You may have read about Jeff Sessions’ recent lawsuit against California. Sessions is pursuing the Trump Administration’s vendetta against immigrants (ostensibly against undocumented immigrants, but with rhetoric that signals distaste for anyone–legal or not–who is less pale than a Norwegian), and he’s determined to overcome any obstacles to that task.

Vox explains the lawsuit. 

The Department of Justice has just filed a lawsuitagainst the state over three laws it passed in 2017 that limit government officials’ and employers’ ability to help federal immigration agents, and that give California the power to review conditions in facilities where immigrants are being detained by the feds. Sessions, in a Wednesday speech to the California Peace Officers’ Association, a law enforcement union, is giving the message in person.

It’s a huge escalation of the Trump administration’s fight against “sanctuary cities” that limit local-federal cooperation on immigration enforcement. After a year of slow-moving or unsuccessful attempts to block “sanctuary” jurisdictions from getting federal grants, Sessions is moving to stop them from passing laws that limit cooperation to begin with. And he’s starting with a shot across the bow: targeting the bluest state in the union, whose 2017 bills represented a model for progressives to use federalism against the Trump administration’s immigration agenda.

Sessions’ is determined to pursue his punitive federal policy without having to deal with impediments to enforcement enacted by progressive cities and states. According to Vox, we should view this lawsuit as the next phase “in a battle the Trump administration and California are equally enthusiastic about having: an ongoing culture war between progressive politicians who feel a duty to make their immigrant residents feel as safe as possible, and an administration (and its backers) whose stated policy is that no unauthorized immigrant should feel safe.”

Vox is right to label this a culture war. I used to reserve that term for fights over the so-called “social issues”–abortion, same-sex marriage, prayer in schools, religious icons on public land and the like. That was before I realized that environmentalism had also become a culture war issue, and that the division wasn’t simply between religious and secular Americans, but also between adherents of very different religious worldviews.

We Americans are currently very polarized, to put it mildly. The expanded “culture war” of which immigration is a part is an outgrowth of our increasing tribalism, our stubborn  residence within bubbles populated primarily by our “own kind,” both intellectually and geographically.

The big question is whether this is an era of transition–a time of paradigm shift brought on by rapid changes in technology and especially communications–or whether it is something more lasting. The activism of the younger generation that we have seen in the wake of the Parkland shooting is a hopeful sign that it may be the former–that the fear and insecurity that have prompted recent, distressing eruptions of bigotry and racial resentment will pass as my generation dies off.

The challenge will be to keep the Donald Trumps and Jeff Sessions of the world from inflicting irreparable damage in the meantime.


  1. I find this power struggle over illegal immigration a terrible dilemma for the entire country not unlike the state’s rights battles over desegregation of the 1960s. Back then some states had passed laws that limited or denied the rights of some citizens. When the federal government, through the courts at the beginning of the struggle, pressed the states to change those laws I was for that effort to end segregation via the power of the federal government. Today I find that I am on the side of the states that want to have their laws hold sway in this matter. It is state’s rights vs. the federal government all over again.

    In the struggle today, like the one from the 1960s , the real battle is a moral one, and the weapon being used by both sides is legislation. What is missing from today is a moral leader capable of moving the entire population to a new vision of what we are capable of. Lord, how I miss Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy!

  2. We’ve been segregating since we left British rule. Do you remember the Civil War?

    It settled nothing.

    The corporate owned media wants you to “believe” that social media is causing this division so they have your permission to censor dissident voices who are pointing out the corruption, fraud, and propaganda spewed on us 24/7.

    Sadly, many have become accomplices to this charade.

    They’ll be using Zuckerberg’s selling of our data to further intensify censorship. They’ve already been using the Fake Cold War to censor dissidents outside the proverbial “Mainstream”.

    Maybe we should examine the old conceptual ideas like “mainstream” or “center”. What exactly does that mean?

    Is that a unified position where the majority agree? How can we agree on anything when our stories and truths are concocted?

    Only the truth will unite and our government/corporate world won’t allow it. They demand capitalism for all of us where free markets reign and austerity is the accepted path. It’s called Neoliberalism.

    It’s a fabricated existence. The truth is the progressive search for truth. Open-mindedness. Science explaining our reality and becoming sustainable or live within our resources.

    The battle is oppression by those in power. Many are just now awakening to the fact our “declaration of independence” was just American Oligarchs striking out independently from British Rule. We went from British Empire to an American Empire. LOL

  3. “We Americans are currently very polarized, to put it mildly. The expanded “culture war” of which immigration is a part is an outgrowth of our increasing tribalism, our stubborn residence within bubbles populated primarily by our “own kind,” both intellectually and geographically.”

    What is going on legally in other cities and states where immigrants have no sanctuary but are in hiding? Indiana, with our former governor Pence as Vice President, has been questionably quiet on this issue. In the 1960’s to 1990’s, under Republican leadership, Indianapolis provided all forms of assistance to all immigrants who came to them for help. This was done in one location; the Hispano-American Multi-Service Center downtown; federal funding was monitored through the Division of Community Services, a division of the Mayor’s Office. I worked closely with the Center; immigrants did not need to fear coming forward to ask for help – including immigration and naturalization. They were aided to become citizens, learn the English language, find housing, jobs, education, health care was provided. We were not considered a “sanctuary city”; we simply provided humanitarian assistance. Then Ronald Reagan was elected. I do admit the numbers during those years were not at the level we have today but the government came to a virtual standstill regarding immigration and did less regarding illegal immigration.

    I have family members in hiding; one of whom was fired from their long time job at CVS a year ago next month. With no warning; all illegal immigrants were fired one Saturday morning, CVS had to know they were illegal when they were hired to know they were illegal to fire them en-masse. My family member was brought here at age 14; she and her husband spent 6 years and $10,000 working out all legal difficulties to allow her to return to her home and begin working legally from that city to return with their child…an American citizen. Then along came Trump and his roundups. Fear of arrest if attempting to return to her homeland and KNOWLEDGE that they would not be allowed to return, keeps them in hiding. There must me many thousands here in Indianapolis and Indiana with no government sanctuary for protection.

    “Sessions’ is determined to pursue his punitive federal policy without having to deal with impediments to enforcement enacted by progressive cities and states.”

    Indiana will certainly offer no impediments to Sessions’ determined efforts; meanwhile those in hiding who have obeyed our laws, worked and paid taxes and put their earning into our economy (till being fired) have nowhere to turn for help. So they remain living in fear till the federal government turns its attention to those cities and states who do not provide sanctuary or a safe route to legalize their status. The federal government knows they are here; it is simply a matter of time till its attention will seek out more families to destroy.

  4. We need to face the fact that CAPITALISM under stress moves toward FASCISM which has been the case since the 60’s and the Civil Rights struggles. That’s the real challenge. It can’t be wished away. And that phenomenon now controls the DNA of America’s “body politic.”

  5. Can’t help but think that the Republican administration may come up short on a few Biblical mandates:
    Malachi 3:5 ESV

    “Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the Lord of hosts.
    Deuteronomy 27:19 ESV
    “‘Cursed be anyone who perverts the justice due to the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

  6. As I get older, my memory may be getting fuzzier, but I seem to recall that Arizona’s “papers please” law was struck down by the Federal Courts because immigration is outside the jurisdiction of the state. Now the current administration seeks to change that by fiat, rather than by law. So far the Federal Courts have sided with the cities and states. Is that hint too vague for Mr. Sessions? Apparently, it is.

  7. Trump is doing his “best” to enable racism, racists, prejudice against people of color and bigotry. He hired the most racist person in politics to be his AG. This is NOT a coincidence.

    The single-mindedness of free-market capitalism doesn’t give a damn about segregation or tribalism or anything else except profits. These things are on us citizens. Todd keeps blaming the corporate run media for things that our outside their purview, even though Fox tries like crazy to influence the thoughts of the backward and the ignorant. It IS the lurch toward fascism that is driving wedges daily through our body politic and our neighborhoods too.

    Removing Trump and Republicanism from government at all levels is only the beginning of a national healing that must occur after this horror show known as Neo-liberal conservatism, aka Republicanism.

  8. Vernon,

    “It IS the lurch toward fascism that is driving wedges daily through our body politic and our neighborhoods too.”

    You couldn’t say it much better. By the way, when is your new book going to be released?

  9. The US appetite for illegal drugs has changed the balance of power in many of the governments south of our border. The immigrants fleeing violence and economic challenges are in part due to our war on drugs and other misguided policies that have proved ineffective. Just reaping what we sew

  10. I lived in the sanctuary city of El Paso for over 20 years. It has a population of 700,000 and is 80% Hispanic. It has a very large undocumented population. Their labor is exploited; one result is it suppresses other wages and the economy. They are a burden on the schools, hospitals and their continued influx troubles Hispanics who are U.S. citizens there.

    But there is compassion and assistance to them. I have an adopted Hispanic son who was initially undocumented. His son and my grandson is named John Neal.

    My point is sanctuary cities are a thorny problem and emblematic of immigration policies and practices that have totally failed. As Theresa says it is a terrible dilemma.

  11. Don’t give up the ship. The “lurch toward fascism” is being counterbalanced by a “lurch toward socialism” by millennials, tomorrow’s movers and shakers, as though some Newtonian equilibrium were applicable as in “For every action there is an opposite and equal reaction.” Trouble is, opposite is not equal; we venture too far left or right, from libertarians to Marxists, from wild west economies to top-down controlled economies. It seems we will never reach the center, as even that point on the spectrum, though malleable, has moved to the right.

    I am still clinging to the faint hope that capitalism as practiced today will reform itself and understand that finance is only one of the players in an open economy whose interests need to be considered if the system is to survive. Right now and in view of the corruption and greed in the marketplace where profit crowds out reason (see unearned tax gifts to the rich etc.) my Alice in Wonderland hope will rightly draw criticism, though it’s only a hope.

    Since for one reason or another we haven’t, the millennials will take care of capitalist excesses, but perhaps (alas!) will take us too far in the other direction. Meanwhile and before this large voting bloc becomes dominant, we may indeed have to come to grips with fascist control, if not already, as suggested by other commentators today and earlier.

  12. Make more money regardless of the impact on others.

    Back when US businesses realized that they had an unlimited supply of cheap labor to the south and started recruiting it here they know that everyone they brought would displace an American worker. But that was not an impact on the corporation, it was an impact on “others” so not the corporations responsibility.

    Back when Walmart told all of their suppliers that a manufacturing presence in
    China was a condition for continuing their relationship with by far the largest retailer in the world they knew that American factory workers would be displaced but that also was an impact on others.

    As all of those others saw their future decline they needed a scapegoat so oligarchs, very fat and happy at these turns in events had several to offer. Immigrants, Chinese, government, liberals, Democrats, trade agreements, elitists, education, all other races, all other religions, so many people to blame for the wealth workers always created here being concentrated not among those who created it but among those who collect it, the oligarchs.

    Guess what? The oligarchs are now extremely fat and happy and cashing out the empty shell of
    America and content that because others are not their responsibility they are blameless.

  13. Gerald,

    “It seems we will never reach the center, as even that point on the spectrum, though malleable, has moved to the right.”

    The center is the only spot that will create some semblance of equilibrium.

    “I am still clinging to the faint hope that capitalism as practiced today will reform itself and understand that finance is only one of the players in an open economy whose interests need to be considered if the system is to survive.”

    That’s my hope too. At this point, other options will only contribute to our march toward racial or civil war.

  14. Until 2016, articles touting the U.S. economic advantage over countries with stagnant population growth rates were common. Japan and Italy, the argument went, were at a disadvantage because they had low fertility rates and few immigrants. The U.S., on the other hand, enjoyed a huge advantage despite declining fertility because so many willing workers fight to come here looking for opportunity. These people were expected to make up the workforce of the future once America produced too few babies to keep up with demand for labor.

    Now that the economy is so close to full employment, we have reached that point. Republicans must confront a choice – to shoot themselves (and our economy) in the right foot or the left foot. By disallowing immigration, they create a situation in which wages must rise and inflation must result (the Fed believes it’s already beginning). If they were to allow or encourage immigration to solve this problem, they would further anger their permanently enraged base and suffer political consequences. And of course they would upset their white nationalist allies on whom they are so dependent.

    Contradictions such as these are inevitable when people act on ideology rather than on evidence and ideas. They drive reputed pragmatists like Paul Ryan to flee the scene and let others, often less qualified, struggle with them.

    To me this all comes down to racism, already a dominant national force when the Constitution was signed and one that didn’t diminish at Appomattox. Many Americans would hop the next boat to Norway if they had a clear picture of how many South and East Asians occupy high corporate positions in Silicon Valley. If those same people watched any station other than Fox, they might begin to understand how immigrants are assuming top jobs in the news business. Perhaps we should also poll them about their willingness to pay higher fruit and vegetable prices when California can no longer bring in its crops. The beautiful coastal village I live in will turn into a trash pile when Trump finishes chasing all the immigrants out of town.

    Until we decide that racism is good for nothing but its main purpose – a tool for politicians to divide us – America will be forever constrained to reach a tiny portion of its potential.

  15. I recently heard an interesting story from a few close friends that lobby on behalf of Californian municipalities (and the state of California, too) in Washington, DC. They overheard congressional representatives say “ABC” during funding discussions – ABC stands for Anywhere But California – when referring to where funding should be spent to support programs that have, in many instances, existed for years if not decades (environmental, welfare, etc.). Many of these programs started in California and/or protect resources unique to the state.

    The partisanship and tribalism has reached a new level, previously unknown to humans. This is our government.

  16. Even before NAFTA and Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China came into being (thanks to Bill Clinton and his fellow Neo-Liberals) , outsourcing to Third World countries was occurring. It was a prerequisite that human rights, labor rights, regulations concerning clean air, clean water were absent. As long as the product could be produced on the cheap that was all that counted. Early examples of this was clothing and tennis shoes. Later other industries like furniture and electronics were gutted.

    If you could not export to the Third World than bring the Third World here. A necessary step was to destroy unions or neuter them here in the USA, with Right to Work Laws. Without the power of the unions to enforce the same wage scale for all workers – construction in particular- the companies could set up a two tier wage system and exploit the illegals or undocumented workers.

  17. Paul Ryan: House speaker won’t seek re-election, aide confirms. Ryan will probably seek sanctuary and employment with a Koch Bros “think tank”, I place those words in parenthesis since a Rabid Reactionary Right Wing think tank is an oxymoron.

    There is a competitive Democratic primary there between ironworker Randy Bryce and schoolteacher Cathy Myers. The only other Republican candidate running, Paul Nehlen, is a vocal antisemite and white nationalist.

    Nehlen is a businessman and so-called “mini-Trump” who was backed by leading right wing figures including Sarah Palin and Ann Coulter in the 2016 primary for Ryan’s Wisconsin congressional seat. Breitbart senior editor Joel Pollak said: “We don’t support him. Haven’t covered him in months.” He added: “He’s gone off the deep end.”

    Hard to believe there is a deep end for Breitbart.

  18. kicking others,to the curb, then deny them status,unacceptable..seems americans don’t understand what these people had,before coming to,America. imagine,many never had but a few pesos,and lived on trade. working every day to see some future. until you sit down a break bread with people who came here for their dream,risking life and death, is alone the strength of their person. sesssions may believe hes right,unmoraly,and against principles of the real America. I dont have a silver spoon attitude,and i make remarks to those who feel that this country is theirs alone.they justify some trivial crap, or fictional facts to sway their opinion.. working everyday with this type of crowd,makes my day long.. Being white,and looking the working class part, im often taken by many,to be a trumper,,, (gag) sure,i fit in to the stereotype,I had a mexican guy laugh when i said trumps a ,,,,,,,,,, he damn sure had me wrong. I was able to discuss,and listen to their side.. thanks, im glad to hear we are fighting together.
    sessions may have a fight on his hands,Jerry dosent back down. I am a former calif resident,1970s. even met him while he was gov,,, no doubt, a working mans,workingman..
    with calif being 6th largest economy in the world, sessions damn sure better put a few pounds on,and get rid of his stupid vocabulary. looking like a elf,,,he sould maybe tweet his crap.

    bumper sticker, today
    put a wall around trump tower
    keep the lobbyists and billionaires out..

  19. I live in the San Francisco bay area. Our daughter lives in Portland Oregon. The argument in these areas for sanctuary status is that it helps keep everyone safe – not just people here illegally. If people feel they (or someone they know) might be deported if they report a crime, or potential crime, they will be less likely to report.

    I’m not sure how much capitalism has caused this current mess. However, driven by economic necessity, capitalism might well be the structure that finally gives us reform.

    Here and in Portland there are Help Wanted signs all over the place. Farmers are having trouble getting field workers. Health care workers, especially care givers, are harder to come by.

    This isn’t just a left coast issue. Wait until food prices go up. And services are not as easy to find. And caregiver patient ratios increase because there are fewer care givers and increasing need.

    Should these businesses hire illegals? No. Absolutely not.

    We need to fix the immigration laws. The bipartisan Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007 failed. We need to try again.

    As a related aside – I wonder if job growth was up the last several months partly because employers are putting jobs on the books that were “under the table” before.

  20. Just after Sept. 11 2001, I started carrying in my check bag – a copy of my birth certificate, my passport, my business license (the original), and my Army Shot Record… and my original pistol permit from South Dakota as well as my ordination card, and present CCL all in my wallet. I should make a copy of my DD214. I mean if they are going to try to ethnically cleanse the US they are fucked. We live here – and we don’t leave for no one. And goddamn fuckface von klownschtick! Fascists be damned.

  21. Hollyd: Immigration Reform has been needed for decades, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007 was never voted on.

    Per an article on Voice Of America, April 4, 2018:

    A deadlocked Washington on immigration matters is not new. Congress’ inability to address the legal status of undocumented newcomers and reform America’s oft-criticized immigration system spans several decades and multiple U.S. administrations. Protracted gridlock helped spur the creation of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, as an executive order that bypassed Congress. The current political impasse has blocked a permanent legislative solution benefiting immigrants — sometimes called Dreamers — who were brought to America as children.”

    Here are dates attempts for immigration reform were made and discarded: June 23, 2007, December 8, 2010, May 10, 2011, June 5, 2012, June 27, 2013, November 20, 2014. On November 25, 2014, AZ Sheriff Joe Arpaio sued President Obama over DACA and other Executive Orders; the Supreme Court declined to review the case. On September 5, 2017, Trump rescinds President Obama’s DACA.

    Since September 13, 2017, we have been subjected to nothing but Trump’s nonsensical public embarrassments regarding his wall; including calling some impoverished nations which would be effected by immigration reform, “shitholes”.

    We have all seen the news reports of immigrant families, including some mixed race families, veterans who served in our military and have lived in this country as long as 39 years being deported. Some of the immigrants who served in our military never returned from Desert Storm, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria. Yet our jails and prisons are “harboring” thousands of illegal immigrants who could and should be deported (they have already been rounded up); resolving part of the jail and prison overcrowding and save millions upon millions of our tax dollars spent housing, feeding, clothing, providing medical and dental care that law abiding Americans and legal immigrants cannot afford. Now; part of our defense budget is being used to send National Guard troops to the Mexican border; tearing them from their families, homes and jobs where they are actually needed.

    Unless and until Trump and his Congress are stopped; there will be no immigration reform addressed. Which is only one of countless costly and dangerous issues dumped on us since January 20, 2017.

  22. Manuel,

    “I mean if they are going to try to ethnically cleanse the US they are fucked. We live here – and we don’t leave for no one. And goddamn fuckface von klownschtick! Fascists be damned.”

    The sociopath in the White House doesn’t understand that. God help us all.

  23. Manuel,
    A bit more decorum is recommended. Young (and older) people who read here should not be subjected to foul language.

  24. Betty,

    You’re right. But Trump is pushing in a way that the response is going to be physically violent; And more than likely, just what he is looking for. At this point, letting off a “lot of steam” in a non-physical way is the lesser of two evils.

  25. I will be 81 years old in about two weeks; I much prefer Manual’s few words of profanity than leon dixon’s lengthy insults and name calling mixed in with his lack of insight on the issues we are trying to survive under the Trump administration and his Tweets and rants filled with lies.

  26. Now I must apologize for misspelling Manuel’s name. A careless error on my part.

  27. The good news is that berry-patch talk is just not OK on this forum. The best news is that Sheila will no doubt handle the problem privately and that should take care of it.

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