July 17, 2018- Yesterday, President Trump met with Russian President Putin. They talked privately for hours then, after a working lunch with their advisers, they answered questions from the press. Media reports and commentary give the impression that the entire meeting was about Russian meddling in U.S. elections, and Trump’s performance was inept or worse. But while meddling in our elections is a real concern, and Trump’s dismissive response to questions was upsetting, much more substantive issues were probably discussed by the two leaders.
Russia’s Putin and North Korea’s Kim are not ordinary adversaries. They need to be dealt with as adamant aggressors. Their personal obsessions and related national goals must be identified and related to our national interests. If there’s a conflict, we must prevent them from realizing their goals, or we must forgo our own. We must deal from strength. They will exploit our weaknesses, including political divisiveness and identity politics. Media reports such because it’s news, and opponents of President Trump trumpet it because it suits their agendas.
Words are important. But Trump should resist obsessing over perceived personal attack. Actions are much more important, and accomplishments so far in his presidency provide confidence that results of his negotiations with Putin will be positive. Listen to the Interview:Podcast - July 17, 2018
June 25, 2018- News photos of children at the border elicit sympathy from almost anyone who sees them, but it will take more than sympathy to solve our problems at the southern border. Under U.S. law, these children are “illegal aliens” (‘undocumented immigrants’ is the socially-preferred term). They are refugees seeking asylum in America (a request they articulate with precisely uniform words). Under the Refugee Act of 1980 asylum is granted to any such alien whose “life or freedom would be threatened on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.” Such “credible threat” must be found as relates to each individual (not group) seeking asylum, or that person must be deported.
The evolving process of adjudication has been in place during the administration of six U.S. presidents, but in the last decade annual asylum claims have risen from about 1,000 to more than 65,000. Many believe the surge has been fueled by the Obama administration’s policy of “catch and release” whereby claimants have been quickly released into American society and rarely appear for scheduled hearings to determine whether probable cause exists. The current rhetoric seems more involved with the short-term interests of the speaker/writer than with long-term national interests of the country. Listen to the Interview:Podcast - June 25, 2018
March 22, 2018- The country and Congress are so polarized that significant immigration legislation is unlikely. We get a constant stream of immigration-related positions and acronyms, most of which reflect some particular agenda or special interest. There is no national or bi-partisan consensus, and most proposed changes to immigration law are merely tinkering. They can’t even stand on their own; they have to be attached to some unrelated legislation. These days, “bi-partisan” means getting a handful of the minority to go along.
History of the Hart-Celler Immigration Reform Act of 1965 illustrates what it will take to get significant reform. In 1952, President Truman ordered a blue-ribbon panel to study immigration policy. The report came out a year later and, ultimately, proposed much of what became law in 1965. In the interim, President Eisenhower raised broad public awareness by vigorously enforcing immigration law, President Kennedy responded to outcries against racial bias by proposing civil rights and immigration reform, and President Johnson pushed Hart-Celler through the 89th Congress. Even though the Democrats had an overwhelming majority of both houses, passage required bi-partisan support; the Act got 85% of the Republican vote.
History seems to suggest we won’t see significant changes to immigration law very soon. Listen to the Interview:Podcast - March 22, 2018
January 10, 2018- Observed that yesterday's White House meeting on immigration included discussion of chain migration, the core element of our current system. This is significant because, even though it's the most problematic element, discussion of chain migration has been absent from political discussion until just a few months ago.
In addition to chain migration, the meeting addressed three other matters for priority action - resolving the plight of DREAMERS before scheduled cancelation of DACA, funding the wall (euphemism for strengthened southern border security), and ending the Diversity Immigration Lottery that issues 50,000 green cards each year to randomly-chosen people whose only qualification is that they don't qualify under other provisions of immigration laws.
Of significance, too, is what was not discussed - the RAISE ACT covers all these issues and more, but it's buried in House and Senate committees: Sanctuary Cities openly violate federal laws and thus weaken the Union, but congress will not enact direct legislation this election year. Listen to the Interview:Podcast - January 10, 2018
November 16, 2017- Discussed status of immigration; focused on sanctuary cities’ reactions to Trump’s threat to withhold federal funds if they don’t cooperate with ICE re detainers. Many/most sanctuary jurisdictions have doubled down (SAFE Cities Network has been established to “provide legal representation to immigrants facing deportation”). They argue that they must resist the enforcement of federal laws to protect immigrant rights, and to maintain cooperation between their immigrant communities and local law enforcement.
We examined how such represents more of the identity politics that are dividing our country. The reason is money and power; entrenched interests don’t want to give up either, so they’re resisting/blocking every Trump change initiative they can. Congress hasn’t acted on 98.2% of the immigration bills introduced this year; only three innocuous bills have become law. And they won’t. So Trump can only improve the immigration situation with executive tools including enforcing existing laws.
Court challenges have slowed down high-profile efforts, and considerable successes (at the southern border and elsewhere) are largely unreported. The outlook for next year is more of the same; Congress won’t act to reform immigration, resolve DACA, or aid enforcement in sanctuary jurisdictions. Listen to the Interview:Podcast - November 16, 2017
September 18, 2017- We talked about DACA and how it’s being used for political purposes; President Obama used it as a political football for enhanced political position after he couldn’t get Congress to act on immigration, and President Trump is using it as leverage to get Congress to act. Properly considered, the status of DACA youths – DREAMERS – should be resolved after a new comprehensive immigration policy is enacted. Four bills in Congress would advance that goal, but all have been ‘referred’ to committee.
It’s understandable that DACA youth and the millions other illegal aliens want to be in this country; more people worldwide are attracted to the ‘shining light’ that is America than to any other country. But we need to fix our entire immigration system, control who comes here, then resolve the status of those already here illegally … in that order. Call for everybody to contact representatives and senators to make that happen! Listen to the Interview:Podcast - September 18, 2017
August 31, 2017- Bill and Bruce talked about the RAISE Act (Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy) recently endorsed by President Trump. Ran down its main provisions that would cut the number of ‘green cards’ by about half in a few years: Elimination of the diversity lottery, cap number of refugees and limit family preference to spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens. A skills-based points system would prioritize potential immigrants based on education, English literacy, age, technical skills and experience, etc. Prospects for passage of such reform are not good; too many politicians and others seem to like things the way they are, and the noise from media focus on other issues drowns out sustained interest in immigration reform.
Also talked about Rise and Decline and how its call for action to revitalize America over the long run often falls on deaf ears. Listen to the Interview:Podcast - August 31, 2017
July 11, 2017- Bill and Bruce talked about sanctuary cities – the Naturalize NOW / sanctuary cities effort to naturalize 1,000,000 immigrants this year, and the new Texas law banning sanctuary cities in Texas. Recent news headlines that 21 sanctuary cities intend to naturalize a million illegal immigrants are incorrect and misleading. The Naturalize NOW campaign is nationwide. It aims to naturalize a million qualified immigrants, not illegals; the word ‘illegal’ was inserted into the story by some reporter or editor a few days after the original announcement. Recent naturalization numbers run a bit over 700,000 per year, so the 1,000,000 goal may be a bit of a stretch. Mayors of sanctuary cities support the campaign for various reasons including, no doubt, the value of a favorable political image among immigrants in their cities.
A jurisdiction acquires ‘sanctuary’ status by formally declaring that it will not cooperate with ICE in enforcement of immigration laws. Though the federal government is taking action to pressure sanctuary cities by withholding federal funds where it can, existing law and court challenges limit that initiative; real effectiveness will require new legislation. But Texas has enacted a law (SB4) that effectively bans sanctuary cities by requiring all law enforcement officials in Texas to honor ICE detainers for “violent criminals”. SB4 imposes penalties ranging from significant fines, jail time and removal from office for officials who refuse to comply. Listen to the Interview:Podcast - July 11, 2017
May 22, 2017- Bill Martinez introduced the new book, and we summarized its scope. The title Rise and Decline declares that all nations go through a cycle of birth-ascendance-maturity-decline and extinction. The subtitle Where We Are and What We Can Do About It brings that reality home to America. I listed the cases in the book that show how a nation’s founding principles are existentially critical to its rising, and how nations decline as their citizens get away from those principles. And I pointed out that the United Kingdom and United States are in decline.
Bill closed the first segment with an assertion that the United States was founded on Christian values, and we discussed that for most of the second segment. I referred to the words of the preamble to the Declaration of Independence: … all men are created equal … endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And I referenced the U.S. Constitution’s preamble: We the People … in order to establish justice … and secure the Blessings of Liberty. We listed some of the conditions that are eroding these principles, especially in our educational system and in our political preference for equality over liberty. Listen to the Interview:Podcast - May 22, 2017
March 8, 2017- Trump’s revised executive order on suspension of visas from middle-east countries is little changed from the one blocked by a judge. Iraq is no longer included in the temporary suspension, and present holders of visas are exempted. After a brief explanation of why it may be necessary for security reasons, I suggested it looks like just one part of President Trump’s immigration ‘deal’, the bottom line of which is comprehensive immigration reform.
During the second segment we discussed how we may be about to see a loosening of government control over our lives. The progressive mission manifests in disregard for founding values. We see it among citizens on the streets and in our institutions. We see it in the actions of teachers, professors and university administrators who go along with, and sometimes foment, demands to suppress points of view different than their own. We the people are the problem; we’ve let it happen. And we the people can change. But it won’t be a quick fix; it’ll take generations. Listen to the Interview:Podcast - March 8, 2017
January 27, 2017- We talked about Trump’s executive orders on immigration – they’re consistent with the policy displayed on his website, and with points made in his speech of 8-31-16. They cancel several orders and directions promulgated by Obama, and they activate or re-activate several Congressional provisions that had been set aside or ignored. They give a strong indication that laws will be enforced; specific existing law is cited for each action in these executive orders. We also talked about the populist ideas represented by these actions. They’re a turn away from the globalism and open borders pushed by progressives and liberals, toward the nationalism at the base of our founding principles. We agreed that we need immigrants, immigrants who accept our values and seek to assimilate into our society. Listen to the Interview:Podcast - January 27, 2017
November 29, 2016- We talked about the look of immigration under the Trump administration, and how it would be portrayed by liberal/progressive opponents. I suggested that enforcement of the law will redound to the benefit of all legal residents. We’ll see some of this very soon at the southern border with enhanced barriers (wall, fence, patrols, electronic) and the end of catch-and-release. We’ll also see it as regards faster removal of criminal aliens, sanctions on Sanctuary Cities that don’t cooperate and action on Kate’s Law. And we’ll see it with increased focus on and expulsion of visa overstayers, and actions against employers of illegal aliens. Listen to the Interview:Podcast - November 29, 2016
September 6, 2016- We discussed the immigration positions of Clinton and Trump, within the framework of three principles for successful immigration policy. Clinton is “committed to the immigrant rights community”; Trump says “immigration … must improve jobs, wages and security for all Americans”. Of the bullet points on the Clinton website, more than half (five) focus on improving the situation for illegal aliens (she doesn’t use that term). Of the ten points articulated in Trump’s policy speech of last week, eight focus on measures to end the illegal immigration problem. Neither have a lot to say about assimilation, but Clinton would “support immigrant integration” (she doesn’t use the word “assimilation) by creating a National Office of Immigrant Affairs. Trump says “we have an obligation to our (legal) immigrants and to their children to control future immigration … to ensure … assimilation, integration and upward mobility…” We agreed the two positions are starkly different, and that Americans must get out and vote. Listen to the Interview:Podcast - September 6, 2016
April 29, 2016- The Trump and Clinton positions on immigration are starkly different. Quoting from her web page, Clinton calls for “comprehensive reform with a pathway to citizenship”. From his web page, Trump wants comprehensive reform with a wall along the southern border. But his plan proceeds from an explicit national interest – “Any immigration plan must improve jobs, wages and security for all Americans” – and then insists that we must be a nation of laws; he lists 14 specific initiatives in support of that interest. Clinton’s list of what she will do in seven areas is more nuanced and focuses on the needs/interests of immigrants, both legal and illegal. Bill and I agreed that we must become again a nation of law; it will be painful, but it must be done. Listen to the Interview:Podcast - April 29, 2016
January 4, 2016- Donald Trump’s campaign just put out ads about immigration policy that indicate immigration should support a specific national interest – it must improve jobs, wages and security. Most campaign rhetoric on the right links immigration with security, insisting that borders be secured and existing laws be enforced before passing new laws. Perhaps in response, DHS has announced plans to begin deportation of hundreds (not thousands) of families who entered illegally last year and have been ordered deported by immigration judges. Obama’s plan to shield up to five million illegal aliens from deportation was the impetus for the huge surge of border crossing last year. That plan, challenged in court by Texas and 25 other states, was blocked in the courts. The Government appealed on technical grounds, and lost. Case will likely be heard by the Supreme Court this year. Listen to the Interview:Podcast - January 4, 2016
October 5, 2015- President Obama has announced plans to take in hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees under provisions of the Refugee Act of 1980. We talked about America’s response to these refugees. Donald Trump has charged (referring to Mexico) that ‘they send’ mostly undesirables. However, most refugees are good people seeking a better life … most, but not all. Our experience with the Vietnamese in the ‘70s shows that educated refugees who speak English and want to adopt American ways will assimilate rapidly. But many or most of the Syrian refugees are poorly educated, don’t speak English, and have no familiarity with free societies. Their numbers will include radical Islamists. So we should carefully vet them before they come, using skilled teams of Arabic speakers to select healthy, educated individuals with some English skills while rejecting higher-risk individuals. But we probably won’t. Listen to the Interview:Podcast - October 5, 2015
September 1, 2015- We talked about current political dialog on immigration, Donald Trump has opened the way to discussion of basic issues by refusing politically-correct limitations on his comments. The 'core principles' of his immigration plan include "A Nation that does not serve its own citizens is not a nation", and that’s very close to the first principle for successful immigration policy in my book. Immigration is becoming a prominent part of current political discussion beyond just illegal immigration. I mentioned that Bobby Jindal just yesterday stated firmly that immigrants must assimilate – another principle of successful immigration policy. We talked about how recent attacks on police officers flows from national disrespect for law, and we were in concert with our hope that this trend will soon be reversed. Listen to the Interview:Podcast - September 1, 2015
July 23, 2015- Discussion during first segment covered failures of elected officials to enforce immigration laws. I noted that reps and senators seeking re-election drone on how current system is broken, followed by some prescription to fix (part of) it. But nothing changes … of 101 bills introduced in congress this year, only 7 have been reported out of committee, and only 2 of those (both inconsequential) have come up for vote in the senate. We agreed that we have a culture of disrespect for the law, with ominous ramifications for the future of this country. In the second segment, we talked about what we, the people, can/should do. Change requires each of us to take responsibility for upholding the law. We must consistently obey it ourselves – don’t hire illegals, don’t look the other way when companies hire them, hold officials accountable when they ignore the law, even using the courts, etc. – and that isn’t always easy. And we must exact promises to uphold/fix the law from every official wanting our vote in 2016 then, if they don’t keep their promise, vote ‘em out in the next election. We wrapped up with expressions of hope that America will be preserved for our children and grandchildren. Listen to the Interview:Podcast - July 23, 2015
November 20, 2014- Show opened with discussion on President Obama's upcoming announcement of executive order to grant amnesty to 3-5 million illegal immigrants and issue them green cards. I posed question "why is he doing this?" and pointed out that existing naturalization law already provides for most of what he'll be ordering (but exluding criminal and security risks). Bill asked what Republicans should be doing. I opined they will fight it with the purse strings in the continuing resolution that will be needed by December 12. Bill hopes for legal action, and I pointed out Boehner has said he will initiate such, but not impeachment. We finished with commentary on Obama's narcissistic motivation. Listen to the Interview: Podcast - November 20, 2014
July 30, 2014- Bill summarized the immigration principles laid down in IMMIGRATION. Then he lamented that we refuse to look to these principles when considering our own immigration problems. I opined that a major reason we get caught up in the humanitarian aspects of the immigration mess is that we are humanitarian people; America has taken in more refugees than all other nations combined. Bill offered that we get so caught up that we don't consider the harm we're doing to Americans and immigrants in the longer run. After the commercial break we talked about the state of the nation as our leaders refuse to meaningfully address immigration and so many other serious events in the world. I observed that every policy does exactly what it's designed to do, whether intended or not. Our leaders refuse to change the total immigration policy, so they must want the current conditions to continue. Bill envisions a huge broom sweeping all elected officials out of Washington this fall. Listen to the Interview:Podcast - July 30, 2014
June 19, 2014- In the first segment, Bill and Bruce talked about the minors flooding across the border, what’s motivating them and some things that might be done about it – meaningful messages that they won’t be allowed to stay, then back them up with prompt actions, negotiate with Mexican President Nieto to get Mexican cooperation. After the commercial, we discussed what’s needed to fix the overall immigration policy. Bill quoted three principles from IMMIGRATION, then we discussed why this isn’t happening and the responsibility of our political leaders to make it happen. Bruce maintained we need a president who will get seriously engaged to bring about a joint committee of the House and Senate. The first order of business must be hearings on what national interests(s) are to be served by immigration. Listen to the Interview:Podcast - June 19, 2014
April 10, 2014- Bill and Bruce talked about respect for the law and deleterious impact of government actions flaunting the law. Covered Jeb Bush remarks – they reflect natural tendency to focus on micro matters and empathize with individuals’ situations. Introduced concept of macro focus and governments’ responsibility to the 300-million citizens as a whole. Mentioned Meyer Burstein’s quote, “Immigration mistakes are big mistakes. They don’t go away. They only get bigger.” Stressed need to have a national discussion of macro issues including family vs economic, asylum/refugees vs economic/security, immigration role vis-à-vis America’s declining birth rate. We sympathized with the emotional stress felt by immigration/border patrol officers. And we agreed that all focus now goes through filters of perceived political advantage … nothing of substance will get done until after elections – 2014 & maybe 2016 … by which time the problems will all be bigger. Listen to the Interview: Podcast - April 10, 2014
October 24, 2013- We noted President Obama's upcoming address on immigration, and whether it will reveal intention to work with Republicans ... or whether motivation is to deflect public attention away from problems with Obamacare. Also discussed Obama's agenda to fundamentally change the country, referencing Madison and de Tocqueville. I suggested constitutional convention to impose term limits is needed to limit DC obsession with re-election. Concluded with hopes for genuine and effective immigration reform. Listen to the Interview: Podcast - October 24, 2013
July 18, 2013- Bill and Bruce talked about democrat strategy of using immigration to gain votes, and why it works. We agreed SB.744 is dead, and that’s good; no action at all may be best outcome for 2013. Four bills approved by House Judiciary are good/gutsy, but almost certainly will die in Senate if they get that far. Talked about sanctuary cities as example of how we announce to the world that we do not enforce immigration laws … also how House bill would withhold federal funds from sanctuary cities. Listen to the Interview:Podcast - July 18, 2013
June 19, 2013- Talked about S.744 as not comprehensive – doesn’t significantly change the numbers or types of immigrants, includes some good elements (STEM, guest/agri workers, new merit-based preference, elimination of diversity lottery, DREAM), but farcical re enforcement. Biggest flaws remain (chain immigration, no education-skills-English requirements for most immigrants, no constraints on radical Islam entrants). Listen to the Interview: Podcast - June 19, 2013
May 10, 2013- Talked about S.744 – fuzzy national interests, increasing numbers of employment-based immigrants & total immigrants, lack of provisions to reduce ‘carrots’ for future illegals, politicizing immigration, attitudes of American Hispanics, etc. Listen to the Interview: Podcast - May 10, 2013
February 6, 2013- Bill and Bruce discussed the Senate ‘gang of 8’ proposal, House proposal, and unwillingness to address really tough elements of immigration policy to make it work for sincere immigrants. Listen to the Interview:Podcast - February 6, 2013
January 16, 2013- Bill Martinez and Bruce Thatcher talked about history of immigration in U.S. and problems with current system, including partisan rhetoric in Washington. Focused on need to make immigration policy serve national economic interests. Discussed assimilation and burdens placed on society from non-qualified immigrants. Listen to the Interview: Podcast - January 16, 2013
Check out general information on Bruce Thatcher, award-winning author of Rise and Decline: Where We Are and What We Can Do About It, Immigration: How to Avoid its Perils and Make it Work, and Adamant Aggressors: How to Recognize and Deal With Them.
You can also read a more detailed biography of him here, 'In His Words'.