the country. He said that the 1924 immigration quota system, which barred most Asians and tightly capped the entry of Italians, Jews, Africans and Middle Easterners, “was good for America.” Bannon is also uncomfortable with the changing face of the country. “When two-thirds or three-quarters of the C.E.O.s in Silicon Valley are from South Asia or from Asia, I think — ” he said on the radio with Trump in November 2015, vastly exaggerating the actual numbers. “A country is more than an economy. We’re a civic society.” — NYTimes Magazine

The most anti-immigrant administration America has seen in at least 80 years occupies the White House today. This administration is offended by legal immigrants as much as it is by undocumented immigrants. Their initial directive to cancel the green cards of more than 250,000 Muslims was not an error or a misreading of the law. It was done deliberately and with the intent.

Bannon and Sessions have effectively presented the country’s changing demographics — the rising number of minority and foreign-born residents — as America’s chief internal threat. Sessions has long been an outlier in his party on this subject; in 2013, when his Republican colleagues were talking primarily about curbing illegal immigration, he offered a proposal to curb legal immigration. (It failed in committee, 17 to one.) — NY Times Magazine

At the center of the current Republican hatred for immigration is an age-old explanation, racism. The only immigrants this administration finds acceptable are those from Europe. Here is how Breitbart describes their aims:

“Halting, or drastically slowing, immigration is a major priority for the alt-right… the movement is frightened by the prospect of demographic displacement represented by immigration…The alt-right’s intellectuals would also argue that culture is inseparable from race. The alt-right believe that some degree of separation between peoples is necessary for a culture to be preserved.” — Breitbart

This is white-nationalism, and its adherents occupy the White House and Congress. In the Senate, Jeff Sessions has long been their champion. He now controls the federal legal apparatus. In the Senate, his voice has been replaced by Tom Cotton. The base that has cheered on the Trump/Bannon executive orders on Muslims and undocumented immigrants could not be any clearer about their desires. They want “separation between races” by halting immigration. Once that’s done, they would like to find a way to expel millions of legal immigrants from the US. Trump/Bannon/Session/Cotton have given them every signal that they intend to make their white nationalist dreams come true.

At least one witness said that the gunman, identified as Adam W. Purinton, 51, yelled “get out of my country” before opening fire […] several officials said at a news conference that they were looking into the possibility that the shooting was a hate crime.

— NY Times on Kansas shooting that left one Asian-Indian engineer dead.

White nationalism has a long history in the US. Brannon and Trump are the direct successors of political factions that kept overt racial quotas on immigrants in place for a hundred years. The 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act removed these quotas among the flurry of reforms prompted by the Civil Rights movement. That law is deeply resented by this administration. Trump’s executive order and Cotton’s bill are designed to test that law’s prohibition on discrimination by nationality.

“I have a question in my mind,” Sunayana Dumala said after her husband, an Indian engineer, was shot dead last week in a Kansas bar. “Do we belong?”

NYTimes

This administration’s animosity towards non-white Americans goes further than immigration. The attorney general, Jeff Sessions, dislikes the 14th amendment’s clause granting citizenship to every child born in the country. Aided by Sessions, the Bannon-Trump administration will attempt to undermine birthright citizenship and undermine this law which has been part of our constitution since the civil war, over 150 years ago. The 14th amendment was enacted to ensure that no state or executive could ever again deny the rights and privileges of citizenship to a child born in the United States. Trump and Sessions would like to undo this, and the administration is appointing people to various agencies to help him in his endeavor.

America’s successful grand strategy “did not come from nowhere: it followed from our deeper conception of ourselves and our American identity. Who are we Americans? What is our nation? We are not an ethno-state, with identity rooted in shared blood. The option of a White Man’s Republic ended at Appomattox.… Our nation is based on an idea — that all are created equal — that, when embraced, makes us Americans.” — Foreign Policy

Republican’s anti-immigrant policies require a political solution. Immigrants and those who value them will have to organize to repel the anti-immigrant policies of this administration.

We do have one hidden advantage. By 2018, 13 million green card holders in the USA will be eligible for citizenship. Many of them have lived here for decades without acquiring US citizenship. If they wish to stay, they should apply for citizenship and vote in 2018.

Lady Liberty needs our help if she is to keep her beacon aloft by the golden door.

 

100th Anniversary of the Silent Parade.

Silent Parade, New York City July 28, 1917

That large banner has the famous line from the American Declaration of Independence, followed by “If of African descent tear off this corner”. TomP had a diary last month on the 100th anniversary of the East St. Louis massacre that described the events and their causes in detail.

Today is the 100th anniversary of the Silent Parade in New York City, organized to protest that massacre which claimed the lives of 100-200, the vast majority of them black people. Google changed it’s doodle today to commemorate the protest. They are also highlighting a documentary project from the Equal Justice Initiative called Lynching in America which is supported by Google.

The NY Times reported on the protest with this:

NEGROES IN PROTEST MARCH IN FIFTH AV.; 8,000 Men, Women, and Children Demand That Discrimination and Oppression End.

Among the banners was one which immediately attracted the notice of the police. It displayed a picture of a negro woman kneeling before President Wilson and appealing to him to bring democracy to America before carrying it to Europe. The police declared the banner to be objectionable, and the committee in charge of the parade readily withdrew it.

— timesmachine.nytimes.com/… (July 29, 1917)

It’s remarkable that the protesters were asked to remove that banner, almost as if the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights didn’t apply to them.

Along with the 8,000 marchers, another 20,000 black people lined the streets to witness the “silent protest against acts of discrimination and oppression” inflicted upon them in this country and in other parts of the world (we had a diary on the silent parade last year). The parade featured dozens of banners, some of the more notable ones included:

  • “Make America Safe for Democracy”
  • “India is Abolishing Caste, America is Adopting It”
  • “Memphis and Waco — Centers of American Culture?”
  • “Your Hands are Full of Blood”
  • “Pray for the Lady Macbeths” (of East St. Louis)
  • “We are Maligned as Lazy, and Murdered When we Work”

The last banner was a reference to the origins of the East St. Louis race riot, the employment of black persons in East St. Louis factories. Sadly, labor union members participated in and led the massacre.

The Waco reference evoked the lynching of Jesse Washington, who was tortured and burned to death by a crowd of thousands. The Memphis reference was to the notorious Memphis race-riot/pogrom of 1866.100 years on, many of these protest signs remain relevant.

There are contemporaneous accounts suggesting the rapid growth of the city’s population left services (including law enforcement) understaffed and the municipality bankrupt. Echoing the prejudices of the day, the Times reported with little examination on an “epidemic of hold-ups and shootings by negro footpads in the months of April and May” as contributing factors in the riot/massacre. The same article notes that black people and immigrants (from the Balkans and Austria) competed for the “hard, dirty and unpleasant work which no white American would consent to do”. That should be a reminder that though we see ourselves as a “nation of immigrants”, many among us have expressed prejudice towards the most recent group of immigrants, no matter where they are from. Of course, in the background was World War I which the US had entered earlier that year. Many residents of East St. Louis were drafted into the US army, and many newly arrived immigrants returned to their country of origin to enlist or serve.

The massacre was eventually halted by the arrival of the national guard. A mob of 500 was surrounded by the national guard and arrested, quelling most of the arson and killing. While it had raged, young boys and women had joined in to beat or shoot at unarmed black men and women.

The NYC protest’s organizers asked NAACP branches to help prepare signs, some of the “mottos” they distributed are above, others included:

  • “Taxation Without Representation is Tyranny”
  • America has lynched without trial 2,867 Negroes in 21 years and not a single murderer has suffered.
  • 200,00 Black men fought for your liberty in the Civil War
  • The first blood for American Independence was shed by a Negro — Crispus Attucks
  • We have fought for the liberty of white Americans in six wars; our reward is East St. Louis
  • We are excluded from the unions and condemned for not joining them.
  • Repelled by the unions we are condemned as scabs.
  • Our music is the only American music.
  • Race prejudice is the offspring of ignorance and the mother of lynching.
  • If fault is to be found with color, blame God and yourselves.
  • Mothers, do lynchers go to heaven?
  • We have 60,000 iron and steel workers.
  • Patriotism and loyalty presuppose protection and liberty.

The role of organized labor in the massacre is worth examining because it is a window into a dynamic that would play out over several decades as unions desegregated. The NY Times interviewed the local Congressman, Rep. William A. Rodenberg who noted that tensions had been brewing for some time, and a smaller riot five weeks prior had led to the deaths of six black and three white persons. He had this to say about the

“Several months ago there were strikes for shorter hours and higher wages at the packing houses and in the aluminum works. All these demands of the labor men were granted. Then the packing houses and the American Aluminum Company declared for open shops, and there was another strike based on the demand that the employers recognize the unions. This was not granted, so the workmen stayed out. Thereupon the companies concerned filled their plants with black labor. The white strikers declare that the companies sent agents all through the south to induce the blacks to come to the town. The employers deny this, and say that East St. Louis already had a plentiful supply of black labor when the whites went on strike and that the negroes were put to work because they were the only labor available to keep the plants going. As to the truth of the matter, I do not know.”

— timesmachine.nytimes.com/… (July 8, 1917)

The entire interview from the Times archives makes for an interesting read since it reveals both bias and clarity on the part of the Congressman. For example, this statement:

“Of course, the negroes were not members of the labor unions. I don’t know that they could have got in if they had tried; but it is a notorious fact that black laborers are not capable of being successfully unionized. They don’t understand why they should pay dues.”

timesmachine.nytimes.com/… (July 8, 1917)

Rodenberg knows that the unions, much like most other American institutions, were biased against black persons. But in the next breath, he indulges in some straightforward prejudice.

The events of 1917 do have relevance for us today. They illustrate the many ways in which workers and ordinary people can be divided. The organizers of the Silent Parade distributed a pamphlet with logistical information on the protest march. The National Humanities Center has a PDF of the pamphlet, which included a statement of objectives written by the organizers:

Why Do We March?

We march because by the Grace of God and the force of truth, the dangerous, hampering walls of prejudice and inhuman injustices must fall.

We march because we want to make impossible a repetition of Waco, Memphis and East St. Louis, by rousing the conscience of the country and bring the murderers of our brothers, sisters and innocent children to justice.

We march because we deem it a crime to be silent in the face of such barbaric acts.

We march because we are thoroughly opposed to Jim-crow Cars etc., Segregation, Discrimination, Disenfranchisement, LYNCHING and the host of evils that are forced on us. It is time that the Spirit of Christ should be manifested in the making and execution of laws.

We march because we want our children to live in a better land and enjoy fairer conditions than have fallen to our lot.

We march in memory of our butchered dead, thee massacre of the honest toilers who were removing the reproach of laziness and thriftlessness hurled at the entire race. The died to prove our worthiness to live. We live in spite of death shadowing us and ours. We prosper in the face of the most unwarranted and illegal oppression.

We march because the growing consciousness and solidarity of race coupled with sorrow and discrimination have made us one: a union that may never be dissolved in spite of shallow-brained agitators, scheming pundits and political tricksters who secure a fleeting popularity and uncertain financial support by promoting the disunion of a people who ought to consider themselves as one.

You could take that last paragraph and run it verbatim in an article analyzing Trump’s speeches about immigrants or Chicago. Once again, we are plagued by “shallow-brained agitators, scheming pundits and political tricksters” who seek “fleeting popularity” and “financial support” by promoting “disunion”. Once again, we confront the specter of demagogues who seek to further their political careers by pitting us against one another.

 

Trump’s publisher and alt-right funder wants to create a whites-only USA by ethnic cleansing.

By now, most of us are well aware of how the Koch brothers have run a multi-decade effort to fund right-wing economic orthodoxy by financing think-tanks, journalists, periodicals, colleges and professors. There’s often an element of racism at these institutions, but they aren’t explicitly focused on race. That’s an implicit acknowledgement that the broader US post civil rights-era integration has a limited appetite for outright racism.

It turns out there’s a counterpart to the Kochs, who has funded white supremacist organizations and rabble-rousers for decades.

He Spent Almost 20 Years Funding The Racist Right. It Finally Paid Off.

How did explicit racism move from a taboo to an open, unabashed force in American politics? A loose but sprawling internet army, often called the alt-right, gave white supremacy a massive megaphone. And with the rise of Donald Trump’s candidacy, it suddenly seemed to be everywhere at once.

In fact, that movement had an infrastructure — organizations, journals, conferences, money — that had been laid down years before. It was in large part funded by one person: a secretive and aging multimillionaire named William H. Regnery II, the most influential racist you’ve never heard of.

—  www.buzzfeed.com/…

Regnery’s family have been arch-reactionaries for generations. His uncle Henry Regnery  created Regnery Publishing, which published William F. Buckley Jr.’s first book. More recently, it’s been the home to far-right and white supremacist voices like Ann Coulter, Sarah Palin, and Robert Spencer. Regnery also helped create Washington Summit Publishers, which publishes white supremacists like Kevin MacDonald. Bill Regnery’s cousin Alfred, who ran Regnery Publishing, was the publisher of The American Spectator for a decade.

And yes, Regnery Publishing(under new ownership, though Alfred remains on the board) also published Donald Trump’s 2015 book “Time To Get Tough”:

regneryauthors_1_.jpg

More below the break…

Continue reading “Trump’s publisher and alt-right funder wants to create a whites-only USA by ethnic cleansing.”

Yes, Neil Gorsuch is as terrible as you feared.

The Supreme Court announced today that they would hear Trump v. International Refugee Assistance Project. This is the Muslim ban, Travel ban case.

In it’s decision to hear the case, the court also lifted the temporary injunctions granted by the circuit courts against Trump’s Muslim ban:

We grant the Government’s applications to stay the injunctions, to the extent the injunctions prevent enforcement of §2(c) with respect to foreign nationals who lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.

This means students, employees, spouses, parents, children etc. returning to the US should not be affected by the ban. But, those who do not have such a pre-existing relationship, can now be summarily prevented from entering the US by Trump’s order.

In practice, this likely means first-time visa applicants from the six countries will be rejected right away, and first time visitors turned away at the border (even if they have valid visas).

Refugees will almost certainly be turned away, since most won’t have a pre-existing relationship that would exempt them from the ban.

Hold on though, there’s a dissent…

JUSTICE THOMAS, with whom JUSTICE ALITO and JUSTICE GORSUCH join, concurring in part and dissenting in part.

“I agree with the Court that the preliminary injunctions entered in these cases should be stayed, although I would stay them in full…”

These three justices want the Muslim/Travel ban to go into effect exactly as Trump wants.

So yeah, Gorsuch is on the Alito/Thomas team.

He’s as dreadful as we feared he would be.

Kushner family touting Trump ties while selling green cards to foreign investors for $500k.

The EB-5 program allows investors to, in effect, buy a green card if they invest 1 million (or $500k in certain areas). The investment has to create or preserve a certain number of jobs in the US. Real-Estate developers have been using this program to offer investors apartments/equity with green cards attached for years. Trump himself has marketed properties and raised capital by wooing foreign investors with the same promise of a green card.

This week, Jared Kushner’s sister was in China, touting her family’s ties to the White House as she marketed there family’s development in Jersey City, NJ. The slides had a picture of Donald Trump on them, suggesting Jared’s father-in-law could expedite their visas.

 

Mr. Trump’s political power was palpable at the Shanghai event even if his name went unsaid. As on Saturday in Beijing, one slide that was presented to the Shanghai audience, describing who will decide the future of the visa program for foreign investors, included a photograph of Mr. Trump, as shown by a snapshot taken by an audience member. — NY Times

The Washington Post researcher for the story on the ground was threatened and harassed.

Journalists barred from China event pitching investment in Kushner project — The Hill

Jared Kushner still retains his interest in the family real-estate business, though he has resigned from his executive positions. The New Yorker called it his Trumpian “divestment” strategy.

Over several hours of slide shows and presentations, representatives from the Kushner family business urged Chinese citizens gathered at a Ritz-Carlton hotel to consider investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in a New Jersey luxury apartment complex that would help them secure what’s known as an investor visa. […]

The tagline on a brochure for the event: “Invest $500,000 and immigrate to the United States.”

And the highlight of the afternoon was Meyer, a principal for the company, who was introduced in promotional materials as Jared’s sister.

— WaPo

PS. This is a piece about the Kushner family trying to leverage their ties to the White House in their business. This isn’t about the EB-5 visa per se, though there are legitimate questions as to whether its use by real-estate developers to raise cheap capital is in keeping with the spirit of the program. There are numerous comments exploring the drawbacks of the program. Pres. Obama, Sen. Leahy and Sen. Feinstein have all been somewhat skeptical of the creative uses real-estate developers have put the program to. This PBS piece is a good place to start if you want to know more about gerrymandering and lobbying by developers to qualify for the lower 500k investment threshold.