Sunday, March 13, 2016

I am an immigrant

In this current moment of American political life, when immigration is the definitive topic of the presidential election, I feel increasingly compelled to state boldly, in the belief that it may do some good among my friends, family, and acquaintances: I am an immigrant. I was born outside the United States and became a citizen only as a child. As such, my sympathies and principles are on the side of American immigrants of all kinds, and my allegiance is owed both to the United States and to the many Americans who have chosen to become its citizens during the course of their lifetimes.

International adoption is a form of immigration, although it is not always recognized as such. But the facts are indisputable. International adoptees are born in one country, and adopted into another. The word "immigration" tends to bring to mind acts of will—we visualize adults moving from one place to another. But immigration laws directly affect adoption policies. From the very beginning of mass international adoption, American immigration law had to be rewritten in order to accommodate adopted children. The historian Arissa Oh explains that in order for adoption from Korea to become possible, the 1952 Immigration and Nationality Act had to be passed, overcoming 75 years of legislative bans on immigration from Asian countries, and more than a century of discrimination against Asians. Cases like Adam Crapser's—an adult Korean-American adoptee who is at risk of deportation to South Korea because his parents never finalized his naturalization, despite the fact that he was adopted when he was three years old and speaks no Korean—show that all international adoptees depend on the grace and good will of functioning immigration laws for their legal presence as citizens in this country.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

To my Trump supporter friends

From Wikipedia
Dear friends who support Donald Trump's presidential candidacy,

I'm writing because, with humility and respect, I'd like to ask you to reconsider your voting plans—whether tomorrow on March 1st, later on March 15th, or, if it comes to pass, on November 8th. I want to emphasize humility and respect: I don't think you're dumb, and I know that you care greatly about the future of our country. There are lots of reasons why someone would be moved to support Donald Trump.

But from a position of civic concern similar to yours, I feel obligated to insist that Donald Trump's proposals and candidacy are not good solutions to the problems that I've heard supporters cite most frequently as their main concerns. Actually, those solutions would, I believe, have the effect of making all those problems worse. The style in which he conducts his campaign isn't going to fix anything either—whether in the general election or the Presidency. There is no good evidence that he plans on changing his policies or personality if elected. In the absence of any evidence, I have to believe he's serious. And I've concluded that would have terrible results for the country.