Friday, July 26, 2019

Ubaidullah Abdulrashid Radiowala: Another One We Betrayed

This case brings back some bad memories. A rickshaw driver in his native India, Ubaidullah Abdulrashid Radiowala came to the United States on a visitor's visa in 1998. He stayed, as he was fleeing an Indian mobster whom he had informed on to the police.

In his time in the U.S., he built his own successful business and served as sole provider for his wife and four children (two whom immigrated to the US with him and are under DACA protection, two of whom were born in America). Three of his children are now in college, the fourth in high school. His earnings account for the entirety of his household's expenses -- food, tuition, rent, everything.

Radiowala was arrested in 2017 on a traffic stop, and was ordered deported. Although there was some evidence that the mobster he had informed on might try to hurt him in India, it was too late for Radiowala to request asylum. And while the U.S. has the power to cancel removal for persons in his position, the IJ concluded that removing Radiowala would not cause "exceptional and extremely unusual hardship to his spouse, parent, or child, who is a United States citizen" (in this case, his two U.S. citizen children). Although his children would no doubt suffer, the IJ and Board of Immigration Appeals decided that their suffering was not exceptional compared to any other family with a parent or spouse facing removal.

The Third Circuit affirmed. And the reason this case brings back some bad memories isn't because I think the decision was wrong. It's because it was probably right. The bad memories I have stem from the near-impossible standard of review that we were faced with when overseeing the immigration docket. The needless cruelty and trifling pettiness of the immigration system was entirely out of our hands to check. It didn't matter. Where it might matter was in the chambers of immigration judges -- who were wildly overworked and may or may not care -- and, of course, in the initial decision of immigration officials to make commonsense decisions about which cases to prioritize and which to let slide. But by the time the case gets up to the appellate court level, the immigrant is pretty well doomed -- no matter how cruel or manifestly unjust their case is.

So let's be clear: deporting Ubaidullah Abdulrashid Radiowala is needlessly cruel and manifestly unjust. There's no point to it other than the cruelty. He had been living in the United States for almost twenty years. He had raised a family here. He had sent his kids to college. He had built a successful business. He hadn't hurt anybody. He came to immigration authority's attention based on a traffic stop. A traffic stop!

But of course, today the cruelty is the point.

Radiowala has already been deported back to India. I hope he's safe. And I hope his family is getting by. But goodness, what a terrible thing we've done. What a terrible, terrible betrayal of the American ethos this is.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Some Libertarians Are REAL Easy to "Coerce"

John Ziegler is a "conservative/libertarian" columnist who has views on race and how our current surge in racism came to be. Specifically, he thinks that "The left forced non urban/liberal whites (even those who were not overtly racist) to start thinking tribally."

Wow, forced, you say? That's strong language, and some people reasonably wanted to some clarification as to what "forcing" Ziegler had in mind. It must have been pretty intense, to force good White people (even the not overtly racist ones!) into "tribal" thinking.

Or, well, it could be this:
Okay then. I guess I just have a different view on what counts as "force". But then, I'm not a libertarian, with their deep respect for human agency and liberty, nor a conservative, with their strong commitment to personal responsibility.

H/T: Hilzoy, who also spotted the "one for English" example (this post emerged because I had to dig that one out myself -- I couldn't believe it just from reading it).

Monday, July 22, 2019

Mark Sanford's Proposed Primary Challenge Against Trump

Mark Sanford has had an interesting career.

The former Governor of South Carolina penned a beautiful editorial about what it meant for Barack Obama to compete in his state's primary in 2008. Of course, his tenure as Governor is most renowned when he went missing -- "hiking the Appalachian Trail", his staff claimed -- in order to visit a mistress in Buenos Aires.

An improbable comeback saw him elected to the House, only to lose a primary challenge from far-right Republican Katie Arrington, who in turn improbably lost the general election in a deep red seat to Democrat Joe Cunningham.

And now Sanford is mulling challenging Donald Trump in the Republican primary.

What's interesting is that while Sanford is at least decently positioned to tackle Trump on his racism and bigotry (Sanford was one of the more vocal Republicans calling him out on that while in Congress), that doesn't sound like it will be the focus of his proposed primary:
But notably, Sanford, who has been a vocal critic of Trump in the past, isn’t here to reclaim morality, or stand against Trump’s racist rhetoric. Trump’s racism is all distraction, Sanford says, from what he sees as the true problem facing America: bloated Social Security and Medicare programs raising the national debt.
“It’s this sort of nuclear swirl with Trump in the center of it in Republican circles, and in the process, we’re not talking about issues like the debt and the deficit that I think really are going to impact people’s lives in profound ways,” he said. “I would rather you get a little more excited about debt, deficit, and government spending than the tone I hear in your voice. I want passion. I want passion on this subject.”
Now, to be sure -- a GOP primary against Trump for his racism would be doomed to fail for the simple reason that Trump's racism is overwhelmingly popular among Republicans. But at least it'd provide a stark moral narrative. A campaign centered around the scintillating subject of the national debt is both doomed to fail and pointless.