Immigration on our southern border is a complex problem that's been with us for decades. No one has managed it well. The Congress has made matters more difficult resisting immigration reform. That's why it was an act of leadership and courage for @VP to take it on.
The VP's trip to Mexico and Guatemala involved delicate and emotionally fraught issues. Her focus was on having the US play a more active role in helping our neighbors address the root causes of immigration--especially important after the Trump admin rejected such a role.
She made substantial commitments to help in this area--through aid and loans. Her comment that immigrants from Guatemala should not come to the US was the only comment she could have given and any alternative she might have offered would also have generated substantial criticism.
The complexity of the issue made her a lightning rod for critiques from the right and the left. The fact that both sides were made a little uncomfortable by her stance actually suggests she and the administration is doing it right and trying to handle this issue in balanced way.
There are no short-term answers here. Indeed, in some respects, so long as the US remains rich and a land of opportunity it will draw the interest of neighbors from deprived or dangerous environments. Everything she said and did recognizes that challenge.
The media seemed to want to play gotcha around the wording of her answers regarding visiting the border. But she said she would go. She also made it clear that the Biden team's focus would be on root causes unlike the Trump approach of building walls (and contemplating moats).
The questioning was an attempt to let the right and Trumpists set the agenda and the administration has been smart to keep their eye on the ball. There is much to repair here. It is going to take a long time to fix things. Much has already been done.
Notably, many of the worst Trump policies have been reversed and other bad policies are being reconsidered and enforcement of them is being modified. There is no question--none at all--that Biden-Harris immigration policy is more humane and wiser than Trump policies.
We must also separate out from the assessments of her trip the desire of the right to demonize her. It allows them to play to their racism and their sexism. And it also is inevitable given the potential future role she will play in the Democratic Party.
The reflexiveness and shallowness of the GOP critiques is obvious because a.) it's consistent with their past behavior and b.) it is far too early in the deployment of the Biden-Harris policies to evaluate them. (Reminder, we're not even 5 months into this administration.)
For those of a fairer bent, those interested in our regional policies, and those who want to see better, more humane, more effective management of the problem at our border, however, the early signs out of the Biden-Harris team, despite some missteps, are encouraging.
The trip was effective. The Vice President represented the administration and the country well. And the effort this week should win high marks for those who appreciate the changes afoot...and at worst, incompletes, from those who want to see more change, faster.
Taking on immigration and voting rights, @VP is demonstrating that she is not afraid of tough issues and that she sees her job as serving rather than simply cultivating her reputation. It is a Biden-like approach to the Vice Presidency and it suits her and benefits us all.

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More from @djrothkopf

25 May
This is a stunning display of intellectual dishonesty. It serially suggests equivalency between those who oppose Israel's policy and those who espouse hate, implies a tie between those with rational critiques and those with irrational hostility.…
It suggests that criticism of Israel is due to anti-semitism if critics somehow fail in those criticisms to denounce every other act of wrong-doing on the planet at the same time. And of course, it suggests that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism simply because...
...some anti-Semites also frame their repulsive hatred in criticisms of Israel. It is a classic example of dishonest argument, contortionist in the way it twists and weaves half-truths, distortions and sophistry into what appears to be an argument but is really a tantrum.
Read 5 tweets
17 May
In an effort to combat the "four legs good, two legs bad" oversimplifications that dominate the commentary on the Israel-Palestine conflict, here are some thoughts that I find perfectly easy to keep in my mind simultaneously...
1. Israel is a powerful state that has systematically deprived Palestinians of their most basic human rights, seized their land, and imposed new laws and policies that are the immediate cause for the current conflict.
2. Hamas is a terrorist group sponsored by Iran.
3. Israeli political leaders knew that if they continued with their land confiscations in an effort to pander to far right groups they would trigger a backlash from Palestinians & they invited it in an effort to strength the political position of Primer Minister Bibi Netanyahu.
Read 22 tweets
13 May
GOP has a mantra that one reason they still back Trump is that he is such a great vote getter. Setting aside the fact that he lost the popular vote twice, he also got a lower percentage of the popular vote in 2016 than Mitt Romney got four years earlier.
Trump's 2016 vote total was roughly the same as George W. Bush's 2004 vote total. Trump's 2016 popular vote percentage was the lowest by a winning candidate in nearly 25 years (Bill Clinton's was lower but that was the race in which Perot won a big chunk of votes as 3d party.)
Well, what about 2020 you say? Well, Trump's popular vote percentage in 2020 was nearly the same as in 2016. GOP talk about the fact Trump won over big vote total in 2020 but percentage of turnout is what matters especially since polarizing Trump also drove anti-Trump turnout.
Read 6 tweets
12 May
Today, the House GOP will demonstrate that they're the Trumpiest, Trumpmost, Trumptastic, Trumpelstilskinish, Trumpcentric, Trumpdillyicious, Trumptheistic, Trumpers ever. They'll declare to all that they place their allegiance to one man ahead of the truth & the Constitution.
They'll make a statement that says, "We're 100% behind the sedition, the violence, the attacks on police, the 30,000 lies, the corruption, the racism, the sex abuse, the betraying the country, the attacks on democracy, and the obstruction and perversion of justice of our man."
They will go on the record saying, "We place our man, our cult, our fealty to a serial criminal ahead of our oaths of office, our constituents and our country." Four and a half months after January 6th, they will make it clear that they stand with those who attacked the Capitol.
Read 5 tweets
11 May
Trump, a guy who's never won the popular vote, twice impeached, rated the worst president ever, serially corrupt, a traitor, rapist, racist, gave the GOP a perfect out on Jan 6. They could've easily just turned the page. But instead they said, "Nope, we'll stick with him."
Some might see this as a sign of Trumpian power, fear of his wrath, as implied recently by Sen. Lindsey Graham. But it's not that. It's the collective recognition of the weakness of a party that's lost the popular vote in 7 of the last 8 presidential elections.
It's the weakness of a party that sees the demographic handwriting on the wall. It's the weakness of a party that knows the one thing that can do them in is a free and open democracy functioning as it should, being guided by the will of the people.
Read 12 tweets
11 May
Nearly every outbreak of Israel-Palestinian violence in recent years has been a grotesque exercise in false equivalency. While there are wrong doers on both sides, culpability is not the same when one side has hugely disproportionate power, inflicts pain disproportionately,...
...sets the rules & laws that oppress the other side, serially violates the human rights of those on the other side & often provokes the situation by compounding bad laws & policies with worse ones. It is not the same when Palestinians throw rocks and Israel launches air attacks.
It is not the same when Palestinians respond to daily humiliations & dispossessions with anger after Israel has imposed those & placed behind its policies the most potent military force in the region. It is possible to acknowledge the fear caused by Hamas rocket attacks & still..
Read 9 tweets

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