BOSTON (CBS) – Now that the feds have announced they won’t need to be shipping non-resident children from the border up to Massachusetts after all, let’s take a moment to reflect on the lessons of our summer-long swim in the toxic waters of immigration politics.
The problems began in early July when federal and state officials were forced to admit they lied to the public about an increase in federal charter flights arriving here with immigrant detainees from the Southern border.
This fueled the worst fears of those who already mistrust the government and are susceptible to nativist fear-mongering.
Then in mid-July, the feds asked states if they’d be willing to temporarily house unaccompanied minors who’ve been flooding the border seeking escape, in many cases, from violence back home.
Local officials in places like Lynn and Bourne raised perfectly legitimate questions about just how temporary these new arrivals would really be and who would pay for their care in the short- and long-term.
Asked about their issues, Gov. Patrick chose to get all emotional and essentially demonize those valid concerns by doing so. This unnecessarily but predictably inflamed both the loudmouths on the extreme anti-immigration right and their political counterparts, who made fools of themselves by heckling officials at a Beacon Hill meeting trying to sort out the mess.
And now we know all that venom was for nothing.
Both sides of this endless demagoguery need to back off and listen to those at the center, compassionate and pro-immigrant but honest about the issues it raises.
Otherwise, we’ll be back in this cesspool of anger and grievance again before you know it.
Listen to Jon’s commentary: