After two years of Trump in the Oval Office, the media have largely begun to accept his policies of cruelty, hatred and demonization targeting not only immigrants, but brown Americans too, as the new normal.

For example, his vile attack on and attempt to cut funding for American citizen Puerto Rican victims of the greatest disaster ever to hit that Island - one marked by horrendous failures and neglect by the federal government - goes beyond the words "utterly despicable".

See: Washington Post, March 25:

Puerto Rico faces food stamp crisis as Trump privately vents about federal aid to Hurricane Maria-battered island

Trump's open hostility toward Puerto Rican US citizens no longer leaves any room for doubt, if there ever was any, that Trump's cruel and inhuman agenda of demonizing and disparaging the rights of brown immigrants is part of a wider contempt and disregard for non-white people in general. See, Hispanic Federation (February 2, 2018)

President's Message: Trump's First Year in Office

However, while the media have largely given Trump a pass on his anti-immigrant bigotry while preferring to focus on more sensational, non-immigration related, issues - as in the past few days - there is at least one political leader who is calling on America to follow a different path on immigration - a path of tolerance, equality and respect for human tights.

For her efforts, she has been caricatured in the media as a "radical", "left wing extremest" or someone outside the mainstream of American policy discourse. To the contrary, she is someone who stands for the traditional American values of racial justice and the equality of all people - values which used to be respected in America before the Trump administration took office.

I refer to one of this country's newest members of Congress, a 29-year-old former waitress and bartender, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) also known as "AOC"

Representative Ocasio-Cortez, whose first name recalls one of the greatest classical centers of learning, wisdom, tolerance and diversity in all of world history, the city of Alexandria, Egypt, has expressed a diametrically different attitude to immigration from Donald Trump

Instead of Trump's vilifying non-white immigrants as "criminals" "terrorists" "MS-13" "drug dealers", "human traffickers" and "animals" who are "invading" and "infesting" America, and his trying to take money away from Puerto Rican hurricane relief and other badly needed projects benefiting middle and lower income Americans to pay for a 30-foot high border Wall of hatred and contempt, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recommends a different approach. In her words:

"No one should feel unsafe in the United States of America and that includes our amazing and beautiful and productive immigrant community."

And, supporting humanity over hate, she also says, in an obvious reference to ICE mistreatment of immigrants seeking asylum (and their children):

"And, moreover, the one thing the president has not talked about is that fact that he has systematically engaged in the violation of international human rights on our border."


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is Going After the Banks That Fund Immigrant Detention Centers

AOC also calls Trump out on his hypocritical assault against non-white legal immigration:

"He's fighting against almost every way that people can actually legally enter this country, forcing them to become undocumented and then he's trying to attack their undocumented status. It is wrong, and it is anti-American."

She adds:

"And again, those women and children trying to come here with nothing but the shirt on their back to create an opportunity and provide for the nation are acting more in an American tradition than the president is right now."

See, The Hill (January 8):

Ocasio-Cortez: Immigrants coming to US 'acting more in American tradition' than Trump

Certainly, attempts will continue by immigration opponents to depict Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as out of the mainstream or someone who is too radical to be taken seriously - especially based on her criticism of ICE's abuses. But she has been courageous, as few other politicians in either party have been, in pointing out Trump's endless lies about immigrants, as in the following:

"Not only that, but in the actual address there was falsehood after falsehood and we have to make sure we get the facts straight...Every day immigrants commit crimes at a far lower rate than native-born Americans."

It is not the purpose of these comments to support or oppose any candidate or party for any office. This is a blog about immigration, not politics. But there are two very different choices facing America on immigration law and policy today.

One is to continue Trump's agenda of falsehood and hate in an attempt to limit and roll back immigration from non-white parts of the world. The other is to move in a different direction - the direction of truth, respect, equality and support for the human rights of all immigrants, regardless of race, color, religion or nationality.

This is the way of Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. We can look forward to hearing much more from her about immigration in the near future.

Roger Algase
Attorney at Law