America’s immigration system is broken. Propaganda makes the damage worse.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem’s response to the situation amounts to undermining a core principle of democracy. She and the propogandists should back off, and Congress should get fixes done.

Noem has joined Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in claiming that the Biden administration is not up to the job of protecting the southern border from an upsurge of people seeking entry into the United States. Noem, unlike Abbot, is paying to deploy up to 50 National Guard troops to the Texas-Mexico border with a $1 million private donation.

This move is being funded by a wealthy Tennessee megadonor. It has obvious political appeal to the Republican base. Both are beside the point.

Private funding of a military mission amounts to creating a private army, small though it may be, and violates the principle of civilian oversight of the military by the duly elected federal government. Pressures at the border cannot justify what amounts to sending a well-armed mercenary force from one state into another without either federal permission or control.

Thousands of men, women and children have flooded to the U.S.-Mexico border in recent months. They are fleeing abject poverty, gang violence and climate change. Many are women and children.

This rush is a problem that the richest nation on earth can find a way to handle. Propaganda portrays it as an invading horde threatening every American in his or her bed.

“History shows that propaganda can make a dominant group mad with panic and fear about the threat of a small minority subjugating them … .”

This description from Jason Stanley, a professor of philosophy at Yale University, is a far better way to understand the demonizing of immigrants and immigration policy that marks much politicized messaging around immigration.

America’s immigration policy is a shambles. From farms to urban restaurants, employers need workers while legal commuting across the southern border has been pinched to a trickle. Waits for green cards extend for years. Families remain apart, having been separated at the border.

Immigrants are, and always have been, essential to this nation. All national and racial ancestries have been woven into the patchwork quilt of the U.S. since before independence was even declared. There is no one prototypical American, and there never has been.

The Fourth of July honored a flag mixed with stars and stripes and multiple colors. An immigration system based on that mix, not on armed resistance, should be the goal.


“Our View” represents the opinion of the newspaper editorial board, which is made up of members of its board of directors. Remarks may be directed to editorialboard@mtexpress.com.

Load comments