Impeachment Hot Take: Immigration
Immigrants May Love America More than Native-Born Americans
There are many pundits offering many perspectives on the recent impeachment hearings, but here is one take I haven’t heard: it seems clear to me that many immigrants love the United States more than many native-born Americans.
Consider the backgrounds of Lieutenant Colonel Vindman, Dr. Fiona Hill, and Ambassador Yovanovitch, all of whom were born abroad and whose families came here looking for an opportunity. All three of them as well as Ambassador Gordon Sondland — objectively one of the “bad” guys in this narrative, but himself the son of immigrants — spoke of how important the hope of America was in their upbringings. And for whatever it is worth, Ambassador Sondland is the only non-civil servant who stepped forward to testify despite a directive not to do so. Native-born Mike Pompeo, Rudy Giuliani, Mick Mulvaney, Rick Perry, etc, etc, etc could not find enough patriotism to disobey a would-be autocrat and lay bare his crimes. Of course, that is largely because the aforementioned men are themselves guilty of those crimes, so their unwillingness to testify is also an act of self-preservation.
But in these circumstances, their self-preservation is at odds with the concept of the rule of law and with many of the written statutes themselves, and so we find ourselves in a position in which those most likely to be screaming “Make America Great Again,” are defending someone who is actively undermining America, while the people the MAGA crowd disparages, immigrants, are showing themselves to be the true patriots willing to defend our constitution and the rule of law rather than kowtowing to a would-be despot who tramples on the concepts and document at the heart of the American experiment.
There is some rich yet depressing irony in watching a parade of foreign-born civil servants who have dedicated much of their lives to serving America trying to educate an array of native-born politicians who have dedicated their political careers to the support of a criminal and treasonous president. While not a single one the collection of Republican politicians could bring themselves to face an objective reality and the desecration of their country, every single one of the immigrants who dedicated their lives to serving a country that is not their original homeland essentially pled for those native-born politicians to reign in lawlessness that threatens our national security and our core values.
It was a stark display that puts the Republican focus on immigration into even greater perspective (i.e. it highlights that the Republican position on immigration is driven by racism, not by a concern for the important societal contribution immigrants make), showcasing that, in fact, immigrants — these particular immigrants at least — care far more about America and the American ideal than the native-born Americans who routinely smear them. Watching the proceedings it became clear, for example, that Marie Yovanovitch is a patriot, Devin Nunes a criminal, that Alex Vindman loves America and that Jim Jordan loves Donald Trump, that Fiona Hill is dedicated to the security of the United States and that Elise Stefanik is dedicated to raising her political profile. In every single instance in which an immigrant was confronted by an American politician, it was the immigrant who stood up for American values and the American who stood up for transparent criminal behavior that debases and weakens the nation.
I only learned a few new things watching the impeachment proceedings. Much of Trump’s behavior and conduct has been apparent from the beginning, and the fact that he manipulated foreign policy for his own purposes is excessively unsurprising. It is also unsurprising to see how many Americans are willing to disavow the American ideal to prostrate themselves before a would-be dictator; that facts and evidence failed to sway Republican politicians could have been — and probably was — predicted by anyone who has paid even passing attention to the self-degradation of that organization over the past few years.
What I didn’t expect — although I’m also, sadly, unsurprised — was to see how many immigrants are proudly and firmly supporting their adopted country even as those who claim to love it most work to burn it to the ground.