Of the President and Ostriches

Of the President and Ostriches

A little different type of post today, this one about emotion, action, and our president rather than history, immigrants, and the law. Because these days, headlines and emotions are hardly mutually exclusive, and this is a potential problem.

Last week, a New York Times op-ed piece talked about the ‘disorienting effect’ of Trump’s words, tweets, and actions thus far in his presidency. It cites the many changes in policy, seemingly weekly, that have baffled even the president’s base. That things seem noisy and arbitrary … day to day in most instances.

Love Trump or hate Trump, only the most blinkered of followers would dispute that, thus far, this administration is hardly a paragon of policy efficiency.

Over the last few months we have posted at least a dozen articles – with some extensive comments – on Facebook going over the immigration headlines across the country. “Trump to Revoke DACA”; “Trump Targets the Parents of DACA Kids”; “ICE Cracks Down”; “Trump Expresses Empathy for DACA Kids”; “Homeland Security Head Tells Immigrants to Be Worried”; “Trump Administration Will Not Rescind Obama DACA Rules”; “Trump Administration Under Pressure From Base Reconsiders Decision Not to Rescind Obama DACA Rules.”

It goes on and on, across seemingly every issue effecting immigrants in the United States. There is probably no need to remind anyone that the travel ban that may or may not be heard by the Supreme Court (and even if it is, it will most likely not be until October), greatly effected people already in the US with visas and green cards. The effects of the once and future immigration orders of this administration are very wide and very unnerving to a great many people who currently work and contribute to the productivity of the United States.

Contributing to the unease are the never ending headlines and the sensational cases – the DACA kid detained a few hours before his high school prom, for instance – blaring across social media and the networks. It can be nerve racking, uncomfortable, threatening and like anything that is nerve racking, uncomfortable, and threatening, it can – as many immigration practitioners are seeing these days – cause people to shut down and ‘bury their heads in the sand.’

 

A Dr. Seuss cartoon from the late 1930’s. He wasn’t all about The Cat in the Hat.

Here’s the thing about being an ostrich and ‘burying your head in the sand.’ It doesn’t work … and not even ostriches do it. It’s a myth dating from the ancient Greeks. Ostriches are enormous – they can stand up to 9 feet high and weigh 350 pounds. They can run 43 miles per hour while executing enormously complex zig-zag motions; their eyesight and sense of smell are astoundingly acute; their kick can injure and maim.

Ostriches do not bury their heads in the sand and let bad things happen to them. Ostriches very much fend for themselves.

Our advice in this current climate is – be an ostrich. Go at the problem, confront it, do whatever you have to do to stay ahead. In immigration law that almost always means filing every form, paying every fee, watching every deadline, and doing whatever needs to be done to be in compliance with immigration regulations as they stand today.

Today is what counts, everything else is a theory until it becomes law and Congress authorizes payment for it.