Moulitsas: Shifting on migrants

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Over the course of many years, polling has consistently shown that the bulk of Americans — including sizeable numbers of conservatives — believe in legalization of our undocumented population.

For example, Pew Research has consistently found that that at least 64 percent of Americans supported “creating a way for immigrants already here illegally to become citizens if they meet certain requirements” in an annual immigration-related survey since 2012. Last October, the number was 74 percent. Meanwhile, 61 percent opposed building a wall.

{mosads}Yet that opposition was, for the most part, intellectual. If asked to vote on the issue, the vast majority of those supporters would vote the right way, but the issue didn’t resonate emotionally. And why would it? They were clearly moved by the plight of the undocumented, but too many other things affected them more directly. So when people turned out to protest lack of action on immigration reform, the crowds looked as you might imagine — Latino and Asian — the groups most directly impacted.

The popular-vote loser in the White House has changed that. Not only are tens of thousands marching throughout the country in favor of immigrant rights, but they’re even schlepping themselves to airports — places few visit willingly. And even more, they’re doing so in defense of Muslims, likely the nation’s most demonized group over the past decade. Suddenly, immigration isn’t an issue for immigrant communities, but one for all Americans.

It is inspiring to see so many marching with “no ban, no wall” signs in the streets, reacting to this vicious assault on the values upon which America was founded. The ban is racist, xenophobic, mean-spirited and divides families. The specific targeting of a religious group — on the same weekend the White House minimized the suffering of the Jewish people during the Third Reich’s Final Solution — offended those who value our nation’s religious liberties. Its haphazard implementation — federal agencies and congressional leaders weren’t even notified — betrayed the rank incompetence of Trump and his staff. And the initial defiance of judicial orders and his continued personal attacks on the judiciary reinforced Trump’s autocratic tendencies, refusing to play by the dictates of the United States Constitution.

The German newsweekly Der Spiegel depicted Trump beheading the Statue of Liberty on its cover — an instant viral hit and the perfect encapsulation of damage being done to both our nation’s most cherished values and our standing in the world. If anyone knows the dangers of a tyrannical regimes, it certainly is the Germans, and Trump’s actions, and that of his puppet master Stephen Bannon, have done little to assuage those fears. Meanwhile, if we wanted proof that Bannon’s white supremacist views would bleed into actual policy, the Muslim ban confirmed it. As he published at Breitbart, “The alt-right believe that some degree of separation between peoples is necessary for a culture to be preserved.” What better way to start that process than by blocking “undesirable” people — even those holding legal green cards — from entering the country?

Even if courts kill this executive order good and dead, much damage will have been done—this is no longer a country that embraces the energy and diversity of its immigrants. The Statue of Liberty is truly decapitated. And Americans are rightfully disgusted.

This is our real-life version of Martin Niemöller’s poem “First they came for the Socialists,” and at least this time, whether white, black, brown, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, atheist, urban, suburban or rural, we’re not letting history repeat itself.

Moulitsas is the founder and publisher of Daily Kos.

 The views expressed by this author are their own and are not the views of The Hill.
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