It would be hard to make the case that I am somehow against diversity, and I mean actual diversity not just diversity as a code word for the poor and minorities. I live in a community which, according to a recent study, is demographically one of the most similar to the United States as a whole. My neighborhood overall is poor as far as the residents go, but within a block or so of my house there are multi-family residential, commercial, industrial, religious, and retail establishments. My favorite restaurants all have either a connection to immigrants (Panjabi Tadka, Red Rose, Saray, Student Prince) or at least to non-Anglo culture (Raices, Chef Wayne’s Big Mamoo). I’ve studied 5 languages, even if I’ve only mastered 2 of them, and I’ve taken students abroad on at least 10 different occasions and, come to think of it, I’ve lived abroad on a few occasions if only in Madrid and Andalucía.
I’m into the whole “rule of law” thing though, and I don’t understand the “sanctuary city” movement. In trying to understand it I’ve read a little and I’ve learned that, it being an emergent phenomenon, it can manifest itself differently in different jurisdictions but, to be meaningful at all, it entails not co-operating with the federal government regarding immigration law. To the degree local law enforcement has LEGAL leeway to do this or not do that I have no problem with separate jurisdictions deciding, using appropriate legal democratic or bureaucratic means, to minimize or maximize their cooperation in such matters, but simply rejecting established legal requirements is courting chaos.
Just yesterday many people arguing in favor of rejecting federal law in favor of the sanctuary movement have pointed out that President Trump’s order to ban immigrants from specific countries may be illegal, and good on them for doing so; what Trump and his supporters need to do is change the law! Which is also what people in the sanctuary city movement need to do if they find immigration policy in this country unfair or unjust.
The hypocrisy in politics is nearly unbearable as it is: Overstepping by the national security state is applauded when one president leads it, and condemned when another does; obviously illegal acts of military aggression are railed against when the commander in chief is Bush, but not so much when it’s Obama. Trump won the election. Making claims of democratic illegitimacy based on the popular vote is like Patriots’ fans claiming victory in the recent Super Bowls against the Giants because the Pats gained more total yards: the rules were established ahead of time…and according to the rules your side (in the case of the Patriots, MY side) lost.
As a strategy I have a feeling being all particular about the rule of law just might work against this guy by the way. He seems to have a penchant for pushing the envelope. The expression “give ’em enough rope” comes to mind.
Also, imagine how strict enforcement of a bad law can serve to change it. Has anyone noticed how the opioid crisis in the White community has lead to a change in tone regarding the enforcement of drug laws in this country? Just think how much sooner we might have gotten to this point if the war on drugs had been waged just as vigorously in the suburbs as it has been in the cities. Deport every undocumented person who cannot find protection under current law. Or fight to change the law. If you are for completely open borders make your case. If when you lose you simply reject the outcome then you don’t believe in the democratic process, you believe in getting your own way. How is that different from the caricature (and perhaps the reality) of Trump?
There is a moralizing of the latte left, exemplified in this area by the Upper Valley, which sees itself as beyond the democratic process. The casino question brought it into sharp relief. A law passed by the legislature and signed by the governor which also required local executive approval and a local referendum and which also prevailed overwhelmingly in a state wide plebiscite was called un democratic by opponents merely because they didn’t get their way.
Being self righteous on this topic also overlooks the fact that there may be legitimate reasons for people to want to control immigration of all kinds. John Michael Greer makes the case quite convincingly that the salary class, of which I am a part has benefitted greatly from the off shoring of jobs and illegal immigration’s downward pressure on wages. The wage class on the other hand, has been destroyed by them. My salary is protected by the professional licensure “barrier to entry” despite the fact I’m a Spanish teacher, but many people don’t have such protections. The argument is made that many undocumented immigrants do jobs United States citizens don’t want to do and in some cases I think it’s true. Let’s test it though. What better way to change the law, and possibly increase protections to those undocumented workers, than to see if the lettuce will rot in the fields without them? If no one else will do it then the law will change, and the workers will return with the protections of legitimacy.
In the case of other circumstances where people in the United States illegally are taking jobs that citizens obviously would do, as has been seen in home construction for example, I for one am willing to pay more for what I consume. I would rather pay more at the grocery store, at the restaurant, or wherever else so that others may take a larger share of what we as a society produce.
If you have any real belief in your ideas or in democracy, as flawed as it is, then these circumstances are ideal. Obamacare was a terrible temporary fix to an awful health care system. There are no improvements to be made to the current system that don’t involve conservatives going against every principle they have claimed to hold for 40 years but…they own it now, and if I’m wrong, and they can improve our health care system following conservative ideals then I will applaud them for it. Ditto the immigration issue. On the other hand, as flawed as our laws may be, I cannot envision a worse circumstance for the poor, for racial and religious minorities, for women, and for people whose lifestyles are not mainstream, than the abandonment of those laws. You can be absolutely certain that in such a circumstance those who will wield power will not do so beneficently.