SAN DIEGO — On immigration, Donald Trump — who always tells people how smart he is — has been, well, not smart. Just because you’re passionate about a topic doesn’t mean you understand it. Trump should heed the old saying: “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.”
Recently, when he set out to fix the one part of our immigration system that isn’t really broken — the process for admitting legal immigrants — Trump removed all doubt.
"We want immigrants coming in; we cherish the open door," Trump said on May 16. "But a big proportion of those immigrants must come in through merit and skill."
If you’re a Mexican-American columnist who writes about immigration, thick skin is a job requirement.
A lot to be offended about
I don’t offend easily. Although Trump has given it his best shot since he entered the political arena and decided the way to get elected — and be popular with his base — was to snuggle up to bigots who fear that the United States is being overrun by Mexicans.
I bristled when Trump likened Mexican immigrants to criminals, including my grandfather who came to the United States as a boy during the Mexican Revolution. I didn’t like it when Trump glibly said that Mexico doesn’t send its “best” immigrants north. And I was disappointed when he suggested that a Mexican-American federal judge who was born in the United States couldn’t be objective because he was “Mexican.”
All those things pushed my buttons. Readers have long accused me of having divided loyalties. The general theme seems to be that I write "like a Mexican" when I need to write like an American. Just a few days ago, Thomas Folgert of Cambridge, New York, observed: “You’re one Mexican American who has what appears to be a primary loyalty to Mexico.”
Yet, oddly enough, I really didn’t get offended until Trump took aim at the “American” side by proposing an immigration plan that would be an affront to some of the greatest traditions of this country.