Racially and ethnically speaking, I'm not sure who I am: Irish, Black, Anglo, Native American, Italian? Yes ... and more. My father always said that our family was "Heinz 57," a zesty blend of 57 ingredients. Good enough for me!
One of America's great strengths is our highly diversified population, continually fueled by generations of immigrants who come here as refugees or who simply seek opportunity. Consider the example of Fredrich, a 16-year-old boy who fled his tiny German village, where he faced a dreary future of poverty. He arrived in Manhattan in 1885 with no money and little education. An unaccompanied minor, he was nonetheless greeted by America's open immigration policy of the time and welcomed into citizenship. The enterprising Friedrich soon prospered, eventually opening hotels and taverns.
And — God bless America — only three generations later, Friedrich Trump's grandson would become president of the USA!
But alas, grandbaby Donald would not have let Friedrich in. Indeed, he denigrates and has ruthlessly shut out modern-day immigrants like his grandfather, though such seekers are now more likely to be named Frederico and be poor migrants from Latin America. Donald Trump especially hates a process he calls "chain migration," whereby American citizens can obtain U.S. residency for their foreign relatives. "They bring their whole family with them," Trump repeatedly rants. "NOT ACCEPTABLE!" he barked in a recent Twitter tantrum.
But — psst — guess who just set aside his immigrant-bashing tantrums long enough to benefit his own family? Yes, The Donald. In August, the Slovenian parents of Trump's immigrant wife, Melania, quietly became American citizens through the "chain migration" process their son-in-law so loudly denounces as "not acceptable."
In June, Trump ordered an end to his own warped and politically disastrous policy of forcibly tearing terrified migrant children from the arms of their asylum-seeking parents. "I didn't like the sight or the feeling of families being separated," he declared self-righteously.
Yeah ... "Bad optic," as PR consultants call public videos of such thuggish depravity. Motive aside, at least Trump's cruel separation policy has ended, meaning he — and we — no longer have to witness nightly coverage of shrieking toddlers being seized by border agents and incarcerated in chain-link child cages in federal warehouses. But wait: out of sight just means we don't see it, not that the depravity has ended. Some 500 of the 2,900 children who were snatched last spring are still in government custody, scared they'll never see their parents again and traumatized by the uncertainty of what'll happen to them.
Worse, more refugee children are being incarcerated by Trump's border agents every day as they seek asylum from the ongoing horrors of rapacious gang wars and starvation-level poverty in their Central American homelands. More than 12,000 migrant children are now being held out of sight and out of mind in our government's warehouses, military bases and sprawling "tent cities." And Trump is presently requesting money to lock up another 20,000 refuge-seeking children expected in the near future.
All this trauma and cost is the result of the Trumpeteer's inhumane and failed "zero-tolerance" policy meant to dissuade refugees from coming to our Land of Opportunity in their search for a safe harbor from repression, violence and death. Rather than by rushing in hundreds of lawyers and judges to process the asylum requests and thereby deal with the humanitarian crisis they created, Trump and his rabidly anti-immigrant ideologues are taxing us by building more jails for refugees, while also openly violating the law that says immigrant children can't be locked up for more than 20 days.
In TrumpWorld, integrity and consistency aren't virtues. All that matters is "What's in it for me right now." For more about Trump's sick and sickening policy, contact Kids in Need of Defense at SupportKind.org.
Populist author, public speaker and radio commentator Jim Hightower writes "The Hightower Lowdown," a monthly newsletter chronicling the ongoing fights by America's ordinary people against rule by plutocratic elites. Sign up at HightowerLowdown.org.