But the worst moment of the speech came near its end, when Clinton began to riff about the different kinds of people who should join Hillary’s effort. “If you love this country, you’re working hard, you’re paying taxes, you’re obeying the law and you’d like to become a citizen, you should choose immigration reform over someone that wants to send you back,” he said. Fair enough. Under any conceivable immigration overhaul, only those undocumented immigrants who have obeyed the law once in the United States—which includes paying taxes—will qualify for citizenship. Two sentences later, Clinton said that, “If you’re a young African American disillusioned and afraid … help us build a future where no one’s afraid to walk outside, including the people that wear blue to protect our future.” No problem there. Of course African Americans should be safe from abusive police, and of course, police should be safe from the murderers who threaten them.
But in between, Clinton said something dreadful: “If you’re a Muslim and you love America and freedom and you hate terror, stay here and help us win and make a future together, we want you.” The problem is in the assumption. American Muslims should be viewed exactly the same way other Americans are. If they commit crimes, then they should be prosecuted, just like other Americans. But they should not have to prove that they “love America and freedom” and “hate terror” to “stay here.” Their value as Americans is inherent, not instrumental. Their role as Americans is not to “help us win” the “war on terror.”
Whether Clinton meant to or not, he lapsed into Trumpism: the implication that Muslims are a class apart, deserving of special scrutiny and surveillance, guilty of terrorist sympathies until proven innocent...
I have a problem with their problem - what is the basis for assuming Clinton is specifically talking about American Muslims, rather than Muslims here as tourists, students or workers on a visa?
The reason I ask is that it is perfectly obvious that when Clinton talks about valuing the support of those who would "like to become a citizen" and exhorts them to "choose immigration reform", he is obviously not talking about citizens.
As to just how these citizen-aspirants are meant to show their support for immigration reform, well, I hope our former President was not advocating vote fraud from the convention podium. I also hope he was not encouraging foreigners to write illegal checks to the Hillary campaign.
Of course if foreigners are in this country, legally or well, pre-documentation, I am sure they are free to attend rallies, stuff envelopes, staff phone banks and knock on doors. So sure, let them show their support. Non-Citizens United for Hillary! Should be a winning message, since who really trusts America to be run by the Americans anyway?
Since Clinton was clearly talking about foreigners in the immigration passage I don't know why Mr. Beinart isn't willing to extend him that courtesy in evaluating the Muslim passage. And Clinton's plea that these Muslims should "stay here and help us win" suggests they might be thinking of leaving, which is surely more likely for a foreigner. Of course, that interpretation compounds the awkward question of just what mix of foreign and domestic support the Clinton's are seeking, but let's Move On.