Adolph Hitler said, “Demoralize the enemy from within by surprise, terror, sabotage, assassination. This is the war of the future.” How to restore order in a post-pandemic America is the question of the hour.
A global pandemic expanded federal authority, eclipsed civil liberties, canceled culture, unschooled children and killed millions across the globe. Today, the US GDP to debt ratio is expected to reach 140% by the end of 2022 while inflation hovers at 8.5%. Russia destroys Ukraine financed by India and China who filled the gap left by US and European energy bans, and China spreads influence with its one road, one belt model. Meanwhile, the US border overflows with migrants, Congress holds one-sided hearings, Americans vacation abroad despite a war, the SCOTUS reverses Roe and Title IX faces an overhaul. What is happening? The legacy of this historic, unprecedented moment — PAIN. As shootings escalate, inflation skyrockets, gas prices stun and politicians politick and effect little, immigration is footnote in a really strange time in US history.
And, the border is a debacle.
First, it is clear what is happening at the border is bad… very, very bad. The first problem: children. Many arrive unchaperoned and will now be whisked off to North Carolina to be processed at a center in Greensboro. Who are these children? How do regional social services engage with them, and what horrors have they experienced? One thing is certain, most will end up in the public school system where ESL instruction will be critical to their learning experience. And, the abuse, neglect or abandonment they have experienced will require services provided by the state. Children are victims in a larger scheme and in some cases, pawns in a drug war. Not only are they detained in a system that lacks enforcement, they are now Dreamers. What this means needs to be seriously unpacked.
Regardless of nativity, 25.6 million children under 18 lived in families with incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty threshold in 2019. Of them, nearly 8 million (or 31 percent) had one or more foreign-born parent.
Of the 17.8 million children of immigrants, 45 percent were in low-income families. This is a higher rate than for children of U.S.-born parents (35 percent of the 51.1 million).
This is not okay. US immigration policy waits until after the fact to deal with problems. Border patrol is now a processing agency where the job is akin to stopping a sex trafficker after the fact then paying for the therapy, medications and housing of the victim. Why not destroy the trafficker? Why is the US NOT doing this?
The second problem: the volume of children. Immigration has a legal process, but when migrants bypass the law, it creates a privileged system for those crossing illegally. With the current preoccupation with privilege in the US, this is deeply ironic. Moreover, the massive pressure this border surge places on local social services cannot be underestimated. Medical, education, housing, police and other basic services are utilized by these immigrants, and the cost- especially for education and social services- is expensive. Migrants do not come here because there is no social net, otherwise, they would stay in their own country. If a baby is born on US soil, the parent is entitled to all of the benefits of Medicaid, housing, education, transportation, health services and support given to that baby. This cost is assumed by the tax payer.
Approximately 17.8 million U.S. children under age 18 lived with at least one immigrant parent in 2019. They accounted for 26 percent of the 68.9 million children under age 18 in the United States, up from 19 percent in 2000 and 13 percent in 1990.
This system does not exist anywhere else in the developed world, and to claim migrants do not see migrating to the US as opportunity is disingenuous. And, migrants immediately qualify to work. ICE can’t remove those processed unless they commit a felony. How to manage this cost and care for the human on the end of the chain is a real crisis at the local level, a problem trapped beneath a federal policy that is in every way flawed. The worst part is the denial of it and the blame game volley that forgets humans sit waiting to be processed, drinking water provided by agents while anticipating release. Why there is not an immediate meeting with Central and South American leadership to deal with this is the question of the hour. Not to mention, how and why Afghan, Russian and Ukranian nationals end up in the mix.
The third REALLY BIG PROBLEM: inconsistent policy. National and state response to the plague demonstrated a void between federal mandates and local realities, and in Texas, Arizona and New Mexico — oops AND CALIFORNIA- this has been a painful and inconsistent journey that has California in 2022 a great case study. Just yesterday Governor Gavin Newsom was in Montana, a place the state of CA recommends avoiding because of its policies regarding LGBTQIA+.
In most states, Covid-19 restrictions have disappeared, and those migrants released into communities with positive Covid-19 tests have blended into the fabric of towns and cities. A recent report indicates that approximately 10% of individuals released from migrant facilities into the US were infected. Remember, citizens wore masks, socially distanced and endured a year of hell while waiting to attend a restaurant at full capacity or even school, and they sucked it up and tolerated a border policy that negated every public health order in the name of humane border policy. You can’t make this sh*t up! And, starting in January 2021, Covid protocol never applied to those illegally crossing. Meanwhile, flashing a vax card was mandated in many US cities, cities where many migrants arrived via plane tickets paid for by the taxpayer WITHOUT vax proof. What?
The last century provides amazing examples of how physical violence and property destruction augmented the power of the state and justified the state’s inhumane treatment of opponents. Think Stalin- Hitler- Mao. The pandemic was a pretext for this to be the case in the US, and border policy fits into this conversation amid continued civil crises across the nation- fentanyl explosion, violence, escalating crime. Civil disobedience is a right in America, but civility is an expected parameter in this age of anti-bullying, gender/sexual politics, weaponized race, high suicide rates, big tech control and a post-pandemic fog. There is a clear expectation that citizens of the United States lead the way in acceptance, tolerance and justice. Yet, with the border in disarray, radical failure to enforce laws compounded by weaponized racial divisions and general dismay among many Americans about what the hell is happening, history screams for remembrance.
Meanwhile, Kim Kardashian lost 20 pounds, Johnny Depp won and Roe is reversed. Time to Tik-Tok.