In 1790, the finest mind in the First Congress, and of his generation, addressed in the House of Representatives the immigration issue: “It is no doubt very desirable that we should hold out as many inducements as possible for the worthy part of mankind to come and settle amongst us.” Perhaps today’s 115th Congress will resume the Sisyphean task of continuing one of America’s oldest debates, in which James Madison was an early participant: By what criteria should we decide who is worthy to come amongst us?

About a year ago, our newspaper began receiving inquiries from various television production companies about the Branch Davidians. The Trib, as the newspaper of record for the 1993 Branch Davidian raid, siege and fire, possesses thousands of photographs from that era — a visual treasure trove for production officials preparing 25th anniversary specials. Predictably, most of them sought images of Vernon Howell (David Koresh), guns and the fire.

McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna expressed his familiar contempt for the Tribune-Herald in Thursday’s tooth-and-nail candidate forum with challenger Barry Johnson before the McLennan County Republican Club. In branding the Trib a purveyor of “fake news” and a “ridiculous rag,” he inspired applause from supporters in one part of Knox Hall, stunned silence from Republicans elsewhere. By the time the hour was done, the 45-year-old DA had succeeded only in confirming his sustained lack of accountability to taxpaying voters and reality-based press regarding sworn allegations of corruption.

The downsides of President Donald Trump’s first year in office are legion, but among the most serious has undoubtedly been his effect on American soft power. Case in point is the global response to the president’s alleged remarks that the United States should no longer accept immigrants from “s---hole countries” such as Haiti and various African nations — an episode that has shown how Trump excels at using the bully pulpit to bring down international condemnation on his own country.

Flashback

What were we talking about one year ago? Take a look back.

More than a million women and the men who love them took to the streets of locales ranging from frigid Fairbanks, Alaska, to Austin (with a reported 50,000) to Washington, D.C., Saturday, nearly eclipsing the inauguration of a president they vow to resist vigorously. But beyond expressing outrage at Donald Trump’s arguably misogynist words and deeds and concern about issues such as health care, voting access and civil rights, what does all this civil uproar signify? Does it have any lasting impact in terms of policy and the law?