I managed to listen to a few minutes of Donald Trump’s immigration speech he made in Phoenix, Az. after his whirlwind trip to meet privately with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.
Just could not stomach any more than that of his vile tone. But I read a news story or two on it.
For one thing I have a feeling the illegal immigration issue is way over played, not that it is not a problem and not that is does not affect legal U.S. citizens, but that it is more of a scapegoat for all the problems people face in an ever-changing world social and economic environment.
But anyway, from the cheers I heard — did not see the crowd — it seemed he must be talking to mostly white nationalist, racist type people. In 1930s Germany the enemy within was the Jews (even though they were citizens), and Adolf Hitler exploited historical prejudices to gain power. Trump is doing much the same in 2016, but this time it is Mexicans and other Hispanics, Islamic immigrants, and maybe people of color.
He compliments the Mexican president in public remarks and then comes back to the U.S. and says the Mexicans are going to pay for a great wall on the border that he vows to build — “they just don’t know it yet”.
The Mexican president for his part said he told Trump Mexico would not pay for it. Trump claimed the issue of payment was not discussed. But clearly Trump is disrespecting the Mexican president.
And many in Mexico think their president betrayed them and/or made a grave mistake giving Trump an audience. After all, Trump has spent a year or more making vile remarks about Mexicans (but sometimes he says they are great people — he likes to have it both ways — I mean when he calls Mexicans coming over the border murderers and rapists he sometimes does this little almost aside thing where he says Mexico has a lot of good and wonderful people, almost like that serves to inoculate himself from charges of bigotry).
This wall thing. Who really wants it? I mean people who are fixated on stopping illegals at the border and who maybe have a built-in prejudice may think it sounds like a good idea, but I would doubt a vast majority of the U.S. public thinks it would be a good idea or even practical or economically feasible.
I mean there was the Great Wall of China, the Maginot Line, and the Berlin Wall, to name three examples. I admit I know nothing much about the Great Wall of China except it can be seen from space and is quite a tourist attraction (and do we want to finance that in today’s dollars?). The Maginot line I guess was not actually a wall per se but a series of fortifications and gun emplacements between basically Germany and France, but Hitler just went around it. And the Berlin Wall was a shame on humanity, with East German soldiers and police shooting to death people trying to escape to freedom from communist enslavement.
What are we going to do, shoot illegals? Yeah that will be good for our image and so moral of us.
I doubt we an afford to build a wall, and I am sure it is not needed, and we could hardly force Mexico to pay for it, and why should they?
(And I am sure a wall as Trump has in mind would be an environmental nightmare.)
So we do need to increase border security the best we can. How to do that, other than to put more in the budget for it, I have little idea, except: having spent considerable time at or in the general vicinity of the U.S. – Mexico border over the past two decades as a truck driver I have noticed one thing. We pay an awful lot of Border Patrol people to stand around and we pay for a lot of Border Patrol vehicles that stay parked at the check points for long periods. We might get more bang for the buck with a little better management. And that is not to say that Border Patrol agents do not have a hard and dangerous job when actually out in the field — but they need to be out in the field, not just clustered at the check points.
(I once pulled into a checkpoint way north of the border in the late evening and a half-dozen agents came out of a little trailer to ask me questions and peek into the back of my trailer and then sent me on my way. We really need a half-dozen people to do that?)
And let’s be honest: the reason most people come here illegally is to work. And they would not bother if no one hired them. But private citizens and regular employers do knowingly. The enforcement needs to be heavier against employers, including private citizens and industry and agriculture.
It might be a good idea to set a date certain that we will no longer tolerate illegal entry and residence. For those coming in on or after that date, all necessary enforcement action will be taken when they come to our attention (we don’t necessarily have to round people up and invade homes). For those already here, they might be required to go through a process to pay some amount of back taxes and to comply with requirements for naturalization if they choose to stay.
Maybe I am as an individual just not being affected by it, but I still think this illegal immigration issue, while valid, is being used as rallying issue among those who are looking for scapegoats and who are frustrated. And it is of course an issue popular with bigots and white nationalists.
All presidents have vowed to work with Mexico but I think they lose interest. It is not easy what with the corrupt government they have down there — I mean I guess they are improving, but they have major problems and an internal drug war that wreaks havoc on their society.
And yet our economies are intertwined. Both countries really need each other. We need to work together. The problems can be solved working together with mutual respect. Trump is not capable of giving respect. He would likely only make matters worse.