Taylor Armerding

Taylor Armerding is an independent columnist. Contact him at t.armerding@verizon.net.

CNHI News Service

Those who control the narrative usually win the argument.

That was clearly true of President Trump’s “Muslim ban” that, as at least some of those who actually read his executive order putting a temporary halt to the admission of refugees from seven Middle Eastern countries have tried to point out, wasn’t a complete ban and didn’t affect even a tenth of the Muslims in the world.

But it didn’t help the president to refer to it as a ban, himself, in one of his endless Tourette-like Twitter posts.

Hence Trump had the self-inflicted wounds of massive protests and accusations of bigotry, xenophobia, racism and hatred. Hence there were - and still are - endless stories featuring weeping people, especially elderly, female or juvenile, affected by an order that doesn’t differ much in substance from the one President Obama issued in 2011 regarding Iraqis.

Hence there are tech companies acting as if the order blocked them from ever hiring a foreign national again. And hence the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’ 3-0 ruling to uphold a temporary restraining order blocking it.

More significantly, it is almost impossible to have a rational discussion about Trump’s more recent executive orders on the enforcement of immigration laws. Which is an enormous pity. For starters, it might help Trump’s haters to figure out what they keep saying they can’t understand - how he won.

In spite of what the liberal echo chamber would like us to believe, it wasn’t fear, racism or hatred. It did have something to do with promises to bring back American jobs.

But it was also in significant measure because Trump promised to enforce immigration laws – many of which have been on the books for decades but essentially ignored.

Supposedly we’re a nation of laws. It generally doesn’t end well for American citizens who contend in a court that they don’t need to obey certain laws because they don’t think they’re fair.

So Trump’s opponents need more than insults to convince their fellow citizens that opposing illegal immigration is “anti-immigrant.” That is as absurd as contending that somebody who opposes the illegal practice of medicine is anti-doctor.

Yet, so far, the reporting and social media preaching on the subject is long on emotion and short on rationality.

National Public Radio, which forever claims to be independent when it is hectoring us to send them money, has essentially become an arm of the Democratic Party. It did a segment recently on how Trump’s pledge could affect university students who are in the country illegally.

They interviewed a couple of students at Harvard who are “undocumented” (NPR would never say “illegal”) and are therefore suffering what listeners are clearly supposed to think is unwarranted stress.

But NPR apparently never even thought to interview some college-age U.S. citizens who didn’t get a chance to go to Harvard because 40 or more illegal immigrants are there instead. The network obviously has no moral or “fairness” problem with that.

I also read and hear constantly about politicians, playing to their base, vowing to try to inhibit Trump’s enforcement of immigration laws because it is “inhumane” and “hateful.”

What I don’t see them doing is filing legislation to change the laws to comply with their definition of “fair.” If they really want to “build bridges instead of walls” at the borders, if they think any foreigner who comes into the country ought to be allowed to stay and receive benefits like health care, education, workers’ rights, etc., they should file a bill. If they think people ought to be able to choose what laws to obey, file a bill that says so. And then go on the record and vote for it.

Trump’s vow also ought to be put in context. When it comes to rhetoric about enforcing immigration laws, he has company – Democratic company.

You probably haven’t heard it, but Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and then Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton – some of Trump’s most vocal critics – voted in 2006 to authorize funding to build a wall on the Mexican border.

You probably also haven’t heard – at least not in the last decade – a speech on illegal immigration by a beloved Democratic icon that was, if anything, more aggressive than Trump’s rhetoric.

Here’s just a portion of it:

“All Americans, not only in the states most heavily affected, but in every place in this country are rightly disturbed by the large numbers of illegal aliens entering our country.

“The jobs they hold might otherwise be held by citizens or legal immigrants. The public services they use impose burdens on our taxpayers. …

“(We are) hiring a record number of new border guards (and) deporting twice as many criminal aliens as ever before, by cracking down on illegal hiring, by barring welfare benefits to illegal aliens … (and) we will try to do more to speed the deportation of illegal aliens who are arrested for crimes, to better identify illegal aliens in the workplace …

“We are a nation of immigrants, but we are also a nation of laws. It is wrong and ultimately self-defeating for a nation of immigrants to permit the kind of abuse of our immigration laws we have seen in recent years, and we must do more to stop it.”

Those were the words of President Bill Clinton in his 1995 State of the Union address. Those words got a standing ovation, not violent protests accusing him of bigotry, xenophobia and hatred.

That’s because they weren’t any of those things. And Trump is none of those things, either, when he calls for enforcement of immigration laws.

Taylor Armerding is an independent columnist. Contact him at t.armerding@verizon.net.

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