Sunday, August 30, 2020

High-stakes, surprise naturalizations

Suketu Mehta, author of "This Land is Our Land: An Immigrant's Manifesto," penned a moving opinion piece in The Washington Post.  His focus is the unexpected naturalization ceremony that occured during the 2020 Republican National Convention. It was unexpected not only to viewers but to the unwitting immigrants who were taking their oath of citizenship while national television looked on. 

Beyond unexpected, the on-air naturalization raised concerns about the conflation of pageantry and politics once DHS employees were warned of a Hatch Act violation for engaging in partisan activities during their official duties. Apparently it raised concerns about the global pandemic as well. Mehta writes about the stakes for the soon-to-be-citizens:

“So the five — two of them Muslims, a group that their host, during his first presidential campaign, proposed banning from entering the United States — looked on, with an unsmiling bust of Abraham Lincoln as backdrop, and cheered. What choice did they have? It was a humiliating spectacle and physically risky, to boot — none of them had a mask on, and neither did any of the eminences present. The masks wouldn’t look good on TV; they would be off-message for a convention that is a celebration of, above all, the inalienable right of Americans to commit mass suicide.”

MHC (h/t Karthick Ramakrishnan)

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