By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – I’ve never really understood why immigration issues drive people so crazy. Since all of us who aren’t Native Americans are immigrants or the descendants of them, the notion of people coming here seeking a better way of life seems not just benign, but a central part of being an American.

But between real problems that immigration can sometimes cause to our culture’s apparently built-in fear of immigrants, we have a long history of turmoil surrounding them.

Did you know Massachusetts was a hotbed of support for the so-called Know Nothing anti-Catholic movement in the 1850s? Their bigotry is part of a regrettable American tradition that runs through the Ku Klux Klan to the birther movement.

Who wants any stone left unturned in the work of screening immigrants or refugees for signs of terrorist intent? Not me.

But an effort to make good on a Trump campaign promise to tighten up the vetting process seems to have been executed with a haste and ideological zeal unsuited to such a sensitive and complicated issue.

People gather at Copley Square January 29, 2017 in Boston to protest President Donald Trump's sweeping executive order, which restricts refugees and travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries. (Photo credit RYAN MCBRIDE/AFP/Getty Images)

People gather at Copley Square January 29, 2017 in Boston to protest President Donald Trump’s sweeping executive order, which restricts refugees and travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries. (Photo credit RYAN MCBRIDE/AFP/Getty Images)

They’ve appointed a good man to run Homeland Security, Gen. John Kelly. They couldn’t give him a week or so to get his feet wet and make sure this new refugee ban would be executed properly?


Before Friday’s rookie mistake, the Trump administration seemed to be making progress in consolidating business and political support. Now, after one arrogant spasm, potential allies are furious with them.

Immigration is one of those perennial hot-button issues.

When you carelessly meddle with it, it seems, you can get burned.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

Comments (13)
  1. Jon, I am sure that Homeland Secretary Kelly signed off of these immigration executive orders.

    I would also point out that President Trump was acting under the authority given to him by statute and in accordance with the enumerated power in our Constitution given to the federal government.

    It is typical for any change that is implemented to be greated with such criticism as your are directing towards these move. And that criticism tends to be both hyperbolic and emotionally driven with little regard to that fact that change, however small, is going to impose a period of learning to adapt to what is new.

    This sort of reaction would happen no matter when President Trump, or any other president for that matter, actually started to change our immigration policy, and no matter what that change included or implied

    My overriding point here is that if anything can be taken from the 2106 election, it is that the country wants change, not just talk about change.

    Trump is making changes.

    I am reminded of the maxim in the military command realm: Make a decision. Make right one, or make a wrong one. If it is in error, it can be corrected. But MAKE A DECISION.

    I for one approve of Trump’s actions. Maybe this will foster REAL DISCUSSIONS and DECISIONS on policy and legislation to correct what is wrong with our immigration affairs…And we are ALL in agreement that the immigration situation is a REAL MESS.

    In closing, I would like to remark about the left getting all wee-weed up after eight years of dithering when someone in government actually starts enforcing the laws that are on the books.

    You do believe in the Rule of Law, do you not? I know that I do.

    You do understand what the Rule of Law means, don’t you? I know that I do.

    1. bees_knees_6 says:

      Why are you sure Kelly signed off. Do you have proof? That is quite an assumption. I have heard grumblings that Kelly, Mattis and Tillerson were not on board. You approve of denying access based on religion? I am surprised. I thought you knew the constitution. You approve of denying access to countries who have never produced a person to cause death on our land? You approve of leaving out the countries of known terrorists who have caused deaths? The former of course has no Trump financial interests; the latter does. You approve of a step that will put every American in far more danger, especially those abroad? Have you noted the letter written by our diplomats? Funny, I thought you didn’t like the embassy attack under Obama so am surprised to find you approve of putting every embassy on order.

      So if you approve of all of that, which clearly you do, I also thought you claimed to be a businessman. Do you typically put policies into place without notifying those who work with you of the plan or even having a plan? Do you use blanket policies without the understanding that there are always exceptions…..such as individuals who saved the lives of American military and to whom we pledged OUR protection?

      Also, Trump went against the orders of a Federal judge. You feel that is acceptable?

      If you would start and the top and respond, I would greatly appreciate it.

      As bonus questions… you believe the innauguration crowd you saw or the one that Trump showed? They were not the same. Do you believe his comment that all went smoothly this weekend with his new plan or what your eyes showed? Do you believe that Delta’s computer problems caused the mayhem at the airport ….if so it would be proactively since the problem didn’t occur until Sunday night.

      1. Yes, Bees…I agree with Trumps action and applaud his courage to stand to the guns that The People provided him in the last election.

        Isn’t it refreshing that we have a President is keeping his campaingn promises.

        As for changing policies? Of course I have changed policies and done it using blanket policies without consulting those working for me. My job was policy, theirs was making it happen. It they weren’t comfortable with it or worked to undermine my decisions, they were gone without any discussion. (The first departure usually enhanced future compliance and comprehension. And most, within a few weeks, were aware of the efficacy and reasonableness of the change.)

        You need to remember, any battle plan…or political policy…never survives the first shot. Of course there will be adjustments and revisions, and the measure is whether or not those adjustments and revisions are made in a timely manner.

        As battle plans go, Trump’s action appears to have gone more smoothly than most, with about only slightly more than 100 actually caught up in the process. (See: Obamacare Roll-Out which was more “thoroughly planned” and more adequately funded than any project other then war or the Marshall Plan.) I do note that revisions are being made to allow green card holders through and to address the confusion about dual citizenships (passports of convenience).

        We have had, of course, the usual whining and whinging from people, like you, for whom substantive change is difficult. I am not sure whether it is just and aversion to change or something more fundamental. What is clear is that none of the whingers are offering constructive criticism, and that ALL of them had the ability to adderss these issues while the Obama administration was dithering and waffling.

        It’s time that you begin to understand that Trump is changing what is being done. You are free to disagree with the policies that he is adopting and the instructions he is giving.

        As I said to Steve Stein when Obama was elected, time will tell whether or not The President is able to govern. That statement is as true today as it was then and as it has been ever since our country began to function.

        Time will be the arbiter of Trumps actions and I find it both premature and disingenous for you who have strenuously endorsed Obama’s right to set policy to now object to policy being set by a president, duly elected according the Constitution of the United State and subjected to several attempts as coup d’etats, to be so bitter and inconsistent.

        Immigration is a real problem in this country. Everyone agrees it needs to be addressed, and everyone recognizes that the laws of immigration have been both flauted and ignored by immigrants, government officials, and our political leaders for at least a generation…

        And you are complaining when someone actually does something about it?

        How disingenuous of you.

      2. bees_knees_6 says:

        We can talk when you stop reporting my comments. Children are not worth my time. And please do not say it isn’t you and your kiddie friends.

  2. Oh Jon, where’s the burn? Better to implement protective strategies sooner than later or worse not at all. My guess is that folks on the left don’t like demonstrating after the fact. The only people in your article that got burned were the Native Americans. Their immigration policy was a failure. Let’s not let history repeat itself here again.

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