Saturday, January 28, 2017

Open doors, slamming gates: The tumultuous politics of U.S. immigration policy

In his farewell address to the nation in 1989, President Ronald Reagan told the story of a Navy sailor patrolling the South China Sea who came upon a “leaky little boat” crammed with refugees from Indochina trying to find a way to America.

“Hello, American sailor,” a man in the boat shouted up to the Navy vessel. “Hello, freedom man.” Reagan couldn’t get that moment out of his mind because of what it said about what the United States meant — to those who live here and to the rest of the world.

But history reveals that even as the United States moved from the restrictive immigration policies of a century ago to Reagan’s advocacy of an open door to refugees, public opinion has oscillated. President Trump’s move Friday to bar entry into the United States for residents of seven majority-Muslim countries harks back to a period when the U.S. government regularly banned immigrants and refugees from countries whose people were considered inferior, dangerous or incompatible with American values.

Trump’s executive action marks the first time a president has sought to bar people because of their nation of origin — or their religion, as only Muslim-dominated countries are included in the order — since the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act scrapped national-origin quotas, putting the focus instead on immigrants’ skills and personal connections to Americans.

“This is a paradigm shift,” said David Bier, who studies immigration policy at the Cato Institute, the libertarian think tank. “This is an explicit rejection of the approach that George W. Bush and Barack Obama embraced, in which a big part of the war on terror was to bring in allies, to prove we’re not waging a war on Islam and to show that we’re an open society toward Muslims.” - Read More

Open doors, slamming gates: The tumultuous politics of U.S. immigration policy


Post a Comment

<< Home