My biological family are Cambodian refugees who fled the devastation and genocide committed by the Khmer Rouge. They came to America because, like many other immigrants and refugees, it is the land of opportunity where they could raise and provide for their families far from the fear of war, famine, hunger, and persecution.
But it is also a matter of collective responsibility. US foreign policy for the last century has created great upheaval and instability in countries and regions all over the world - whether it be Southeast Asia, Central America, or the Middle East.
I truly believe that it is the right thing to do and the responsible thing to do to allow immigrants, asylum seekers, and refugees to pursue their lawful claims for residency and citizenship in a fair, compassionate, and timely fashion.
We cannot let what it means to be moral be monopolized by those with an agenda to oppress, suppress, and repress. Morality shouldn’t just be about what we CAN’T DO, but what we CAN DO together. A moral people keeps families together to the extent possible; helps feed the hungry and provide shelter to the homeless. A moral people will fight for a government that represents, defends, and lifts up the weak, the broken, and the downtrodden.
The passage of the Real I.D. Act stripped away many safeguards and imposed credibility determinations, allowing personal biases of immigration officers and judges to factor in.
Yes, America is a shining city on a hill. But the light is from a thousand fires fanned by the convergence of multiple storm fronts: A growing, white supremacist movement; a white, male demagogue all too happy to exploit its violent tendencies and rhetoric; anti-immigrant fervor; anti-Muslim sentiments; protectionism; isolationism; and systemic, blatant, and latent racism. Unfortunately, this list is not exhaustive.
The weakening of the Federal government's plenary power occurred with each new wave of immigrants, it seems. I cannot go into every wave of immigrants, so I've created an infographic laying out the major waves of immigration, what major events correlated with them, and some of the responses to them.