Minneapolis’ StarTribune published an editorial criticizing the apparent failure of Congress to pass a bipartisan immigration reform bill. A similar editorial appeared in Bloomberg News. The bill also was supported by columnist George Will.
The Bipartisan Bill
The bill was developed by U.S. Senators Kyrsten Sinema (ex-Democrat & now Independent, AZ) and Thom Tillis (Rep., NC) “that would have addressed critical areas in immigration: the fate of so-called Dreamers, billions of dollars to secure the southern border, and better processing of asylum claims.” The “border-related items in the . . . bill were said to include more and better-paid Border Patrol agents, more funds for Homeland Security detention facilities and stiffer penalties for migrants who missed court hearings, along with better and faster processing of credible asylum claims.”
Reasons for Apparent Failure To Adopt This Bill
According to the StarTribune editorial, this bill “drew support from moderate lawmakers and several organizations.” But the two Senators were “unable to lock down the 60-vote supermajority needed to end the inevitable filibuster,” which prevented the inclusion of the bill in year-end appropriations legislation, all but ending any hope of immigration reform this year.”
The Bloomberg editorial notes that the proposal “aims to reduce strain on the asylum system by discouraging migrants from attempting to cross the border and expelling more of those who do.” For George Will, the bill would correct “two glaring wrongs that large American majorities recognize as such. They are the insecure southern border. And the decades-long callousness toward those called ‘dreamers.’”
This proposal “has angered immigration advocates and progressives in Congress, some of whom have already announced their opposition.” For George Will, these people ignore “the axiom that the perfect is the enemy of the good, [and who] will settle for nothing less than a ‘comprehensive’ solution to all immigration complexities.” Mr. Will also finds fault with criticism of the bill’s provisions to protect the “Dreamers” and the apparent proposed path to citizenship for the U.S.’ approximate 11 million unauthorized immigrants, two-thirds of whom have lived here for more than a decade.
There apparently was nothing in the Sinema-Tillis proposal relating to what is covered in the proposed Afghan Adjustment Act that was discussed in a prior post.
An open invitation for comments is extended to those who are more intimately involved in this legislative conundrum.
The blog previously has discussed the court’s decision last week to release on November 1 certain information about the jurors in the Derek Chauvin trial and the October 28th Don Lemon program on CNN with seven of the 14 jurors (including two alternates).  Now additional details about this development have been reported by the Washington Post,New York Times and StarTribune. 
The Washington Post has reported the following:
Several jurors said their views on race did not factor into the verdict. According to Juror Nicole Deters, ““We got here because of systemic racism within the system, right, because of what’s been going on. That’s how we got to a courtroom in the first place. But when it came down to all three verdicts, it was based on the evidence and the facts one hundred percent.”
Several jurors said “they probably would have come to the same verdicts if Chauvin had testified in his defense, but they said they would have liked to hear what he was thinking. Videos of the killing, recorded by bystanders and others, factored into the jurors’ decision-making, they said.”
Juror Sheri Belton Hardeman said, “The camera doesn’t lie. And it was in slow motion at times while you were sitting there in court. … So it was hard. It played a huge role though. It truly did.”
Juror Jodi Doud told CNN the video “bothered me so much. How could somebody do that to someone else? And it was a slow death. It wasn’t just a gunshot and they’re dead.”
The New York Times added the following report:
Half of the 12 jurors declined to comment or could not be reached on November 1st after their names had been publicly released. At the home of one of them, this sign was posted on the front door: “Please, no press no soliciting” while a “Black Lives Matter” poster was prominently displayed in a window.
Juror Brandon Mitchell, who previously had made public comments on the trial, said on November 1, , 2021, that all of the jurors have been keeping in touch on an email chain since the trial. “They’re scared of the unknown and of becoming a public figure instead of spending their lives in peace.”
Juror Jodi Doud had said on the CNN program, “This is not what he [Chauvin] did, but more or less what he didn’t do. He did not provide lifesaving measures for George Floyd when he knew that the guy was in pain or needed medical attention.”
The Times article also reported that the prospective jurors questionnaires “reveal a diverse range of opinions from the jurors, who were from throughout Hennepin County and ranged in age from their 20s to their 60s. Four of the jurors were Black, six were white and two were multiracial; seven of the 12 were women.”
The StarTribune noted that two jurors and an alternate previously had made the following public comments about the trial:
“25-year-old Journee Howard, of Minneapolis, said she was especially swayed by the testimony of Dr. Martin Tobin, who bolstered the prosecution’s contention that Floyd died from asphyxiation as a direct result of being pinned face down on the pavement at 38th and Chicago for more than nine minutes by Chauvin and two other officers.”
Brandon Mitchell said the jury deliberations were “smooth” with a strong focus on the evidence and the terminology of the law, but did not include discussions about race or the broader issue of police killing civilians.
The StarTribune also added that a jury questionnaire disclosed that the jury foreperson was a 31-year-old man from Minneapolis, who was engaged at the time of the trial, has degrees in accounting from the University of St. Thomas, and works as an audit manager and that almost all of the responses to the questionnaire said the prospective jurors disagreed with the statement that “the police treated white and Black people equally” while all agreed that “Police in my community make me feel safe.”
On October 12, the prosecution (the State of Minnesota) filed two important documents in the George Floyd criminal cases against four ex-Minneapolis policemen—Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao. The first is a motion to have all motions and exhibits in the case remain under seal for two business days “to permit the parties to review . . . [them] before they are made available to the public and, if necessary, to notify the Court within two business days of their intent to oppose public disclosure.” The second is the prosecution’s memorandum in support of other evidence the State intends to offer at trial. Here is a summary of those documents.
Motion To Limit Public Access to Case Materials
The prosecution’s motion to limit public access to case materials was precipitated by an October 12th motion by Earl Gray, the attorney for Defendant Thomas Lane, to include in trial evidence a video from an incident on May 6, 2019, when three other police officers were attempting to have George Floyd show his hands, stop moving around and spit out something he had put in his mouth and when Floyd cried out for his “Mama” and “Don’t shoot me, man.”
Gray in his motion for admission of this evidence apparently argued that the 2019 arrest is relevant to his client’s defense because prosecutors have presented a ‘false narrative’ by portraying Floyd as a ‘law-abiding citizen that was afraid for his life.’ Instead, Gray said, “Floyd’s behavior in the earlier arrest is ‘almost an exact replica’ of how he behaved during his fatal encounter with police a year later outside Cup Foods in south Minneapolis. . . . Floyd cried, mumbled and yelled throughout his interview with the police ,” and Gray argued that‘s how Floyd behaves under ‘the influence of a pill.’”
In response to this motion by Mr. Gray, the prosecution immediately filed the motion to have all motions and exhibits in the case remain under seal for two business days “to permit the parties to review . . . [them] before they are made available to the public and, if necessary, to notify the Court within two business days of their intent to oppose public disclosure.” If any of the parties “oppose public disclosure, the court may then request briefing and set a briefing schedule on a motion opposing public disclosure.” In support of this motion, the prosecution cited U.S. and Minnesota Supreme Court decisions supporting such a restriction, especially where there is a risk of prejudicial pretrial publicity.
This prosecution motion is opposed by the Media Coalition, which includes the StarTribune.
On October 15, Hennepin County District Court Judge, Peter Cahill, will hold a hearing on the prosecution’s motion
On October 12th the State filed a 44-page memorandum in support of additional evidence it plans to offer at the criminal trials of Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thau.
After a short Introduction, this memorandum sets forth in 12 pages a detailed “Statement of Facts” with evidentiary citations regarding “The Events of May 25, 2020” (the day that Floyd was killed). This included the following regarding the physical restraint of Floyd on the pavement:
At 8:11 p.m., Kueng “and Lane handcuffed Floyd’s arms behind his back. . . From this moment on, and for all of the remaining minutes of his life, Floyd’s hands remained handcuffed.” (P.3.)
“At 8:19:14-45 p.m., Chauvin, Kueng, and Lane pinned Floyd to the pavement face-down.” (p. 7.)
At 8:23:58—8:24:00 p.m., “Floyd then said what would be his final words: ‘I can’t breathe.’ . . .He soon fell silent and lost consciousness.” (P. 9.)
“But even after Floyd went limp, Chauvin continued to restrain Floyd’s neck and restraining Floyd’s left hand. Kueng and Lane continued to restrain Floyd’s back and legs.” (P. 9.)
At 8:25:20-31 p.m., the “body camera videos appear to show that Floyd’s shallow breaths stopped.” (P. 10.)
At 8:25:40-8:26:00 p.m., the “officers maintained their positions—Chauvin on Floyd’s neck, Kueng on his back, Lane on his legs, and Thao standing guard.” (P. 11)
At 8:26:12-18 p.m., after Kueng reported he could not find a Floyd pulse and after Floyd did not respond to Chauvin’s squeezing Floyd’s fingers, “Chauvin continued to kneel on Floyd’s neck.” (P. 11.)
At 8:27:36-38 p.m., Chauvin “continued to press his knee into the back of Floyd’s neck.” (P. 12.)
At 8:27:43-50 p.m., “while emergency personnel leaned down and attempted to check Floyd’s neck for a pulse, Chauvin did not remove his knee from Floyd’s neck.” (P. 12.)
At 8:28:45 p.m., “when the stretcher was ready, Chauvin finally removed his knee from Floyd’s neck.” (P. 12.)
“All told, Floyd was pinned to the ground—with Chauvin’s knee pressing into his neck, Kueng and Lane atop his back and legs, and Thao standing watch nearby—for approximately nine minutes.” (Pp. 12-13.)
The bulk of this memorandum was the 28 pages of the “Argument” setting forth why the State’s “evidence of 18 prior incidents involving Defendants Chauvin, Kueng, and Thao” Is admissible. (Pp. 15-43.)
EsarlWe now wait to see what happens at the October 15th hearing and how Judge Cahill resolves these motions. (By the way, another October 12th filing by the prosecution was a supplemental argument for enhanced sentences of these defendants.[3)
On August 7, Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill ordered the public release of the bodycam footages of the arrest and killing of George Floyd that were made by criminal defendants and former police officers Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng.
The Judge’s order said, “Members of the Media Coalition, as well as other media and members of the public, may obtain copies” of the footage. The order, however, did not elaborate on the rationale for his ruling, nor on how or when the footage would be released.
On July 13, the so called Media Coalition of local and national media companies had filed with the court a motion for the immediate release of this footage. The Coalition argued that the court’s allowing these videos to be viewed only at the courthouse by appointment violated state laws, court rules and the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The Media Coalition consists of the StarTribune; American Public Media, which owns Minnesota Public Radio; the Associated Press; CBS Broadcasting Inc.; Dow Jones & Co., publisher of the Wall Street Journal; Hubbard Broadcasting; Hubbard Broadcasting, which owns a Minnesota television broadcaster (KSTP-TV); and the New York Times Co., among others.
A StarTribune journalist, Chao Xiong, reported on his July 15th viewing the initial portions of the bodycam footage of the February 25th encounter with George Floyd by ex-police officers Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng. Here are highlights of that journalist’s report:
Lane’s video “showed that Floyd was given no explanation for why he was being questioned before Lane pointed a gun at him, swore at him, physically touched him multiple times and forced him out of his vehicle into the street.”
Lane’s video showed that “as the first officer to engage with Floyd on May 25, [Lane] did not inform Floyd that he was being investigated for allegedly using a fake $20 bill at Cup Foods before [Lane] pointed a gun at him, swore at him multiple times while Floyd repeatedly said ‘please’ and asked what was going on, [and Lane] reached his hands into Floyd’s car and touched him several times and forced Floyd out of the vehicle.”
About two minutes into Lane’s video, Floyd said, “I didn’t do nothing,” while “holding his left hand visibly up in the air as he sat in the driver’s seat.”
Lane’s video shows him yelling ’Put your [expletive] hands up right now!” at Floyd “while aiming a gun in his right hand at Floyd. ‘Let me see your other hand.’”
“About 11 minutes into Lane’s video, Lane grabbed Floyd’s leg and helped Chauvin and Kueng flip Floyd from his back onto his stomach in the street.”
“Lane’s video showed that he asked twice about rolling Floyd onto his side, but did not appear to express any sense of urgency, fear or persistence in his voice.”
“An ambulance arrived about 20 minutes after Lane first arrived at the scene and [a first responder] spoke to a store manager. . . . [Thereafter a] first responder took Floyd’s pulse at his neck and walked away without a sense of urgency. Ambulance staff loaded Floyd into the ambulance. Lane boarded the ambulance as well.
“Lane’s video also showed that medics who arrived at the scene did not appear alarmed or rushed in assisting Floyd after taking his pulse, and that about three minutes passed before anyone began performing CPR on Floyd, who had been unresponsive for several minutes by then.”
“About three minutes after the ambulance first arrived at the scene, Lane began performing CPR on Floyd at the instruction of a first responder.”
On July 13, the Media Coalition of local and national media companies filed a motion for the immediate release of the bodycam footage of the killing of George Floyd on May 25th.
The motion papers alleged that the court’s insistence that the videos be viewed by appointment only in the Hennepin County Government Center violates state laws governing public records, court rules and the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Therefore, these media companies requested the Court “immediately make the BWC [body-worn camera] footage available for copying by the press and public so that it may be widely viewed not just by those who have the time and wherewithal to visit the courthouse during a global pandemic but by all members of the public concerned about the administration of justice in one of the most important, and most-watched cases, this State — perhaps this country — has ever seen.” 
The attorneys for the Coalition also said that “releasing the transcripts without the accompanying footage is the sort of piecemeal disclosure that threatens not only to mislead the public, including potential jurors, but also to destroy the public’s trust in the judicial system.” Moreover, they argued that a written transcript only captures what someone said, not actions. “The transcripts don’t capture non-verbal noises, tone of voice or other elements. In addition, the transcripts of Lane and Keung’s body camera videos differ during crucial moments of the encounter. Allowing journalists to copy the footage, watch it multiple times, transcribe it and compare it to the transcripts and to time stamps from the bystander video will help reporters piece together a more complete story.” 
In addition, the motion papers argued, “There is no reason to believe that making the BWC footage itself easily accessible to the press and public would materially impact the fairness of trial .… As days of unrest in the Twin Cities showed, it is vitally important that the public have full confidence in the process and outcome of this criminal prosecution.”
The Media Coalition consists of the StarTribune; American Public Media, which owns Minnesota Public Radio; the Associated Press; CBS Broadcasting Inc.; Dow Jones & Co., publisher of the Wall Street Journal; Hubbard Broadcasting, which owns KSTP-TV; and the New York Times Co., among others.
The Coalition is represented by attorneys Leita Walker, a partner in the Media and Entertainment Law Group in the Minneapolis office of the Ballard Spahr LLP law firm, and Emmy Parsons, an associate in that Group.
Several; other references to the Great Flu Pandemic of 1918-20 have surfaced that remind me of my original post on that horrendous event.
First, Jill Burcum, an editorial writer for the StarTribune, tells us that this prior pandemic was called, in a well-known journal article at the time, as “The Mother of All Pandemics” with an estimated one-third of the world’s population infected and estimated deaths of 50 to 100 million, that it came “in three waves—the spring of 2018, the fall of that year, and then again in the winter of 2019” and that “healthy adults ages 20-40 were particularly at risk of severe disease and death.” She also mentions that in Iowa, her home state, the flu was resurging in October-November 2018, and especially “hard-hit is Camp Dodge, a military training center near Des Moines.” 
Burcum then made her research more personal by doing digital research of newspapers for the period in her father’s county in Iowa (Butler County in the north central part of the state) to see how it coped with the Great Flu Epidemic. She discovered to her surprise that her Great-Grandfather George, then a 27-year-old farmer, married with two young boys, became critically ill in December 2018 with what the newspaper said was “pneumonia,” but that the next month was recovering after being critically ill for three weeks. Thereafter he continued farming and with his wife had two more children. Over 40 years ago, Burchum as a young girl knew Great-Grandfather George, “then gray-haired and in failing health,” and would love to have asked him how he endured this, but she was too young to have such a conversation before he died.
This personal discovery, Burcum says, is “a warning about prematurely letting down our collective guard against infectious diseases. Pathogens can go quiet for a few months after an early strike, then come roaring back.”
The second recent mention of the Great Flu Pandemic is an article in The New York Times by David Segal. After noting the above statistics of the Great flu with 675,000 American deaths, Segal reports that “after the slaughter ended, and for decades after, the pandemic somehow vanished from the public imagination. With rare exceptions, it didn’t crop up in novels, paintings, plays or movies. Even scholars overlooked the subject. The first major account of the flu, Epidemic and Peace — later reissued as America’s Forgotten Pandemic — was published in 1976 by Alfred Crosby, who was baffled by the absence of any impression left by the disaster.”
Historians, according to Segal, “say the pandemic sank into oblivion largely because of World War I, the very cataclysm that hastened the spread of the virus, via millions of moving troops. The war and its aftermath overshadowed the disease, too. For the Allies, there was a victory to celebrate, in November 1918, and triumphalism was the mood of the era.” Even then President Woodrow Wilson, “eager to focus on and sustain the war effort . . . rarely mentioned the virus, even though he nearly died of it [in 1919] during negotiations in France” of what became the Treaty of Versailles ending World War I.
In addition, Segal claims, ignoring the Great Flu Pandemic could be attirbuted to the widespread belief that “dying from flu was considered unmanly.” According to Catharine Arnold in her book Pandemic 1918: Eyewitness Accounts From the Greatest Medical Holocaust in Modern History, “To die in a firefight . . .reflected well on your family. But to die in a hospital bed, turning blue, puking, beset by diarrhea — that was difficult for loved ones to accept. There was a mass decision to forget.”
Yet another reason for amnesia about the Great Flu, said Segal, was “by 1920, isolationism had regained its prewar popularity, and the flu was regarded as just another malignant foreign force, both in the United States and elsewhere.”
Apparently the only U.S. memorial for the Great Flu is a “five-ton granite bench . . .five feet high and three feet deep in a cemetery in Barre, Vermont.
Third, an article entitled, “Pandemic Notebook,” in the New York Times Book Review, mainly discusses contemporary New York City with passing references to fiction and nonfiction books, old movies and TV series about past plagues and mishaps. Its only reference to the Great Flu is the following: “The main lesson of the 1918 flu pandemic (which killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide), the historian John M. Barry wrote in The Great Influenza’ is that ‘those in authority must retain the public’s trust’ and ‘the way to do that is to distort nothing, to put the best face on nothing, to try to manipulate no one.’”
John M. BarryAs mentioned in this blog’s Pandemic Journal (# 3), my Father as a high school senior and Army trainee at Iowa’s Camp Dodge in 1917-18 lived through the Great Flu pandemic as did my younger Mother, but I never heard about their experiences of living through that pandemic. Therefore, I have concluded to write about my living through the coronavirus pandemic for my own edification and for that of my relatives and descendants.I encourage others to do likewise.
This Pandemic Journal is a means of recording how this blogger is living through the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Its entries cover a wide range of topics: reflections on the pandemic’s development; reflections on politicians’’ policies and statements about the pandemic; reactions to analyses of the pandemic by journalists; personal things to do.
I spend a lot of time keeping up on the news by reading the hard-copy of the local newspaper (StarTribune) and other news sources online (New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Guardian, Diario de Cuba, Granma (from Cuba), New York Review of Books, HuffPost, Politico, Atlantic, CNN, State Department, and others from time to time.
So far at least, I have not had time to read books. An exception is Louise Erdrich’s new novel “The Night Watchman.” Surprisingly I had difficulties with the book that has resulted in a lengthy essay about the book that soon will be added as a regular post.
On November 5, the voters in the Independent School District of Worthington, Minnesota approved, 1,780 to 1,644, a $ 33.7 million school bonding proposal to construct a new intermediate school with additional $5 million funding from the District’s general fund. The voters also approved, 1,760 to 1,662, the district’s proposal to refinance $14 million in debt so that agriculture property becomes eligible for tax credit.
This outcome was attributable, in part, to a get-out-the-vote effort led by a local group, Seeds of Change. It mobilized “immigrant families, whose children sit in the majority of the desks in those crowded schools, . . . door knocking, phone banking, translating ballots into some of the 37 languages their neighbors speak.” One of these volunteers, “Aida Simon, who works several days a week as a translator at the crowded middle school her children attend, . . . said the election result made her feel like she belonged in Worthington. ‘It felt like this is my town, my community. I’m going nowhere,” she said. “This is where I’m going to raise my kids and I’m going to invest all I have.’”
The District’s Superintendent, John Landgaard, said, he was “thrilled” that the vote will allow the needs of the students and staff to be met. “Supporting our kids is important.” Similar thoughts were voiced by the chairperson of the District’s board, Brad Shaffer. These approvals came after four other bonding proposals had been defeated, 2016-2019.
Background on these schools and bonding proposals was set forth in a lengthy article in the Sunday StarTribune before the voting. It noted, “As recently as 20 years ago, more than three-fourths of Worthington’s residents were white. Today, 60% are people of color, as well as 70% of the students in the school district. Much of the shift stems from the rush of immigrants who arrived here seeking work, many of them finding it at JBS Pork, a slaughterhouse on the edge of town that employs 2,400 workers.”
Although some residents had resisted spending more money on the schools for these newcomers, “Many residents praise the new arrivals, noting the economic and cultural vitality they bring to the city. At least 50 local businesses, including restaurants, grocery stores, auto shops and accounting firms, are owned by immigrants. Downtown houses several Mexican restaurants, Asian and Hispanic food markets, and stores selling imported goods. And each day around 4 p.m., after the early shift has let out at JBS, families stream into Panaderia Mi Tierra, a Latino bakery, where they pluck pastries from glass cases.”
“In the downtown, all the storefronts are full and it’s busy,” said Sharon Johnson, a lifelong resident who owns a downtown jewelry store and also serves as director of community education. “The cultures we are exposed to through music and food and art have really made this a wonderful place to live.”
“Bill Keitel owns Buffalo Billfold Co., a leather goods shop, and also owns rental property. “As a landlord, if I didn’t have these immigrants, my property values would plummet — as would everybody’s,” he said. “I look on them as our salvation, not our problem.”
Although many farmers in the school district opposed the bonding, one of them, Matt Widboom, voiced support. He said, ““It’s a lot [of money], but it’s an investment.” The county (Nobles) and Worthington are among the few places in rural Minnesota that are rapidly growing, and education will be a key to sustaining the growth. “There are two jobs for every person in Nobles County. We don’t have the people to fill the jobs. We need to retain these kids.”
Congratulations to Worthington for welcoming these immigrants. 
Previous posts have pointed out the U.S. need for more immigrants, in the opinion of this blogger. This conclusion follows from the U.S. declining birth rate, the aging, declining population of the rural parts of many states and the current low unemployment rates and the difficulties many companies are facing in finding additional workers.
Bret Stephens, a conservative New York Times columnist, eloquently reiterates these same points: (1) “The U.S. fertility rate has fallen to a record low.” (2) “Americans are getting older.” (3) There are “labor shortages in multiple industries throughout the country [that] inhibit business growth.” (4) “Much of rural or small-town America is emptying out.” (5) “The immigrant share (including the undocumented) of the U.S. population is not especially large.” 
Then Stephens adds a sixth, and more controversial, reason: “immigrants — legal or otherwise — make better citizens than native-born Americans. More entrepreneurial. More church-going. Less likely to have kids out of wedlock. Far less likely to commit crime.” This reason is supported by (a) a 2015 National Academy of Sciences study that concluded that “immigrants are . . . much less likely than natives to commit crimes;” (b) a 2017 Cato Institute report that 0.85 percent of undocumented immigrants are incarcerated compared with 1.53 percent of native-born Americans; and (c) a 2018 Marshall Project analysis of 200 metropolitan areas in the U.S. with falling crime while their immigrant population was increasing.
Another concurring opinion was voiced in the Wall Street Journal earlier this year by Neel Kashkari, the President of the Minneapolis’ Federal Reserve Bank. He said, “Robust immigration levels are vital to growing the American economy.” The reason is simple: immigration should lead to population growth, which “drives economic growth because a larger population means more workers to produce things and more consumers to buy things.” He concludes, “Immigration is as close to a free lunch as there is for America. Our welcoming culture provides us an unfair competitive advantage most countries would love to have. Let’s use that advantage to win the immigration competition and accelerate growth. We’d be crazy not to.”
The impact of an aging American population is also the focus of another Wall Street Journal article. It says the U.S. is becoming “a country with fewer workers to support the elderly—a shift that will add to strains on retirement programs such as Social Security and sharpen the national debate on the role of immigration in the workforce.”
Yet another fact supporting this need for more immigrants is the June 21 U.S. Census Bureau report of estimated U.S. population “that showed, for the first time, a decline in the white population. The drop was small, just 0.02 percent, or 31,516 people in the year ending last July. But a demographer at the bureau, Molly Cromwell, said that it was real, and followed a 9,475 person drop the year before. That one was so small that it was essentially viewed as no change, she said.”
This change was associated with deaths exceeding births among white people in more than half of the states in the country. Here is a map of the U.S. with states in blue having more white deaths than births in 2016.
The Census Bureau had been projecting “that whites could drop below 50 percent of the population around 2045, a relatively slow-moving change that has been years in the making.” But this new report leads some demographers to say that shift might come even sooner.
“The change has broad implications for identity and for the country’s political and economic life, transforming a mostly white baby boomer society into a multiethnic and racial patchwork. A majority of the youngest Americans are already non-white and look less like older generations than at any point in modern American history.”
Some political observers believe this current and future demographic change was a potent issue in the 2016 presidential election that helped drive many white voters to support Donald Trump.
Another New York Times columnist, Paul Krugman, sees many Americans exhibiting hatred of immigrants fueled by false beliefs that they are murderers and rapists and criminals or by what Krugman calls “sick fantasies.” He asks, “Where does this fear and hatred of immigrants come from? A lot of it seems to be fear of the unknown: The most anti-immigrant states seem to be places, like West Virginia, where hardly any immigrants live.” He concludes, “the real crisis is an upsurge in hatred — unreasoning hatred that bears no relationship to anything the . . .[immigrants] have done. And anyone making excuses for that hatred — who tries, for example, to turn it into a “both sides” story — is, in effect, an apologist for crimes against humanity.”
These demographic changes and challenges are not unique to the U.S. An article in the New York Times “states, “Immigration is reshaping societies around the globe. Barriers erected by wealthier nations have been unable to keep out those from the global South — typically poor, and often desperate — who come searching for work and a better life. While immigrants have often delivered economic benefits to the countries taking them in, they have also shaken the prevailing order and upended the politics of the industrialized world — where the native-born often exaggerate both their numbers and their needs.” Their article has many amazing global maps regarding immigration flows.
It is easy to understand why many people fear these changes in the makeup of their communities and seek political answers that purportedly will stop these changes. Those of us who do not share this fear need to develop a message that emphasizes the constancy of change in human life on this planet, that these changes will have positive effects on life in the U.S. and that we as a society can cope with any negative effects.
Another element in this effort should be emphasizing the well-established fact that in any large group of people—be they immigrants or Republicans or Democrats or business executives or farmers—there will be a few “bad apples.” But the “bad apples” should not define the group as a whole. The American people at large get this point as a recent public opinion poll indicated that 75% of them believe immigration generally is good for the nation.
We also have to battle against the vile rhetoric of Donald Trump, who just this week said his hardline stance on immigration was aimed at stopping the “death and destruction caused by people that [sic] shouldn’t be here.” He emphasized this point by having with him “angel families,” who are relatives of people who had been killed by undocumented aliens and who talked about their legitimate grief over loss of loved ones.
A good answer to such rhetoric was provided by John Rash, an editorial writer and columnist for the StarTribune (Minnesota’s largest circulation newspaper), in discussing a new exhibit at the Minnesota History Center: “Somalis + Minnesota.” This exhibit, he says, “shows how migrants enrich Minnesota” by highlighting “the lives of a cultural cross-section of some [of the 57,000 Somali-Minnesotans,] including state Rep. Ilhan Omar, who made her own news after topping another immigrant, state Sen. Patricia Torres Ray, to get the DFL Party endorsement for the Fifth District congressional race.” Rash adds, “the settlement of Somalis is just the latest contribution to Minnesota’s mosaic. Recent years have seen Vietnamese, Hmong, Karen and other immigrant communities enrich the state.”