2016 Texas Republican Platform - Part 14, Foreign Policy, Xenophobia, & Isolationism
This entry is part of a series taking a look at the latest Texas Republican Party Platform. For a list of all entries in this series, go to the Introduction. This entry is going to cover foreign policy, in particular the xenophobia and isolationism evident in the platform.
Border Wall- We support building a high wall with a wide gate in order to prevent illicit border crossings without preventing legal border crossings as one part of a complete border security plan. The wall will only be built where it is deemed effective and cost-efficient.
Of course, this being the year of Donald Trump, a border security wall has to be discussed in this platform. At least, though, the Texas Republicans are a little more realistic than Trump, saying that the wall will only go where it would be "effective and cost-efficient".
Here's a decent article from the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), Border Fencing: One Tool among Many. CIS has been described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as "the anti-immigrant movement's leading think tank", and in other articles has stated, "the reality is that CIS has never found any aspect of immigration that it liked". Clearly, the CIS is not an organization easy on immigration. Here's what he had to say about one particular area, illustrating why a fence along the whole border isn't practical:
But the isolated and inhospitable nature of the area means there aren't many people walking across Big Bend. The border patrol's Big Bend sector records the fewest arrests of any part of the border, less than 1 percent of the nationwide total, fewer than 4,000 illegal aliens last year. It's safe to say that if the Border Patrol is arresting an average of only about ten people a day along a 500-mile stretch of border, we probably don't need fencing there.
Building a wall or a fence along the majority of the U.S. - Mexico border is not a practical solution to illegal immigration.
Citizenship- We call on the United States Congress to pass a constitutional amendment that defines citizenship as those born to a citizen of the United States or through naturalization.
I typically don't like linking to Huffington Post, but here's a good article on their site, These Countries Show Why Losing Birthright Citizenship Could Be A Disaster. One of the biggest dangers is in creating an underclass of stateless people who have no home country, as has happened in many of the countries that don't confer birthright citizenship like most of the New World. There are second and third generation immigrants in countries being denied some of the basic protections that citizens receive, but they've known no home other than the nations refusing them citizenship.
If the intent is to punish illegal immigration in the U.S., doing away with birthright citizenship punishes the wrong people. It was the parents who broke the law to enter this country, not their children who had no choice in where they were born and raised. And after those children have grown up, having lived their whole lives in the U.S., what realistic options are there for them once they become adults. This is their country.
Take these next two together.
United Nations- The United Nations is a detriment to the sovereignty of the United States and other countries, and because of this we support:
- Our withdrawal from the United Nations
- The removal of the United Nations from United States soil
- The rejection of all Agenda 21 and Agenda 2030 policies and programs
- The rejection of all related NGO's, Councils, and Environmental Programs
- A zero budget allotment of American tax dollars to any United Nations programs
- The opposition of any designation of World Heritage Sites in the United States and especially in Texas.
International Organizations- We support United States withdrawal from the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization, and the World Bank.
I'm not going to comment on these other than to point out just how isolationist they reveal the Texas Republicans to be. It's unthinkable to withdraw from these types of organizations in an increasingly interconnected world. They're the primary means for all the world's nations to work together.
...We support free market enterprise, private humanitarian aid to developing countries, continued favorable treatment of proven allies, censure of adversarial entities that seek destruction of other countries and strong policy on confronting terrorists...
Foreign Aid- We support foreign aid only to our allies in cases of national defense or catastrophic disasters, with Congressional approval.
I'm just going to repeat what I wrote last time - Wow. I'm not even sure how to respond to that. They're advocating doing away with things like Fighting Malaria, Food Security, and Ending Extreme Poverty. That's just unconscionable.
...Our policy is inspired by God's biblical promise to bless those who bless Israel and curse those who curse Israel and we further invite other nations and organizations to enjoy the benefits of that promise...
This is another one I've brought up in all their previous platforms. They're basing foreign policy on Bible verses! And keep in mind what I mentioned in introduction to this series - all of the planks of this platform were approved on an individual basis. That's a completely absurd position, and should be an embarrassment.
Refugee Resettlement Program-We urge the Governor to immediately notify the United States Department of Health and Human Services Secretary that Texas is withdrawing from the Refugee Resettlement Program joining twelve other states that have also and will no longer provide state funds toward the Refugee Resettlement Program.
There's a poem hanging inside a certain statue in New York City, the end of which reads:
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
I like to think that statue and the words hung inside of it mean something. They're a symbol that America is welcoming, is the land of opportunity, and that we will take in victims of oppression and give them the chance for a new life here. They are not symbols of cowardice, of refusing to help the downtrodden and refugees because of some miniscule chance of danger.
To put this danger in perspective, chances of being killed by a terrorist in any given year are roughly 1:20,000,000 (source). That compares to the following risks (all taken from Mongabay.com - The most common causes of death due to injury in the United States):
|1:21,581||Accidental poisoning by and exposure to noxious substances|
|1:423,548||Fall involving bed, chair, other furniture|
|1:485,549||Drowning and submersion while in or falling into swimming-pool|
|1:668,218||Fall on and from ladder or scaffolding|
|1:807,349||Drowning and submersion while in or falling into bath-tub|
|1:841,914||Accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed|
|1:2,780,869||Electric transmission lines|
|1:5,005,564||Contact with hot tap-water|
|1:5,098,259||Contact with hornets, wasps and bees|
|1:9,176,867||Explosion and rupture of pressurized devices|
|1:10,588,692||Bitten or struck by dog|
Now, I certainly don't intend that to mean that we should ignore the risk of terrorism. But this certainly puts it in perspective. Terrorism is not the huge risk that fearmongers make it out to be. You're far more likely to drown in a swimming pool or suffocate in your own bed than you are to be killed in a terrorist attack.
And who are we turning away to protect ourselves from this tiny threat?
If those pictures make you uncomfortable, they damn well should. That is the human cost of refusing to help these refugees. Hundreds of thousands of people have already been killed in Syria or trying to flee. And we have cowards like these Texas Republicans refusing to help them because of a threat less dangerous than sleeping in your own bed at night.
And that completes my review of the 2016 Texas Republican Party Platform. It really is a truly awful platform, full of misunderstandings of government and the Constitution, bigotry, xenophobia, fear-mongering, paranoid conspiracy theories, and other positions that would just plain harm the State of Texas and the United States of America. Like I've mentioned in previous years, it's more what you expect from your crazy racist uncle after he's had a bit too much to drink at family reunions, instead of the official platform of the most powerful political party in the State of Texas. It's an embarrassment to the state, and should be an embarrassment to Republicans.