A Few Words About Tom Cotton and Immigration

As you read these words, please remember that I’m a liberal, the kind that Tom Cotton would like to invite to Guantanamo Bay for an unplanned vacation.

Several days ago, I wrote about progressives failing to understand the fight about the Department of Education. Northwest Arkansas residents heard first-hand from Senator Tom Cotton last night that he still strongly desires to break the Dept. of Education. I’m certain that this will happen, absent a huge change in government in the next year.(Although, as one of my friends told Tom Cotton in the Town Hall last night, it’s difficult to trust the State of Arkansas to do the right thing, given we had to have the federal government come in with troops simply to integrate our schools.)

Today, I’d like to offer a few words about immigration, ones which will be music to conservative ears.

Tom Cotton has positioned himself to take over the work of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Tom is staunchly conservative and will continue to carry the torch for conservatism in the senate. He has already sponsored immigration legislation under the Trump administration. I’m certain he will insist on strong immigration action in the next few years. He has connections in the military, congress, the intelligence community, and the new administration. He’s been clear about his views on almost all the immigration arguments. For him, they boil down to security and economy, which are two of the GOP’s most important themes.

Absent a miraculous bolt of lightning from the heavens, those who disagree with the GOP and Senator Cotton have a painful road of incremental losses ahead of them. Cotton wants to reduce legal immigration and to remove all undocumented foreigners, including Dreamers/DACA. He’s got a Harvard education and a head for logistics. He artfully argues away the statistics showing the benefits of a foreign workforce. In his mind, his views are justified and supported by his voters. Senator Cotton does not hold his views on immigration loosely or lightly – they define his worldview. Being reasonable won’t work to change his mind – but then again, neither will shouting at him.

I predict that some of the attempts to implement immigration action will be stymied by cost and the courts. Much of it, however, will pass scrutiny and occur to varying degrees. The courts will step out of the way once the administration sharpens its overly-broad attempts to shape policy.

Given that NWA has a large population of Latinos, I predict that Senator Cotton will use his pull in the administration to orchestrate one of the first waves of ICE sweeps in our corner of the state. It will not only serve his penchant for retribution for the ocean of protest he was handed last night, but it will be a cost-effective publicity-fueled way to kick off the effort.

In short, Senator Tom Cotton will use his considerable intelligence and pull to target the Springdale area first. Having observed him, I see that he knows trying to ease into such an effort will cause a greater resistance effort than simply striking hard and first where much of the resistance has grown.

As satisfying as it was last night to see Senator Cotton be told the harsh realities of those he disagrees with, I can see the coming backlash already forming.

We can’t rely on public sentiment to dissuade such an effort. The truth is that many citizens want absolute control of our borders and of who is allowed to stay here. We have underestimated the sentiment of branding undocumented foreigners as criminals who should suffer the consequences of being here without permission. Most will not join the shouts of protest as people we know are dragged away. It’s a hard thing to say, but I can see it coming.

Tom Cotton is going to be that firebrand who will not be afraid to step into the fight and deliver action. We can angrily thank Donald Trump for liberating people like Senator Cotton.

I can see all these things because although I disagree with much of Tom Cotton’s agenda, he has consistently held firm to his ideals as the country has shifted to meet him in the middle. Just as we looked away for a moment as the country elected Donald John Trump, I am certain that we’ve also looked away just long enough to miss the subtle change in commitment from the GOP to finally take decisive immigration action.

We are going to suffer and it is best if we prepare for it.

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