“On Immigration, Biden’s First 100 Days and Trump’s Last 100 Days Are Hard to Tell Apart,” was the headline above a recent Jacobin story by the always interesting Branko Marcetic. I’m on the road reporting much of today so I hope neither Marcetic nor Jacobin mind that I’m going to mostly just pull a few paragraphs out of the story and turn it into a Washington Babylon story before heading out the door.
I liked the Jacobin story a lot because, as Tana Ganeva and I were discussing yesterday, liberals and many further to the left pretty much suck on immigration. Sure, you expect Donald Trump, Steve Bannon, Tucker Carlson and other race baiters to oppose more open borders — though even those cretins dress up their racism with talk about tightening up the border in order to protect jobs of poor workers, people they don’t give a rat’s ass about — but it’s more distressing when the libs climb aboard this ugly bandwagon.
Let me say here that I think the issue of immigration is complicated and don’t think all those who take a hardline against it are racists or retrograde. That would be stupid because I have Black friends who are ardently anti-immigration. I don’t believe people who disagree with me are automatically evil, as many people poisoned by social media seem to these days, and I’ve heard smart critiques of Open Borders. But let’s face it, a lot of the anti-immigration zealots are racist cranks.
I’ll also admit that I’m disposed towards more open borders than some people might be because of my personal history. My grandmother came to this country in the early-1900s, fleeing a Jewish ghetto near Kiev. Many of my family came from Central Europe — at least the half who weren’t murdered by the Nazis — before and after World War II. My ex-wife’s mother came to the US from the Dominican Republic, and she made it here during a harrowing, heroic ordeal. I have two (ridiculously brilliant, and I’m not even being biased here) children who are half-Dominican.
But I’m OK debating the topic and can be swayed on some issues. What I’m not OK is with the repellent Tucker Carlson endorsing “White Replacement” theory and stirring up his racist base by exploiting the topic. I’m also not OK with liberals opposing immigration, when many of these people had family who came to the US from abroad during prior generations.
The worst are liberal environmentalists who oppose immigration, claiming that nature must be preserved and — this is openly racist and in league with far-right eugenicists — who point to allegedly high birthrates among more recent immigrants and how that threatens “population control.” That’s code for dark-skinned people, though I seriously doubt Latin Americans and Africans coming to the US now have more babies than Irish and Italian Catholics, for example, who arrived here a century ago. (The Sierra Club long had an atrocious, racist record on immigration but more recently has begun to rethink its past.)
Sure, the world changes and policies must adapt, but much of the opposition to less restrictive policies on immigration is promoted by hypocritical liberals (sorry for that redundancy) whose lighter-skinned ancestors came to the US but who now would prefer to keep darker-skinned immigrants out (sorry to be a bit repetitive but it really pisses me off). What’s worse, many of today’s critics bitterly opposed Trump’s border wall, but are now busily apologizing for Biden’s policies, which thus far are atrocious.
Which brings me back to Marcetic’s Jacobin story. Here’s his second and third paragraphs:
On immigration and the border, Biden has continued a number of the most shocking Trump-era policies, policies that were widely labeled racist, irrational, and even fascistic when Trump pursued them — right down to continuing to build Trump’s border wall. It’s fitting, given that Trump’s own immigration policies were an escalation relative to the Democratic administration that preceded him, in which Biden served. And it suggests a more long-term bipartisan consensus on the matter that should put anyone appalled by Trump’s policies at unease.
Biden’s rightward shift on immigration shouldn’t be entirely surprising, not just because this kind of thing has been his political MO for decades, but because the Democratic administration he himself served in before Trump came along laid the groundwork for much of what he did. And that might be the most worrying part.
I’m running late so I’ll leave it there. Read the rest of the article here.