Former Mexican president Vicente Fox recently joined Jordan Klepper on his new show “The Opposition” and, of course, it started with the wall. Fox reiterated once again that he is “not paying for the fucking wall.” Like usual, the line received a lot of fanfare as Klepper’s fans cheered for Fox. Klepper quickly asked Fox if President Trump was right when he mentioned that some Mexicans are good people. Fox took the opportunity to give Klepper a little history lesson about how Mexicans kept the U.S. afloat during World War II.
“Please, let me tell you about Mexico and Mexicans. They are the most respectful and hardworking, decent people that have contributed to the greatness of this nation,” Fox says. “Just remember right after World War II when the United States didn’t have enough labor because they had to go to war and soldiers went to Europe. Mexico was invited to send 2 million Mexicans that took over the factories, the work, the services that were needed here in the United States.”
Fox is referencing the Bracero Program, which was implemented via executive order in 1942. The order allowed for millions of Mexicans to come to the U.S. and work the jobs left behind by U.S. soldiers in the war. Mexican nationals came to the U.S. and worked jobs at pay rates below what most Americans were being paid and their contracts were only for 3/4 of the time.
Despite Mexicans propping up the U.S. economy during World War II, President Eisenhower implemented Operation Wetback. Operation Wetback was used to detain and deport all the people in the U.S. under the Bracero Program. President Trump touted this as a good example of mass deportation in 2015 during a debate, but the reality of this is much more grim.
According to the LA Times, close to 300,000 Mexican nationals were apprehended by immigration officials and sent back. However, some estimates range as high as 1.3 million. The mass deportation of Mexican nationals during Operation Wetback led to numerous deaths as a result of the inhumane tactics used. Immigration officials were detaining people with such fervor that some U.S. citizens were also detained and deported.
It is that dark and sad history that has convinced Fox to stay vocal against President Trump. Fox admits that some of his language is not okay for a president to use. But he reminds Klepper that he is a former president so he can use that language.
Unless you’ve been completely disconnected from reality, you likely know that this year is a presidential election year. Both Donald Trump and candidates for the Democratic primary have been touring their policy positions ahead of the election and regardless of who ends up in the White House, there will be serious changes to the United States’ immigration policies.
Even before the November election, we can expect major policy changes under the Trump Administration. And given the president’s previous stance on immigration, we shouldn’t expect him to stand before the Statue Of Liberty and tout the USA as a beacon of hope for migrants and its tradition as a nation of migrants. But here’s what we should expect in the new year:
On November 12, 2019, the Supreme Court heard a challenge to the Trump administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which currently grants work authorization and administrative relief from deportation for up to 700,000 individuals who came to America before the age of 16. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of the administration, then talk of a legislative compromise will increase. However, the closer it gets to the November 2020 presidential election, the less likely a deal may become.
Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
A November 1, 2019, Federal Register notice automatically extended “the validity of TPS-related documentation for beneficiaries under the TPS designations for Sudan, Nicaragua, Haiti and El Salvador through Jan. 4, 2021.” However, a decision in the case of Ramos v. Nielsen, which blocked the Trump administration’s attempt to rescind Temporary Protected Status for several countries, could end long-term stays in the United States for approximately 300,000 people.
Refugee and Asylum Policies
In September 2019, the Trump administration announced a historically low annual refugee admission ceiling of 18,000 for FY 2020, a reduction of 84% from the 110,000-limit set during the last year of the Obama administration. “The administration betrays our national commitment to offering refuge and religious freedom to persecuted Christians and other religious minorities,” said World Relief in a statement. There is no reason to anticipate the administration will raise the refugee ceiling for FY 2021.
In response to an executive order mandating consent from state and local authorities to resettle refugees, more than 30 governors have written letters to the State Department pledging their states will continue to resettle refugees. Three organizations have filed a lawsuit over the executive order.
Numerous lawsuits have challenged the administration’s asylum policies toward Central Americans. In one respect, the administration has already “won” on asylum, since the policies to block most asylum seekers and send them to Mexico and other countries have been allowed to remain in place while litigation has continued.
Donald Trump is determined to build as much of a “wall” as possible before the November 2020 election. Anticipate stepped-up seizures of private landand fights with judges and environmental groups.
The Public Charge Rule
On October 4, 2019, a presidential proclamation used Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act to bar new immigrants from entering the United States without health insurance, potentially reducing legal immigration by hundreds of thousands of people per year. A similar reduction in legal immigration could result if the administration’s rule on Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds goes into effect.
Judges have blocked both measures, at least temporarily, but if a court clears either for use, then it could be the Trump administration’s most far-reaching immigration measure. A permanent reduction in the flow of legal immigrants would reduce the long-term rate of economic growth in America, making these actions potentially the most significant policies to affect the U.S. economy under the Trump presidency.
Workplace Enforcement Rules
Since Donald Trump took office, investigators with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement opened about four times the number of workplace investigations as compared to the Obama administration. That trend is likely to continue in 2020. A U.S. Supreme Court decision in Kansas v. Garcia may represent a more significant immigration enforcement threat for companies. Paul Hughes, who represented Garcia, said in an interview if the court rules in favor of Kansas, then “local city and county prosecutors could engage in mass prosecutions of employees and employers” for “the employment of immigrants who lack work authorization.”
Decriminalizing Illegal Border Crossings
If a Democrat wins the White House come November, we can expect increased conversations on decriminalizing illegal border crossings. Julian Castro first floated the idea during a Democratic debate and since then the idea has been picked up by other candidates as well. This would be a major shift in US policy but one that could bring immense change to migrant communities.
A Berlin-based pro-democracy group sent Donald Trump a piece of the Berlin Wall with a persuasive letter denouncing the use of walls to separate people.
“On the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, we are sending one of the last sections of the infamous wall to Washington, D.C. as a letter to President Trump, to remind him of America’s commitment to build a world without walls. Wall against Walls is an initiative of the citizens of Berlin to express their gratitude for 30 years of freedom.” The project is an initiative by Offene Gesellschaft.
The gift to the president is a 2.7-ton section of the Berlin Wall, which has been making its way from Berlin all across the country.
Here’s a portion of the letter:
“Dear President Trump,
This is an original piece of the Berlin Wall. For 28 years, it separated east and west, family, and friends. It divided not only Berlin and Germany but the whole world. Too many people died trying to cross it — their only crime being their desire to be free. Today, the world celebrates the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Germany is united again, and in Berlin, only a few scattered pieces remind us that no wall last forever. We would like to give you one of the last pieces of the failed Berlin Wall to commemorate the United States’ dedication to building a world without walls.
Citizens of Berlin.”
The letter also added that it was because of former U.S. presidents John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan that the Berlin Wall was able to be demolished.
People are encouraged to sign the letter if they are supportive of their statements.
On Nov. 9, they attempted to present the wall to the president in Washington D.C. Fox News reported that “it’s unlikely the Trump administration will accept as it contains a letter reminding the president of ‘America’s commitment to build a world without walls.'”
The wall has now been making its way to various locations across the country where people have been able to experience the Berlin Wall close up.
“For every German born after 1989, the Berlin Wall never stood in their way. They never had to experience being separated from their loved ones. They didn‘t have to risk their life in order to be free. They got to go wherever they wanted- because their parents and grand-parents took to the streets. Again. And again. And again. They proved: together, we have the power to overcome everything. Even a wall,” the official Wall Against Walls stated on their Instagram page.
This wall also made its way to the Mexico border.
“On the 5th Day of our trip through the US, the wall against walls made a tour stop with symbolic power – right next to the Mexico-United States border wall,” organizers said. “A brief, silent moment with an incredible emotional power made us think. From the first human settlements until 1848, this stretch of land has never been a border. Tribes, families, and communities lived on both sides of what is now a seemingly infinite fence. It might be considered necessary by some, but this wall is dividing people simply by place of birth. Let’s hope we will find better ways of encouraging those who contribute to our communities and hold responsible for those who don’t. Mr. President, in the words of Ronald Reagan: TEAR DOWN THIS WALL!”
To sign the letter on the Berlin Wall, click here.