Deportation: The Right is Wrong and the Left is Right

When President Obama announced the policy change yesterday that will allow undocumented minors to stay in the United States for an additional two years instead of facing deportation, the backlash from the right was immediate.  The disrespectful outburst from pseudo-journalist Neil Munro during the announcement was only the beginning.

Republicans immediately started criticizing the policy itself and, more vocally, President Obama.  No surprise there.

The biggest kvetch that the GOP  kvetched was the fact that Obama’s policy change was merely a political act.

Now I have a few questions for the GOP:

  • Are you really pretending that this isn’t an election year and that there isn’t a political component to everything that gets said by every politician between now and Election Day (and beyond)?
  • Are we to believe that Obama’s policy change on deportation is a political act, but your immediate, vociferous, rude, and unified objection to this change isn’t political?
  • If you think that President Obama’s policy towards non-citizens is wrong, what do you propose as an alternative?

So far, the Republicans have proposed electrified fences, mass deportations, splitting up families, self-deportation (whatever that is), and probably a few more harebrained ideas I’ve missed.  Not one plan or policy that the Republicans have proposed to deal with the decades-old issue of undocumented immigrants contains an iota of practicality.  All of them, however, appeal to the base, bloodthirsty instincts of the “low-information voters” that the GOP elite are so fond of manipulating into voting against their own best interests.

The fact of the matter is that the INS through many administrations has been widely regarded as the most dysfunctional agency in a government full of dysfunctional agencies.  Because immigration and citizenship issues are so problematic and complex, the INS has existed in a state of stasis for a very long time.  Consequently, a policy change as comparatively benign as the one President Obama announced is looked at as some drastic swing to the left.

The reality, however, is quite different.  Is there a political component?  Of course there is.  There’s no doubt that an announcement such as the one made on Friday will shore up support among potential Latino voters.  Republicans hate that even more than they hate the policy, because they’ve been on the wrong side of the immigration issue for a long time.

But, in addition to being completely in line with the President’s stated beliefs, it’s just the right thing to do.

 

Gay Pride in the Military

It was an historic day when the policy referred to as “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” was repealed.  LGBT service members who were in the military no longer had to make the choice between hiding their true identities or losing their military careers.

But today, there’s another milestone that will likely not be as celebrated as the repeal of DADT.  For the first time, a U.S. Secretary of Defense not only acknowledged the contributions of LGBT service members but also acknowledged them in the context of Gay Pride month.

The Pentagon has even announced its own gay pride event – a panel discussion to talk about issues affecting gay and lesbians in the military.

When DADT was thrown out, there was still some lingering suspicion that the military perhaps would not fully understand how important this issue was or would, at best, begrudgingly go along with it while maintaining its existing less-than-open-minded internal way of doing business.  But it now seems like (as some had always said) that the full  and open integration of lesbians and gay men in the military would just be taken as a matter of course.

In gay pride month, that’s definitely something to be proud of.

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