Thursday, January 25, 2018

Obvious Strategy

Teacher and Oakland, California resident Shannon Carey tweets

We go to the Holocaust Encyclopedia of the Holocaust Memorial Museum to learn that on July 15, 1937

The Inspectorate of Concentration Camps opens the Buchenwald concentration camp near the city of Weimar, Germany. Camp authorities will murder at least 56,000 prisoners in the Buchenwald camp system, some 11,000 of them Jews.

In December, SS chief Heinrich Himmler issued a decree which

authorizes the German Criminal Police to round up persons suspected of engaging in asocial or criminal behavior without evidence of a specific criminal act, to hold them for an indefinite period of time, and to incarcerate them in concentration camps.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions isn't that bad. Neither "Dreamers" nor illegal immigrants (yes, there are immigrants whose status is illegal)- who have committed a civil violation- will be placed into a concentration camp.

Still,  President Trump will not come before the general electorate for 3-4 years, and so the situation in Nazi Germany three years earlier in 1934 may be a little more relevant. At that time

The German government bans Jews from membership in the German Labor Front. Because membership in the German Labor Front is mandatory for wage laborers and salaried employees, this decree effectively deprives Jews of the opportunity to find positions in the private sector and denies to those already employed the benefits available to non-Jews.

Though megalomanical, bigoted, and authoritarian, Donald Trump is not quite a Nazi and that, combined with ineptness, civil institutions, interest groups, and the good intentions of others, will prevent the USA government from suffering the same fate as the Weimar Republic.

Nonetheless, it should be greatly disconcerting to most normal people that some individual (in Carey's example, students) are so insecure as to believe they need to carry their documents. However, Donald Trump is not normal and therefore it was curious to hear him remark on Wednesday of citizenship for the Dreamers

We're going to morph into it It's going to happen at some point in the future over a period of 10 to 12 years. Somebody does a great job. They worked hard. It gives incentive to do a great job. They've worked hard. They've done terrifically. Whether they have a little company or whether they work or whatever they're doing -- if they do a great job, I think it's a nice thing to have incentive of, after a period of years being able to become a citizen.

Inevitably, Trump will contradict himself and in the snowball's chance in hell he does not, the remark is irrelevant because he may not be President much longer and 10-12 years is a long time out, during which anything can happen.

Advocacy of a path to citizenship invariably contemplates an extended period of time in which a myriad of conditions may have to be met.  For the left, that itself ought to be considered a compromise position.  A path to citizenship ideally is uncomplicated and brief.

Nonetheless, some path to citizenship, rather than mere continuation of legalization for Dreamers, should be the opening bid for the left, just as The Wall is for President Trump.

Even were Trump's remarks on Wednesday sincere, he would retract them. Nonetheless, he has uttered them and must be held accountable for having done so.

A path to citizenship is unlikely to be accepted in the near- or mid-term future because it is something which unites the GOP donor base- fond of a pliable labor force- and its popular base, fond of denying benefits to the needy.

That is why the Democratic Party in ongoing Dreamer negotiations should propose actual, red-blooded American citizenship.  It will have to settle for less, of course, because the corporate wing of the Republican Party feasts on the insecurity of workers.  However, the insecurity of a substantial number of residents of the country not only undermines the interests of the individuals, but of the nation as a whole.

What applies to Dreamers applies to the larger group of illegal immigrants.  Having within a country's borders a contingent of individuals without citizenship or a chance to obtain it is perilous to national security. Obviously, it is perilous also the individual's security and will only increase the concerns of people such as Shannon Carey, legitimately uneasy over the jeopardy always faced by such immigrants.

Update: The White House on Thursday announced a proposal which would include a path to citizenship for 1.8 million individuals, in addition extensive restrictions on immigration.  Not going to happen (despite what is said today).

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