Immigration & Greenland?!

Rumors are that President Trump has been thinking of buying Greenland.
The advantages are obvious. The island’s population is about the size of Caldwell’s and its land area is ten times the size of Idaho–but only twice the size if we don’t count the area covered by ice.
And, if the ice melts, oil wells can go up.
Although the President doesn’t believe in global warming, he apparently does believe some strange force will make Greenland’s oil reserves accessible.
Well, as the melting in Greenland raises sea level by up to 10 feet, we’ll need someplace to put people whose cities are inundated by water.
Maybe we could trade for it? I’d give Mississippi away in a heartbeat, though I imagine the current administration would rather offer some pesky liberal state on the coast.
Can one buy a democratically-governed region?  What would happen if a majority of Greenlanders voted to become part of the U.S.?
I’ve needed good news this week, and I’ve found some–though nothing as funny as buying Greenland.
The Nature Conservancy reports that New York City has 730 buildings with green roofs. Some are urban farms with corn and beans and tomatoes. Others have succulents and native plants.
All, according to the report, benefit the environment. They absorb rainwater, decrease air pollution, lower the temperature and save energy. And the cost is only about 40 percent more than a conventional roof.
So the city will now require all new residential and commercial buildings to have roofs with plants, solar panels and/or mini wind turbines.
And dwell, a magazine specializing in design news, says NYC is “following in the footsteps of Toronto, San Francisco, Denver and Portland, Oregon.”
Now, I don’t see lashing myself to a chimney in order to weed tomatoes. And there aren’t many flat roofs in Idaho, and I have a hard time imagining ones in Denver or Toronto.
Still, it’s nice to think of more green in cities where the buildings are taller than the trees.
More good news–a survey by Public Policy Polling found that although Democratic voters are almost evenly split between moderates and progressives, the labels simply don’t mean much.
A majority of both groups supports Medicare for All, a wealth tax, the Green New Deal, stronger gun violence measures, and abortion rights. Differences vary from seven percent for Medicare for All (supported by 59 percent of the progressives and 52 percent of the moderates) to 15 percent for stronger gun violence measures (supported by 83 percent and 68 percent).
The real division, according to the poll, isn’t between progressive and moderate but between those who support a candidate they think can win (66 percent) and those who support one who backs their issues (33 percent).
What this poll tells me is that a candidate who backs Democratic issues can win. We will unite behind one.
And, in a country being “invaded” by immigrants, it’s good to reflect on observations by Amgad Naguib in the Baltimore Sun, “Lazy people don’t immigrate; hardworking ones do.”
He admires a young Ethiopian working three jobs and Mexican window washers dangling high in the sky.  He cites the accomplishments of immigrant friends who include “a police detective, two lawyers, an economist, and several entrepreneurs.”
He says people come in search of the American dream. “Every immigrant knows today: We have work to do, taxes to pay, elections to vote in, future generations of Americans to raise, and no time to waste on vitrial.
“After all, we have dreams to build.”
As do we all.  As do we all.

Note this editorial by Judy Ferro published by Idaho Press – 2019

Immigration: Trump’s order was wrong, wrong, wrong

by Judy Ferro

I feel compelled to answer those who don’t understand opposition to President Trump’s immigration order postponing admission to the United States for some persons 90 to 120 days and, for Syrians, indefinitely.

Let me state it simply.

The President of the United States signed an order violating our Constitution and several treaties. He did so without consulting with Congressional leaders in his party, the Justice Department, Homeland Security, or the Pentagon.

His staff then defended the order by claiming it was just like one Obama had signed that caused no upheaval.

That could mean two things—either no one involved understood the differences between Obama’s and Trump’s orders or that they are hoping to lie their way out of the backlash they’re facing.

Obama’s order did not leave academics or medical interns unable to return to their positions. It didn’t turn back a four-month old scheduled for heart surgery in Oregon. It didn’t lead to Iraqis who aided American troops in two wars being held at airports.

Obama’s order was not stayed by a Federal judge, nor did he fire an acting attorney general, that he himself had appointed, for acceding to the judge’s orders. It didn’t lead to security forces in one part of the country acting differently than counterparts in another.

The difference? Obama’s order did not apply to those who already had visas in their hands nor to those with green cards allowing them to work in the United States. Moreover, it didn’t give preference to Christians.

I realize that Trump spokesman Sean Spicer has said that enforcement is being altered so those with green cards (work permits) will be allowed to enter. That doesn’t change the fact that Trump and his advisors did a stupid thing in the first place.

And it’s highly unlikely that they can improve on the extreme vetting that Obama initiated. (Details of the 11-step process have been posted by Rep. Joe Courtney:

Trump supporters, however, insist our safety is more important than laws, treaties, and the inconvenience of the estimated 80,000 persons whose visas won’t be honored for months.

Except there is no indication that our safety was threatened. According to, in the past 40 years 768,000 murders have occurred in the US; 3,432—including 2,996 from the 9-11 attacks–were by foreign-born terrorists.

None were committed by immigrants or refugees from the seven countries included in Trump’s order– Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.

None. Zilch.

It’s impossible for Trump to improve on his predecessors’ record.

I hope President Trump does not act as rashly in deporting undocumented immigrants. He’s pledged to deport all 11 million. (Although President Obama protected undocumented students, he did deport more illegal immigrants than any other president–2.5 million by the end of 2015.)

District 10 Rep. Greg Chaney has stepped in to help Trump. His bill, HB 76, it would cut off sales tax sharing with any “sanctuary city” in Idaho.

We have none.

It would also require all law enforcement officials to research the immigration status of every person they apprehend, whether the person is charged or not. Right now, law enforcement contacts immigration authorities who do the research.

Many fear that law enforcement will react by stopping a lot more brown people. Just as likely, officers may grow sick of doing fruitless computer researches and avoid stopping brown people. Or officers could delegate the research to immigration officials so nothing changes.

Chaney admits he didn’t consult with any law enforcement officers about the bill.

There’s way too much of that going around.

Refugees: Family values apply

by Judy Ferro

Grandmother Willmorth was born in Texas a decade after the Civil War and absorbed the prejudices of the region before moving north to Ellensburg and, later, Nampa. Even as she refused to justify treating anyone poorly, she regarded blacks as inferiors.

In her 80s, she made an about face.

The Civil Rights struggles of the 1950s brought images of Southern deputies using dogs and cattle prods to force black children away from school house doors to our 11-inch black and white TV.

Grandma paced as she and watched the screen. Then, her voice steely, she said, “If whites are so superior, I sure wish they’d act it,” and left the room.

She never said a prejudiced word again. I think she was even disappointed once to learn I wasn’t “dating” a black friend.

Over and over the current controversy concerning Syrian refugees has reminded me of Grandmother. Any doubt how she would have stood on this issue vanishes when I visit Facebook. Postings by nieces and nephews, by cousins, and by their children and grandchildren speak against fear and for acceptance.

I am thankful for family and shared values.

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”—the Golden Rule of Christianity and many of the world’s religions–is at the core of those values.

The rule has no addendum saying except when you are fearful.

Treat others as you want to be treated. That simplifies a lot of today’s issues.

A man from Poland once asked how I felt about illegal Mexican immigrants. I said I know if I were farming a small plot of land and foreign countries dumped food so cheap that I could no longer care for my family that I’d do whatever I could for them.

Romauld repeated the question—how did I feel about illegal Mexican immigrants? I explained that I could not condemn another for doing what I would do if in the same position. Apparently, he knew others—American or Polish or both?—who didn’t share that value.

I know that problems surround the acceptance of refugees. We don’t have enough jobs. Government agencies and charities are strained for funds. Where will we ever get enough Arabic interpreters?

Americans, however, are problem solvers. It’s not something we expect only from an elite—we don’t even know the names of the GIs that came up with palletizing freight during the Berlin embargo. They needed to unload planes in 90 seconds or less and found a way.

But there are other problems with refugees, ones that have to do with fear. How many Moslems can our country absorb without changing fundamentally? And will some of these people turn on us?

The 1960 nomination of John F. Kennedy for president opened up questions about Catholicism that Americans hadn’t addressed since 1928. Could we entrust our government to a man who viewed a foreign Pope as infallible? Would he outlaw divorce or give preference to Catholics throughout his administration or hand government monies over to the Vatican?

And, when I was at college, a campus fraternity was kicked out of its national for accepting two Jewish members. Judaism was seen as a major threat to shared values.

Somehow—through decades–we found common ground and moved beyond these fears. Many of today’s citizens don’t understand that these conflicts once aroused intense feelings.

Fear is not a core American value.

Trust in the goodness of mankind and in a better future is.