The Daily Dog: Locking the Golden Door

Yesterday, Donald Trump unveiled another agenda important to his personal goals, but relatively unwanted and unimportant to the rest of America. Instead of focusing on legitimate and complex issues facing the nation, Trump continues to assail America’s venerable history and heritage as a global leader in immigration policy. Many still consider Trump to be the head of the conservative right, when in reality he is only a figurehead for America’s centrist white.

In the media business, there is a long-accepted adage that, “If it bleeds, it leads.” The saying represents how sordid details appeal most to the masses. In appealing to his narrow-minded and widely bigoted fan base in Middle America, Trump is mimicking the press with a troubling unspoken motto for the White House: “If they ain’t white, they ain’t right.”


08032017 CanGeese
Trump announced that millions of migrant Canada Geese will be denied admission under his policy because they are “bad hombres.”

By rolling back civil rights and racial tolerance to a time before President Lyndon Johnson, Trump is rallying his minority of hate with the only he issue he knows will appeal to their simple views. He preys on decades — if not centuries — old fears, shouting from the podium about murder, mayhem, and rape, to stir his reality television fan club supporters. He uses the perception of a domestic threat to draw attention from the issues that he does not understand, has not learned about, and will never address because of his lack of experience, education, and comprehension.

Each time he suffers a failure of the slightest significance to the nation, Trump returns to beating up immigrants with policies that no one except his racists followers believe is of any political or moral value. Trump’s typical modus operandi is essentially nothing more than the behavior of an adolescent bully trapped in an old, fat, man’s body. When Trump cannot win on his own merits, which increasingly seems to be always, he cries about the rules. When he appears weak, he attacks someone even weaker than he is.

The irony in Trump attacking immigrants, however, is that most immigrants display more courage in their little finger than Trump possess in his entire flabby self. They arrive in a new country with limited resources and rudimentary knowledge of the language. They accept the challenges of a new world, a new life, and the itinerant struggles with zeal…and most are successful. Without his inheritance, gilded mansions, and luxury travel accommodations, Trump would be unable to face only for a day what many immigrants experience for a lifetime.

08032017 Malania RTSIn the entire Trump regime’s discussion about immigrant restrictions, merit-based admissions, financial security, and a fluent grasp of the English language, where does the anti-bullying advocate who recently moved to the White House stand? If Trump’s proposed immigration rules were in place when he purchased her from her Slovenian roots in 2005, Melania Trump may not have be eligible for admission to the United States.

Like the other Trumps, she has no marketable skills. Melania has “picked up” the language according to ABC News, perhaps slightly better than her husband has. And presently, she — like all Trumps — is a tick on the back of America’s taxpayers. She is everything that Trump railed about this week in his renewed attack on the immigrants he claims are ruining the country, except for one glaring fact: She is Trump’s white Christian eye-candy and that makes it okay.

The xenophobic Trump regime went so far yesterday to promote his outright attack on long-held American values, that it paraded neo-Nazi skin headed Stephen Miller at a press conference to denigrate the Statue of Liberty. Contrary to Miller’s assertion that the Emma Lazarus poem inscribed at the Statue’s foundation has no relevancy in American policymaking, the United States has always been a beacon for the less fortunate and the persecuted. American goodwill, tolerance, and freedom have forever been welcome mats for immigrants — from the penniless to the rich, from the educated to the ignorant, and from the spoken to the silent. America’s values are America’s policies, whether they originate in a time-honored poem or a bill on Capitol Hill.

Trump himself is only one generation removed from the very kind of immigrant family he now seeks to deny admission to by his policies. His mother arrived from Scotland in the 1930s with only $50, no education, and speaking English as a second language. His problem in addressing the question of immigration is not only one of his hypocrisy, but also his attacks on the fundamental values that made the country so great.

Trump will never have the humility to understand the lesson of, “I lift my lamp beside the Golden Door,” because he believes that through his money and privilege, he owns America. Her gifts, however, are neither to be possessed by one man; nor are they prizes to be awarded. With his alleged $3 billion net worth, Trump should have done himself — and the United States — a tremendous favor. He should have purchased a small island, where he could have declared himself king, and locked the door to his lonely castle.

The Daily Dog: Follow the Light

As the case of a Guatemalan mother taking sanctuary in a New Haven, Conn. church stretches to a sixth day, it highlights the serious discord developing among the contentious factions of local, state, and federal governments.

Nury Chavarria, a single mother of four, is an undocumented alien who has been living in the United States for 24 years. Rather than abandon her children as Homeland Security and ICE had ordered her to do, Chavarria acted on her motherly instincts and took refuge in Iglesia De Dios Pentecostal Church in New Haven — a sanctuary city in a sanctuary state.

Will Washington, D.C. see the light?

One of 13 undocumented aliens currently living in churches across the nation, Chavarria’s case is drawing national attention, not just for her bravery, but also as a symbol of states’ moral authority over the bureaucratic authority of the federal government.

In neighboring Massachusetts, state Rep. James Lyons (R-Andover) is watching the situation in Conn. and monitoring ICE activities in his own state. Following a Massachusetts’s Supreme Judicial Court ruling on Monday that held local police do not have authority to hold ICE detainees solely at the request of federal agencies, he is drafting legislation to change the rules in Mass.

Lyons and a minority group of republicans want to force Mass. police to aid ICE and detain aliens without any underlying criminal cause. The bill would allow arrest on a civil deportation warrant, essentially deputizing state and local police officers as federal agents. The state bill is expected to garner little support in a political atmosphere thick with disdain for Donald Trump and his fascist policies. It also challenges another Mass. bill under consideration that prohibits collaboration between federal immigration officials and state and local authorities.

A rift is widening between the federal and state governments that represents more than the 13 women and men living in churches across the country and immigration issues. With each attack on his own administration officials like Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Donald Trump’s fascist-edged regime is driving a divisive wedge deeper into this nation’s heart.

The discord swirling in Washington, D.C. is reaching beyond the West Wing and across the aisles of both houses. Moreover, it is demonstrating a fundamental lack of government policy and understanding from the executive branch that undermines its authority. With each instance of infighting between Trump and his appointees and advisors, he erodes state officials’ faith in the federal government to do the right thing.

The press and public have often criticized the Washington machine for errant policy making and for bowing to the power of the dollar. However, America has arrived at a point when D.C.’s moral compass is so broken, it may not be able to recalibrate itself.

As state and local governments — representing smaller communities with a closer perspective of right and wrong — become the guiding lights of a return to morally correct leadership, it will continue to water down federal authority. The states’ pushback against Trump’s erratic and self-promoting governing will hopefully reset Washington and save the integrity of the Republic.

While hundreds gather for candlelight vigils for a mother in Connecticut, the trembling flames burn not only for her, but also for a revival of unity, of morality, and of tolerance. The flickering candles in New Haven light the path back to the United States for her and for all of us.

A Beacon of Hope…

Yesterday, the municipal comptroller of the nation’s largest city made a bold announcement. During a news conference — with the Statue of Liberty struggling to stay proud and relevant as a background photo op — New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer unveiled a proposal to waive the $725 federal naturalization fee. The humanitarian plan will assist 35,000 New Yorkers on the difficult road to permanent citizenship.

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Of the city’s 8.5 million residents, almost a quarter million are eligible for naturalization. However, for many, the cost of the naturalization application prevents them from applying to become legal citizens. Under the proposal announced by Stringer, prospective applicants who earn between 150 and 300 percent of the federal poverty level would be eligible to apply for a waiver.

Financial hardship has always been associated with attaining American citizenship — early immigrants liquidated entire households to pay for the journey and establish themselves on the continent. None-the-less, poverty should never be the qualifying obstacle to those who wish to contribute to the ever-evolving American experiment, especially in a gateway city ranked ninth in the world for cost of living.

Lady Liberty remembers a time when she was closer to America.

At a time when anti-immigrant sentiment is running high in the White House, New York’s waiver program sends a timely and powerful message to the nation on a contentious and current policy issue: America is not an anti-immigrant nation. Friday’s bold policy statement hearkens to a time when the nation’s largest city for the past 240 years was also the country’s first capital — a city of progressive and positive thinking leaders who, themselves, were foreigners building a new land. Two centuries of time highlight the difference between the mouthpiece leadership of Washington, D.C. and the day-to-day reality leadership examples being exercised in New York City.

Surprisingly, the White House has been slow to tweet about the press conference, despite Stringer’s assertion that “President Trump’s misguided immigration policies” motivated him to adopt the proposed action. In addition to Friday’s policy announcement, New York City remains a sanctuary city with steadfast support from Albany to resist and fight the federal crackdown on sanctuary cities.

While there are different programs to offset the cost of naturalization for low-income and indigent citizenship applicants, the waivers offered on Friday target a middle-group caught in between those who cannot afford the fee and those who can. Typically, a family of three with a household income of less than $62,000 annually would be eligible to apply for the new waivers. According to Stringer, funding for the waivers will come from both taxpayer dollars and private contributions. Regardless of the source, the feds should have no complaints since they will still reap the fees for each person naturalized.

In a time when the nation is increasingly fractured over policy issues and political dissension, New York City is leading the way to unity and offering a constant reminder of what America is. It is a place where, regardless of race, religion, culture, heritage, sex, or income, a tiny, seemingly insignificant, individual can join a momentous, recognized, nation.  New York remains a place where every resident proudly proclaims, “I am a New Yorker.”

By the close of Stringer’s press conference, Lady Liberty appeared to be smiling just a little brighter — pleased that she watches over a place in the country where America is still great.