In 35 years working as a lawyer for immigrants in Arizona, the past 16 as a public defender in bordering Pima County and longtime legal advisor in the Keep Tucson United group, Margo Cowan has never seen a so cruel time like this. “It is, in his words,” the inhumanity“.
The statement of charges against the first four years of the mandate of Donald Trump that Cowan listed a few days ago sitting in a conference room of the Public Defender’s Office is extensive and includes the same elements that have horrified and outraged lawyers and human rights organizations and many Americans: the separation at the border of 5,500 children from their families (in 545 of whose cases still the parents have not been located deported), tortuous detention conditions worsened during the pandemic, the militarization of the border, the assaults on the law of Barack Obama that removed the threat of deportation for the so-called “dreamers” who came to the country as children without papers, the dismantling of the asylum and refugee process …
It’s all part of what Cowan, and she’s not alone, identifies as a “racist agenda“In the matter of migration that is dictated from the White House. In its design the role of Trump’s adviser to Stephen Miller has been fundamental, indicated by groups such as the Southern Poverty Law Center for his proven affinity with white supremacism. And on his target are all immigrants: with and without papers.
Trump has left immigration on a much more secondary plane in this campaign than he did in 2015 and 2016, when the construction of the wall on the border with Mexico was one of its axes. It has to do with the fact that some of the policies that he has applied have reduced support among moderate Christians and, especially, among conservative women highly educated and from metropolitan areas. Also that there is 23 million immigrants with the right to vote in these elections. And for someone who has built a physical wall but also one invisible against legal immigration (that has reduced by almost half in these four years) it is difficult to sell this program to the electorate.
The public argument is that it seeks to establish a migration system based exclusively on the meritocracy, but after recent actions such as limiting the time of visas for students or exchange scholars, as well as journalists, there is a radical hardening of their policies. And if Trump gets a second term, that radicalization would be even more intense.
Miller aims to end automatic citizenship that now get all born in the USA, do more demanding exams to achieve citizenship, end the Temporary Protected Status that has already been reduced by the Republican Administration and completely eliminate the admission of refugees, already lowered to historical minimum levels, with a limit set for 2021 at 15,000 people. “Under this president everything is possible, the laws are not respected“Cowan warned before news of the plan leaked.
The radical immigration policies emanating from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue open a path for Joe Biden to win votes, and not just from those touched directly or indirectly by those policies. And although the democrat faces challenges, especially given the record number of deportations that took place under Barack Obama or the failure of that Administration to achieve the promised immigration reform, is making a speech of contrition and amendment.
“We made a mistake“The former Obama vice president said in his last debate with Trump, who in an unusual step seemed to hold the Democratic president responsible for the failure to achieve immigration reform.” I will be president, not vice president, “he said in that face to face.
Biden, who is accompanied on the ticket by Kamala Harris, daughter of immigrants from India and Jamaica, has promised that if he wins he will send in his first 100 days to Congress a proposal that puts in the path of citizenship to 11 million people estimated to live without documents In U.S.A. Also, that it will ensure that route immediately for the “dreamers“. On his agenda, he also appears to return to increase reception to 125,000 refugees and, above all, return basic humanitarian parameterss to immigration policy. “We can secure borders without treating immigrants as less than human beings“, has declared.
Cowan is looking forward to this election, and something else. “I’ve never seen so much enthusiasm in the community for throwing out a president as I see in front of Trump, “said the lawyer. And although in her description of these four years words like”torture“and descriptions of horrors and fear that have been imposed, for the future she opted for the optimism. “Everything works as a pendulum“, he recalled,” nothing ever stands still. “