Blue Column: Breaking the American Spirit
By: Craig Kline
Trump’s Four Pillars
First Pillar: Path to citizenship for 1.8 million undocumented immigrants brought to the US by parents.
Second Pillar: Fully-secured border, building border wall on Southern border.
Third Pillar: End visa lottery, move to a merit-based immigration system.
Fourth Pillar: End “chain migration,” limiting sponsorships to spouses and minor children.
Dr. Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa is a world-renown brain surgeon at John Hopkins University. In 1988, he jumped a border fence in San Diego, California. He spent years working on farms, working his way up to driving a tractor. He attended community college, then the University of California at Berkeley, went on to Harvard University, and then to John Hopkins to practice. He became an American citizen in 1997, nine years after he arrived illegally.
Immigration has been a critical part to America’s success. All throughout American history, people have arrived on America’s borders without documentation and against the wishes of some in the nativist population. Italians and Irish who arrived through Ellis Island are often said to have arrived in “the proper” manner. In the 19th Century, new immigration laws arose as REACTIONS to the incoming waves. Chinese exclusion laws emerged as a reaction to the newly-arriving Chinese Immigrants. Moral Turpitude Laws in states like Massachusetts arose as a reaction to the waves of Irish and German Catholics coming into the country. The push for immigration reform during the Reagan, Bush, and Obama administrations came just as much from a fear of a changing country as much as their a desire to address the issue.
The most recent push for addressing undocumented immigration brings to mind the “know nothing” Party of the 1850’s. President Trump has consistently pushed for a physical border across the entire southern border. The President made and broke a number of his campaign promises, but his insistence on a border wall has been one of the few platform items that have remained. January’s brief government shutdown was rooted in disagreements over how to address immigration-related issues.
Not only do most Americans disagree with building a border wall across the southern border, there’s disagreement over Trump’s entire plan. Americans rose up against the President’s “Muslim ban,” they have spoken out against his effort to limit “chain migration,” and an overwhelming percentage of Americans strongly support legalization for the Dreamers and all recipients of DACA.
The actions of the Trump administration, taken as a whole, amount to limiting all types of immigration by any means necessary. In order to be a light in the world, to be the golden gates and to be the true leaders of the free world we must not tear up the American Dream that lives on in perpetuity, that gives hope to all across the world.