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Today our hearts are with members of Congress and their staffs, law enforcement, journalists and others directly affected by the storming of the U.S. Capitol and other congressional buildings by angry mobs.

Over the last few days, I have been thinking about why immigrants and refugees so want to come to the United States of America. Most of the time, we think it is for better economic opportunities, for a safer life.

As our nation has staggered through this transition period, as authoritarian forces here try to hold on to power, as authoritarians around the world act with greater impunity, I believe there is another reason immigrants and refugees come to the U.S. …

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Our most searing points in history are often defined by how we treat children. Particularly children who are alone.

In the last four years, the Trump administration’s separation of children from their parents left an indelible mark. New research we conducted in North Carolina begins to show the extent of family separation’s ripple effects among voters who once identified as evangelical Christians but no longer do.

In a question asking people to prioritize different immigration policy pieces, white former evangelicals rated “reuniting immigrant families separated at the border” most important with, “Ending family separation at the border,” ranking third.

Keep in mind that, “Keeping terrorists and criminals from entering the US” ranked second most important and “constructing a wall along the US-Mexico border” was least important for white former evangelicals. …

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Credit: Graphic Studios MH

The longest Tuesday of our lives is over.

We were a divided country in 2016. And, well, we are just as, if not more, divided now.

Even if an election night poll by Public Opinion Strategies found that “The President’s position on immigration was a net negative with voters,” the 2020 election was not a repudiation of Donald Trump’s ideology. While there is sure to be a debate among conservatives as to the direction of the party, Trumpism will define the GOP for the time being — at least until the 2024 Republican nominee for president emerges.

The Washington Post reports that the Biden administration is likely to move forward with a number of executive orders and regulatory changes to reverse many of the harms put forward by Trump. But, for at least two years (assuming Republicans hold at least one Georgia Senate seat), legislative change will require a bipartisan approach. …

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On the morning of November 9, 2016, I wrote, “[This] was an election about culture, values and who we are as a country.”

2020 is the same. The differences between the candidates’ visions for America could not be clearer.

While at this point, more Americans have voted for change than not, whether or not that leads to a new occupant of the Oval Office, we do not know. As a result, the federal government’s approach to immigration may not change.

What lies ahead is unpredictable and worrisome, on many levels.

On the other hand, looking past the election, there are things we know to be true, and people that give us a sense of what will be. …

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Credit: Brad Greeff

In just three years, the Trump administration has effectively ended asylum in the U.S. as we know it.

People with legitimate fears of violence and persecution are being returned to danger. We are failing to protect children from being trafficked, mistreated, or separated from their families. As the Arizona Republic has reported, the U.S. will begin charging a fee just to apply for asylum. …

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Credit: Ponomariova_Maria

Twelve days till the election and what topic is missing from the conversation? Immigration.

Think about where we were four years ago. Candidate Trump would not go a rally, much less a tweetstorm, without vilifying immigrants, refugees and immigration.

Sure, these days Trump breaks out the old tropes from time to time. But something has changed. Turns out his voters aren’t quite as exercised about immigration as he expected.

The Public Religion Research Institute’s new American Values Survey brings the change into stark relief.

In their 2016 American Values Survey, PRRI found that “[n]o issue is viewed by more Americans as important today than terrorism, with seven in ten (70%) saying it is a critical issue to them personally.” And, back then, just over four in ten Americans said immigration (44%) was an issue of critical importance. …

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The US Capitol

Over at The Bulwark+ (worth every dime of your subscription), Tim Miller went back to Jeb Bush’s 2015 campaign announcement where he said, “I am certain that we can make the decades just ahead the greatest time ever to be alive in this world.”

“It occurred to me sometime in the last few months that I’m not sure I believe that anymore,” Miller wrote. “There [is] just this sense that something has shifted, that we have crossed a threshold and maybe our best days are actually behind us.”

Well, Tim, I take your sense of foreboding and raise it with a snapshot of all-awful-things immigration since 2017. …

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Nogales, Arizona (credit: csfotoimages)

We enter the homestretch of a grueling election season during which millions of Americans are out of work, nearly 200,000 have died of COVID-19, 1 in 8 households do not have enough to eat, and the finish line, Nov 3rd, doubles as a starting line for another unpredictable phase of American politics.

After a few hot August weeks of turning our own strategic approach over and over in my head, I remain convinced there is a path — a difficult one — to systemic change.

Let’s talk about why.

Over at the Washington Post, Greg Sargent digs into recent ABC/Ipsos polling to suggest voters may be linking uniting the country with keeping the country safe, and “drawing a link between further dividing the country on one hand and … making us less safe on the other.” …

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Salinas, California — June 19, 2015: Seasonal farm workers pick and package strawberries. (Credit: iStock photo)


For the next year, my ability to Google will be ensured by the fact roughly 200,000 people across 50 countries are working from home.

And, I can like your Facebook posts for, well, forever, because Mark Zuckerberg “guesses as much as 50 percent of the company’s 45,000-person workforce could be working entirely remotely in the next five to 10 years.”

These may be private sector decisions. But they impact the public’s understanding of immigrants and immigration. And that leads policy makers to value the Google’r much more than the farmworker.

Look, as COVID-19 cases keep growing across California, the state’s tech industry and its nearly 1.8 million workers in 2018 — with over 805,000 of those jobs in San Francisco and San Jose — is doing fine. Their companies are growing, their bottom lines look great. …

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For The Bulwark, I wrote, “After nearly 50 immigration policy changes since COVID-19 arrived at our shores, and an untold number since President Trump came into office, he has brought immigration to the United States to a near standstill.

“In 100 days, the American people will decide how long the darkness will last.”

Read the full op-ed here.


Ali Noorani

President and CEO of National Immigration Forum and America is Better, author of There Goes the Neighborhood, host of the podcast, Only in America.

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