The Daily(ish) Review

The Daily Edit (or Review): New York Times on Immigration

Does anyone else feel like we're on the verge of losing all ability to discuss issues and policies even somewhat objectively? I follow a Roman/Byzantine history forum on Facebook. It's one of the more civil groups I have found on that terrible platform, but even it quickly descends into trolling, often in the form of pro- and anti- Christianity and Islam. The dinosaurs got taken out by an asteroid that caused catastrophic climate change. We're getting taken out by Facebook and Twitter, which will eventually be followed by catastrophic climate change. (Or murderous robots.)

I try to stay off Facebook, but I've seen a few people post articles or references to the U.S. treatment of immigrants at the border. The discussions that follow are not productive. Television and White House briefings aren't any better. Some anchors and guests are trying to hold informative discussions about a difficult issue, but for the most part they fall quickly into nonsense. The Trump defenders take the cake here, repeating Trump's claim that we are separating children from their parents because of a "Democrat law". Republican White House, Senate, and House, and yet they act as if their hands are tied.

Today's New York Times has a good article by Julie Hirschfield Davis and Michael D. Shear* explaining what led to the current enforcement actions. I liked that the article looked at how the Bush, Obama, and Trump administrations** have approached the issue of illegal immigration.

I thought the most interesting point in the article was that the Trump administration looks at the zero tolerance approach as a deterrent. I think they're kidding themselves. First, the phrase zero tolerance is a clever trick for making an action or actions sound better, in this case tougher. Second, I doubt that families in Central and South America who are contemplating making the brutal and dangerous trek north for better opportunities have perfect information about U.S. immigration policy or would be deterred even if they did. I can't imagine being a parent and having to make that terrible decision. That brings me to my last point. I don't fault Republicans for wanting safe, secure borders and effective policies, but I wish they'd look at the people involved as rational, vulnerable actors making very difficult decisions. That doesn't play to the base very well, though. It's much better to label them as criminals and rapists.

* I wonder why the New York Times includes middle names / initials. Does it always do that? Seems odd.

** I can never remember the rule on whether administration gets capitalized when it's related to a specific administration.