Donald Trump has poisoned the immigration debate by demonizing and vilifying both legal and unauthorized non-European immigrants as "criminals", "rapists", "gang members", "drug dealers", "terrorists" "animals" and "snakes" who are at the same time "stealing jobs" from Americans, that the days when immigration policy could be discussed in rational teems without using pejorative language against immigrants seem to belong to the distant past.

But there still are attempts to make the case against legal immigration, or at least for lower legal immigration, without sinking into the morass, or abyss, of hatred that has been coming out of the White House on an almost daily basis.

One such appeal to reason rather than emotion, and for looking at immigration more "objectively" is contained in an October 23 article in The Hill by University of Maryland professor Peter Morici, a respected commentator on immigration and on economic issues. In his article:

Americans must set aside their obsessions to fix immigration -immigration

Professor Morici condemns both "hard left" attacks on "the founders of our civilizations" and "hard right" resorts to "fear mongering and race baiting" regarding immigration. He urges us to "set aside our hateful obsessions with sins past and fight less among ourselves." All this is a welcome and gratifying effort to tone down an overheated debate and engage in a reasonable and respectful dialogue about immigration policy.

But are Professor Morici's own proposals on immigration entirely neutral and free from preconceived assumptions? Do they form a sound basis for US immigration policy looking toward the future? To answer these questions, it is instructive to take a closer look at his suggestions.

Morici begins this this dramatic statement:

"Mass migration poses an existential challenge to the West."

This opening sentence is reminiscent of Trump's statement at a July, 2017 speech in Poland that "protecting our borders" is the "fundamental question of our time...whether the West has the will to survive" - a speech that is widely assumed to have been written by Stephen Miller.

Morici's next sentence then makes clear where thi "existential threat" is coming from.

"Driven by climate change, corruption, conflict and poverty, hundreds of millions of people would like to migrate, mostly from the developing world, to America and Europe."

While this does not mean that Motici is opposed to all immigration, and while he later talks about welcoming immigrants - under certain conditions - and while he condemns racism as mentioned above, a legitimate question arises about whether the raising the specter of "mass migration" from what used to be called the "third world" is a good way to begin a neutral, dispassionate,objective discussion of immigration policy.

To the contrary, warning about "Mass Migration" from countries outside Europe brings back memories of a time in our history, from roughly 1890 to the 1920's, when discussions of immigration were dominated by talk of "hordes" of immigrants coming from places such as Southern an Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Asia, which were out of favor with large segments of the American population and political leasership at that time.

This does not mean that Professor Morici holds bigoted or prejudiced views about immigration. Definitely he does not. Later in his article he show why American needs immigrants, as will be discussed in Part 2 of this 2-Part comment. But beginning a discussion of immigration policy by stoking fears of mass migration from non-European areas of the world is not the best way to begin the objective an neutral discussion of immigration policy that Professor Morici obviously would like to conduct.

Raising these fears also fits in with the Trump-Miller goal of cutting off immigration to the US from outside Europe to the greatest extent possible, even though this is obviously not Professor Morici's goal, as will be discussed further in Part 2 of my comments..

Roger Algase
Attorney at Law