Imagine the outrage if an American President slammed his predecessor for being too soft on immigration.
Imagine he said he was signing an Executive Order ‘to reverse years of neglect at the border’.
He goes on to praise the fact that under his leadership ‘We are deporting record numbers of criminals and other deportable aliens’ and talks about a tide of illegal immigration.
To stem the tide his Executive Order strengthens the laws which prevent Federal contracts from going to businesses that knowingly hire illegal workers, after all, as he says ‘American jobs belong to American workers’ and he is ‘…determined to restore the rule of law to our Nation’s immigration system.’
Well, by now you might already be organizing your protest. You’d be a bit late mind, given that those were the actions of President Bill Clinton in 1996. At the time, I don’t remember a murmur of dissent from Concerned of California and Horrified of Hampstead.
But that was a long time ago.
OK, perhaps we can look at 2014 when the sitting President oversaw a refugee system which allowed 105 Syrian refugees to seek shelter in the Land of the Free. 105. Outraged? Well at least President Obama did crack open the big heart in 2015 when more than 1,000 Syrian were given shelter from a worsening war about which he did nothing except issue red lines and then pretend he hadn’t. In 2016 there was substantial help for the Syrian refugees, but it was too little too late for many.
Of course, by then he’d already enacted a 6-month suspension of allowing in Iraqi refugees. That was back in 2011. But in his last year in office, the President who had overseen a massive increase in drone strikes abroad, and deported more Hispanics than George Bush, doubled down on 8 years of tough action.
His Department of Homeland Security beefed up the 2015 Visa Waiver Program and added ‘Libya, Somalia, and Yemen as three countries of concern, limiting Visa Waiver Program travel for certain individuals who have traveled to these countries.’ The existing countries were Iran, Iraq, Sudan, and Syria. Sound familiar?
Now, apart from the Iraqi ban none of this is as draconian, nor indeed as ham fisted, as the White House’s dismal display over the weekend to get its story straight, nevertheless this was pretty tough stuff and had it been enacted by someone whose name begins with T and who has an unfortunate manner I suspect there may have been global howls of protest and indeed letters written to the Times. (other newspapers are available).
But no. Silence. The great and the good are often so locked into their world view, and narrative, of selecting outrage according to the person who carries out the perceived crime, that they stood silently by as Obama unleashed the dawn raid squads to deport Hispanics and drone the villages of the North-West Frontier.
So, by all means clutch your pearls to your throat and call for the smelling salts before gathering at a protest to show your solidarity against these draconian measures taken by a vain, blustering ill-informed man. But remember, if you’re asked ‘What did you do in the Great Push Back War Daddy?’ reply – ‘Well, for 8 years I did absolutely nothing.’