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The United States Is Becoming a Smaller, Meaner Nation

July 14, 2020
Plain English Version

People taking the citizenship oath in Des Moines on July 2. Photo Credit: Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press.

How do we know?  Under Trump’s presidency the government has almost stopped hiring new workers.  One-third of federal workers will be eligible to retire between now and 2025. Only six percent of federal employees are under 30 years old.

Voters in 2016 elected a president who does not like the U.S. government. He said he would “drain the swamp.” Most people thought he would hire the best workers he could find. It has not worked out that way. The turnover in his staff and cabinet is greater than any other president. 

It is a meaner government. President Trump has filled jobs for experts with political hacks. The Voice of America is an example. The job of the VOA is news about America and other countries. For that reason it needs to be independent. The new director of the VOA hired by Trump has begun to fire top officials. He may not renew the visas of foreign citizens who work at the VOA. The goal seems to be to turn the VOA into a voice for Trump.

Trump is trying to make it harder even for people who are here legally to stay here. His government is printing much fewer “green cards.” These are the I.D.s that legal permanent non-citizen residents must carry.

Thousands of green cards and employment documents are not being printed. An employee of USCIS, the agency that issues the cards, said they are under siege. Applicants want to know where their documents are. Fees fund the agency. It is going broke. Critics say the agency spent millions of dollars trying to find fraud by immigrants. The goal is to take citizenship away from immigrants who are now citizens.

There are thousands of people waiting to take the oath of citizenship. After years of reviews and documents, it takes only ten minutes to take the oath to become a citizen.

A man waiting to take the oath said, “I would be able to travel and reunite with family and apply for federal jobs. For about 126,000 would-be-citizens in waiting, it is also a matter of livelihood.”

Executive orders have almost ended green cards and work visas. It affects people applying from outside the country. Red tape has slowed the process for all those already in the U.S.

Many events rely on remote connections. Deportation hearings are being done by remote.  Taking the oath of citizenship is not one of them. The goal to reduce legal immigration is clear.

Some suspect that Trump is doing what he can to reduce the number of voters who might favor Joe Biden.

A nation once known for welcoming immigrants is now turning its back on them. A weakened federal government is less able to serve its people.

Source: The New York Times July 10, 2020

The Washington Post July 9, 2020

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