Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Has Rep. Tilman Goins Just Helped all of Tennessee's Immigrants?

Posted By on Tue, Feb 18, 2014 at 5:30 AM

Rep. Tilman Goins, from Morristown, has a resolution (HJR0582) which would urge our Congressional delegation to "do all within its power to influence the Department of Justice to permit asylum for the Romeike family." You'll recall that the Romeikes are currently in the U.S. because they want to homeschool their kids and their home country of Germany won't let them. I won't rehash my old post, except to say that I highly doubt so many Tennessee Republicans would be excited about a Muslim family that had come to the attention of the authorities in Germany for homeschooling fleeing to an isolated part of the U.S. to avoid public schooling. But, whatever.

The important thing is that Goins' resolution suggests something important about how all of Tennessee's immigrants can get the sympathy of Tennessee Republicans — claim you're being oppressed by Germany. Apparently this is the magic that opens all doors of friendliness to you.

Sure, maybe you can't even find Germany on a map. Just say it's against your religion to know where countries are and mention that, if you went to Germany, you'd be subjected to conditions (and here I'm quoting from HJR0582) "promulgated under Adolf Hitler in 1938." You don't have to let on that those conditions are "sunny skies" or "German ground under your feet." (And, my god, if things that were "promulgated under Adolf Hitler" are all uniformly terrible and worth protecting people from, I have some bad news for Goins about the car plant in Chattanooga.)

This is so rich. We've endured a decade of politicians in this state loving to blame immigrants and refugees for every problem we have and the toll on those people, who want nothing more than jobs and places to live and respect for their religious beliefs, has been astronomical. But the second we get a hold of a story about a white Christian family, oh, well, then hold on. Now we need to show compassion and understanding.

Listen, I have no problem with the Romeike family figuring out a way to stay here. We have a long tradition in this country of taking in Germany's recalcitrant religious groups and then gawking at them on vacation. There's no reason we can't do the same to the Romeikes. But it sure would be nice to see some of this newfound compassion for immigrants spread around to all immigrants and not just the ones "oppressed" by Germany.

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