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.
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: