Li: ritual, propriety, etiquette. Hsiao: love within the family (parents for children and children for parents. Yi: righteousness--the noblest way to act in a situation. Xin: honesty and trustworthiness. Jen: benevolence, humaneness towards others. Chung: loyalty to the state and authority. --Confucius (Kong Fuzi)

All articles appear in reverse chronological order [newest first].

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I believe the past is relevant, sometimes more than others of course. In most cases we are seeing history being repeated, so it is most relevant.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

An Immoral and Failing Policy of Zero Tolerance:

by Glenn D. Littrell indianaglenn@gmail.com

Image may contain: one or more people and textToday I have let myself get caught up in (or carried away by) a Facebook debate surrounding the "Zero tolerance immigration policy" of the current administration. Like many politically charged Facebook issues, the debate while often civil is very often contentious, emotional and nasty. If I have behaved in the latter behavior I apologize for whenever I crossed the line. I will not, however, apologize for my point of view.

I would like to point out that, as often is the case today, most issue debates continually and quickly transform from an issue debate into a political debate… which is unproductive and to a large degree senseless.

Immigration Reform, the issue: The irony of the debate is that regardless of which side everyone falls on the overwhelming majority of us agree that we need immigration reform, and we need it now. For many of us the difference is what reforms we want and what concession do we accept or make, not who wins or loses politically.

imageImmigration Reform, the politics: For far too many of us, probably most of us, we are waging this argument solely on the bases of who we support politically, party or person, and not on the merit of the issue itself. Specifically, how do we treat people crossing our border illegally? Do we treat them humanely while enforcing the law or do we treat them punitively?

I for one say that we enforce our laws with consistency and compassion. I say that we acknowledge the suffering and hard choices these people faced in getting here, even if in the end we have to send them back or relocate them. I say that we recognize that those who have lived their life here after being brought here as minors, younger than the age of consent and responsibility, those that have never known another home, be afforded a path to citizenship. Most importantly that we seek to do as little harm as possible.

In regards to questionable, false, or immoral defense of this policy:

  • Immigration Law: It has long been a MISDEMEANOR federal offense to be caught illegally entering the US, punishable by up to six months in prison, but past administrations have not always referred everyone caught for prosecution. Those apprehended were swiftly put into immigration proceedings and, unless they met the threshold to pursue a valid asylum claim, can be quickly deported from the country.
    The Law mentioned (The Flores Settlement Agreement) and cited by Trump only applies to unaccompanied children.
    There are more humane and cost-efficient alternatives that have proven effective. The Family Case Management Program which President Trump TERMINATED, allows families to be released together and monitored by caseworkers. Despite claims that families won’t show up for court, the program has a 99% success rate of court attendance.
  • Image may contain: textA zero tolerance policy: Zero tolerance policy is the tool of the authoritarian, the dictator, and on a smaller scale the unimaginative, repressive, insecure person. It reeks of injustice and takes us back to a time and practice that could see a starving man go to prison for 20 years for simply stealing a loaf of bread.
  • The Flores Settlement Agreement (the so-called 1997 law): The law did not dictate the separation of families. It has been litigated and amended repeatedly. IT ONLY applies to UNACCOMPANIED children and victims of child trafficking.
    Its application has always been the exception to defined practice (rule).
    It is now the 'rule' not the exception applied in special circumstances and is being applied to children with their family, not just unaccompanied children. Its present application is the result of Trump and Sessions zero tolerance policy.
  • Who passed the law? The Flores Settlement Agreement (the so-called 1997 law): And for the record, it was a Republican Congress that passed the law and Clinton who signed it, so there's plenty of blame for the law that was passed, but that isn't the law being applied today... it's the Trump zero policy. It has been applied in a more human manner before now and should be going forward.
  • False comparison of immigrants to current criminals in prison: The premise is faulty! Current criminals (hopefully) had a trial, representation, and opportunity for bail. They were arrested, charged, tried and SENTENCED to jail, not held in a detention center. Comparing misdemeanors to felonies is apples to oranges, asylum seekers are not breaking the law, asking for help, refuge, or sanctuary is not criminal. So if you get pulled over for a broken taillight you're fine with your children being confiscated? Misdemeanors! Not felonies! In many cases, presence in this country is just a violation, not criminal, and not a felony. In any case, we have laws and procedure, and rights. These rights like it or not are "inalienable' and endowed by our creator. The document that declares this also says "ALL MEN". It doesn't say only Americans or only native-born... it declared these truths to be for ALL as well as being self-evident.
  • imageBlame Obama defense: So that's the limit of your indignation and outrage? A sarcastic, pointless and trivial dig at Obama?
  • Blame Hillary Defense:  Quit stretching for Hillary and some sanctimonious justification. Your children, maybe not you, would be traumatized by being taken from you suddenly under suspicion, even legally justified. If you can't see that, or that this could be done more humanely, or that some provisions could be made, I'm at a loss.
    The only people who seem to still be upset over Hillary losing are some Democrats, most Republicans, and all Trumps supporters. The rest of us try to roll with the punches.
  • Comparisons to children being dropped off at daycare: That is ridiculous! Daycare versus days, weeks, or months of detention. It is just plain hypocrisy to suggest they are the same… what would you do if you were told you couldn't pick them up for weeks?!?!?!
  • Image may contain: textKids in cages better off than they were in Mexico(or wherever): ...if you can acknowledge that having their kids taken is better than their life back in Mexico, then why can't you recognize the desperation that leads them here seeking help. Have some mercy for their situation.
  • Comparison to family separation for military families: Come on. I'm sure they were not suddenly placed in foster care, I know most of them are still with family, in the majority of these the separation was voluntary, and most of them had time to prepare, adjust and think about the separation, and virtually all got an unhurried hug at separation. If you can acknowledge the difficulty of military separations why can't you empathize with these children?
    Image may contain: textAll these things are being denied these people who come here seeking help and an opportunity. As a former military parent and child in a military family, this comparison is so off base it is offensive!
    Stop seeking moral justification for supporting a terrible policy that could be changed easily. Better yet just admit that as long as it's not your kids your fine with it... family values defined!
  • The legality of our ancestor immigrants: I've researched family histories for 30 years and can assure you that most Americans are surprised to find that some if not all their ancestors either came here under no legal authority (just the cost of passage) or they came here as criminals.
    If you have a record of your ancestor's arrival then send me a copy or quote it completely and I will point out the one word in the document that had a completely different legal meaning back then.
    If you don't have such a reference then tell me the migratory movements of your ancestors from arrival to the present and I can probably find where they, like so many ancestors, illegally entered French, Spanish or Native American lands. Better yet, did they own slaves? Legal but immoral. Or did they fight in support of treason against King George or later as a traitors act of succession and rebellion? Image may contain: 1 person, text
    Whether you know your family's history or not it is a fact that this country was built by immigrants, some were expelled from other countries, some fleeing from other countries seeking sanctuary, some being enslaved. Our founding fathers were lawbreakers in the simplest and the most technical sense of the word. Lawbreakers in the service of illegal but moral acts. Our legal system was inequitable and immoral to some while providing preferential treatment to others in defiance of the letter and intent of our legal founding documents.
    We have falsely imprisoned many, interred others and committed genocide in the cause of sanctimonious expansion, protectionism, and security... only to condemn these errors decades later, but we grow and move forward by making some attempt at being better.

In summation, we would be better served by discussing solutions to problems, to debating the issues without seeking justification for immoral or unnecessary acts, and with an eye towards practicality with empathy and compassion.

Seek solutions from your critical mind and an open heart instead of your loyalty to a specific person or ideology.


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