When President Trump held a meeting on immigration with members of congress from both sides of the aisle, of course pundits and grandstanders responded with the same old dried up narratives that haven’t born fruit in decades.
Trump’s new immigration effort isn’t the betrayal of Trump’s base that many conservative pundits are saying it is. And it isn’t a racist attempt to keep non-whites out of our country, as the fearmongering Left would have you believe.
When the president addressed that meeting, I heard something new. He called for a bipartisan bill, a “bill of love” that would increase border security and allow funding for a border wall, while also creating a path to citizenship for DACA recipients whose temporary deportation immunity is set to expire in March, 2018.
Our border problem isn’t a one-sided problem of America vs. foreigners. It’s also not a partisan problem of Republicans vs. Democrats. As Christians and as Americans, we should understand that it’s a problem of universal human dignity.
That’s why I’m glad Trump is opening the door to a direct, commonsensical, and humane approach to the border debate. This is the only way to find a real solution. It’s exactly what every Catholic and every American patriot can get behind. And it’s what I’ve been advocating for years.
As I recently wrote in an open letter to the Catholics of America and Mexico:
For too long, the border has been controlled not by elected governments, but by violent gangs and by people smugglers, who abuse vulnerable people on both sides. Thousands of Mexicans have died in the chaos. Americans have suffered too.
The people of both our nations have also struggled economically. When Mexicans enter the United States illegally to find work, they can’t appeal to our labor and safety laws. Instead, they find themselves trapped in an underground economy that takes advantage of migrants and undercuts American workers’ wages.
As for DACA, “the economic reality of foreign workers in the United States has existed for so long that it raises another policy question: The status of Dreamers, and the continuation of DACA:
Dreamers were raised here, they were educated here, they married here, and they work here. Their culture, their friends, and their coworkers are American. In many cases, even their spouses are American, and not even of Mexican descent.
I have Mexican friends, and I have American Dreamer friends whose parents migrated from Mexico some twenty years ago. I can tell you, these Dreamers are not Mexicans. They are Americans.
….Since Dreamers are Americans in fact, it is only right that they should be Americans by law.
As an American and a Catholic layman, I feel it’s my duty to begin this dialogue. I hope my Catholic brothers and sisters both in Mexico and America will join me. We shouldn’t be aiming for each other’s throats. We should aim for the common good, and a win-win solution that benefits both the people of Mexico and the people of the United States.
Each of our great nations has the right to control its border. And when we do, we defend the rights of our people. A secure border and a mandatory employee verification system for workers in the United States will move both our nations toward a much more humane future.
Resist the Devils
There are powerful people on both sides of American politics, and on both sides of our Southern border, who’ve learned to benefit from the chaos while exploiting vulnerable migrants, driving down Americans’ wages, and risking our children’s future.
They live on our broken migration system like parasites. And whenever they see a real chance of fixing it, they put all their effort into covering the solutions up.
For years, we’ve gotten nowhere on border security. Instead, the American people have been treated to a never-ending puppet show. And for all their tough partisan talk, the puppet masters aren’t Republicans or Democrats, but a bipartisan establishment that has no intention of securing the U.S. border, protecting American workers from wages being driven down, or defending the rights of vulnerable migrants from exploitation in a lawless underground economy.
This Week: It was the Best of Trump, it was the Worst of Trump
When I heard Trump address the bipartisan meeting earlier this week, I thought he sounded like a true statesman. Luckily, Trump’s policy is better than his politics, and when it comes to the substance of the issue of migration, he outshines himself.
I opposed then candidate Trump in the 2016 presidential primaries for one reason: I didn’t believe he was the man of the people he claimed to be. When it came to the migration issue in particular, I thought his rhetoric was just more playacting—the kind of playacting I had learned to see straight through.
I thought he would join the bipartisan establishment—that he was just another puppet. Another politician who would never lead and never serve the vulnerable.
If the recent report of his disparaging remarks about “s***hole countries” is true, it reminds me of those old suspicions of mine. When I hear that kind of harsh rhetoric, I smell a politician who isn’t even trying. It’s the kind of language that distracts from the work of serving our country.
In the case of Trump, it eats up news cycles by making them all about his big personality, and it gives bad actors a chance to sabotage immigration reform. That’s exactly the status quo that the worst empty suits of both the Left and the Right have sunken their hooks into for profit, and will defend with all their strength.
Far from betraying his base, Trump is at his best when he ignores these corrupt interests and stands up for the forgotten man.