Dear Senator Warren,
My wife and I are your constituents: we are technology and healthcare professionals who are ethnically Chinese and whose families immigrated to the U.S. in the 20th century. Our families came to the United States because of its democratic values, because of its constitutional protections against oppression, and because of its culture of inclusiveness and opportunity for all. We have enjoyed the education here, and we have built a productive, happy life, improving the health of our neighbors and creating inventions for the world.
In recent days, we have been alarmed at the speed at which constitutional protections for our minority neighbors have been stripped without reason. Officers of the Department of Homeland Security have not only carried out Trump's unconstitutional travel orders, but they have ignored court orders staying airport detentions. We are strong supporters of legal defenses and are contributing to their efforts, but the legal system, we fear, provides little protection when the law-enforcement branch of the government does not respect the rule of law. Law, in the end, is a form of customary behavior, and history has shown how easily the basic customs of society can be cast aside when those who wield power simply ignore the law. We must recognize it as a grave crisis of government.
Under the new American system being built by Trump, we can see that legal protections for minorities will be stripped, and that minorities will face economic, institutionalized, and cultural discrimination. We can see that our immigrant friends and neighbors will be imprisoned, interrogated, and deported. We see our government engaging in the kind of oppressive treatment that our parents and grandparents fled when coming to America.
There have been many reports of various people expressing “grave concern” and even “outrage.” Expressing outrage is not enough: we must stop this before opposition becomes impossible. We implore you to help find a way to organize and harness these concerns into an effective response that goes beyond outrage. We do not want our daily efforts, our tax dollars, and our standing as Americans going to support violations of the constitution. What else can we do to stop this catastrophe?
David Bau and Heidi Yeh
U.S. citizens and residents of Massachusetts
Some Democratic operatives are delighted about the crowds flocking to airports and are imagining ever-bigger crowds as a list of favorite liberal policies are threatened by Trump.
If you put other issues on the same level as immigration, you are blind to the real battle being fought. The Democratic leadership does not seem to understand that the issue of immigration is special, because the battle is fundamentally one about national identity.
We are a nation of immigrants.
Trump is all about attacking this identity: his orders say that this nation belongs only to the whitefolk who list their ancestry on Census forms as "American." Identity is special. People will suffer tariffs, corruption, crumbling schools, pollution, and sickness without a fight; but people are enraged when you attack who they are.