Pro­tec­tion at the bor­der is a two-way street

The Calvert Recorder - - Community Forum - Jim Kuh, Hunt­ing­town

While I can find com­mon ground with Pres­i­dent Trump on sev­eral fronts, his dras­tic ac­tions since tak­ing of­fice to se­verely re­strict the num­ber of new­com­ers to our na­tion — be they refugees, im­mi­grants, asylees or any other cat­e­gory of per­sons seek­ing a place of peace and safety among us — are a dis­grace and a re­pu­di­a­tion of our na­tion’s long his­tory of wel­come.

Lest I be ac­cused of be­ing an open bor­der ad­vo­cate, I strongly be­lieve any na­tion has the right and obli­ga­tion to pro­tect its sovereignty and se­cu­rity. I also strongly be­lieve those who are com­pelled by cir­cum­stances to flee their coun­tries should be af­forded due process and given the op­portu- nity to seek pro­tec­tion un­der na­tional and in­ter­na­tional law. When one hears of asy­lum seek­ers to the U.S. sum­mar­ily de­nied this pro­tec­tion and refugee ad­mis­sions re­duced to a trickle, the pres­i­dent needs to be called out and those poli­cies chal­lenged.

Op­pressed, im­pov­er­ished and per­se­cuted peo­ple around the world don’t just wake up one day and de­cide on a spur of the mo­ment to make the per­ilous jour­ney to the United States. Most of our own an­ces­tors made that same dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion they do, likely never to see their ex­tended fam­ily again. And no, they weren’t ad­mit­ted based on merit, as some fa­vor to­day. Oth­er­wise, it’s very likely most of them would have never been al­lowed in, be­ing as they were the “hud­dled masses yearn­ing to breathe free” that our Statue of Lib­erty beck­ons. Like to­day, they were largely dis­dained by the peo­ple al­ready here.

These fel­low mem­bers of our hu­man fam­ily are, by def­i­ni­tion, sur­vivors and the very kind of peo­ple we want to con­tinue the great Amer­i­can ex­per­i­ment. Fam­ily re­uni­fi­ca­tion, de­ri­sively called chain mi­gra­tion by some, has al­ways been the be­drock of our im­mi­gra­tion sys­tem and has served our na­tion very well over the past 100 years or more. These fam­i­lies have spawned some of the great­est per­sons and achieve­ments that hu­man­ity has ever wit­nessed and con­tin-

ue to do so to the present day.

I find it very ironic that a pres­i­dent who prides him­self on be­ing an as­tute busi­ness­man fails to see how a very gen­er­ous im­mi­gra­tion and refugee ad­mis­sions pol­icy is in the best in­ter­est of the U.S., both na­tion­ally and in­ter­na­tion­ally. His huge pro­tec­tion­ist blindspot pre­vents him from see­ing that in a rapidly ex­pand­ing econ­omy like ours we need many more work­ers at all lev­els, not fewer. He’s get­ting very bad ad­vice from the likes of Stephen Miller and his zero-pop­u­la­tion growth com­rades who won’t be sat­is­fied un­til the U.S. has ef­fec­tively iso­lated it­self from the rest of the world.

De­mog­ra­phers have pointed to the folly of this think­ing and shown that na­tions that fall below re­place­ment in terms of their pop­u­la­tion are doomed

to fail. Europe has been in that death spi­ral for a while now and the U.S. has un­til now avoided that fate be­cause of its his­tor­i­cally gen­er­ous im­mi­gra­tion poli­cies, but just barely. If we want a fully-funded So­cial Se­cu­rity and Medi­care sys­tem, es­pe­cially as the baby boomers are reach­ing full re­tire­ment age in large num­bers, then new­com­ers should be wel­comed with open arms. Why would we turn our backs on a course that has served us so well for so long?

As we en­ter the sea­son of Ad­vent and cel­e­brate Christ­mas in a few short weeks, may we re­flect on the mi­grant jour­ney of Je­sus, Mary and Joseph and find a warm place in our hearts for those who fol­low a sim­i­lar path in our time.

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