Following is my own personal analysis of Donald Trump’s position paper on immigration. I did some amateur digging and gathered more detail on Mr. Trump’s proposal to satisfy my own questions about his statements.
I confess to being skeptical about Trump since he comes across to me as an arrogant, loudmouthed blowhard.
But recently, he has been saying things that I believe needed to be said while the other candidates have been mute. Oh, we hear the platitudes and sound bites where they declare that they came from humble beginnings and have consistently fought for the middle class, but most are firmly in the pocket of the establishment and I’m convinced that there are several of them that if elected, would embrace the “business as usual” approach and we’d see only minimal difference (if any) in the way Washington operates.
I must confess that his immigration plan does hit many of the sore spots that irritate conservatives like me and he does offer some reasonable solutions. In my opinion though, some aren’t realistic – but I’m open to hearing more details about those weak spots, maybe I’m wrong or maybe I can be convinced.
Trump has shown a willingness to confront the status quo and that’s a positive. Many conservatives are convinced that progressive programs are damaging to the country and want a return to sound, logical, Constitutional government.
The most important single statement that I’ll use to preface this analysis is a quote by Sen. Jeff Sessions. Sen. Sessions says that Trump’s plan “reestablishes the principle that America’s immigration laws should serve the interests of its own citizens.” Is that spot on or what?
If you haven’t see what all of the hullabaloo is about, here’s a link to Trump’s immigration plan.
Make Mexico Pay for the Wall – Trump says “Mexico must pay for the wall and, until they do, the United States will, among other things: impound all remittance payments derived from illegal wages.”
I’m not sure on the mechanics of how he intends on doing that – most opinions think that it is all but impossible to do that. But, impounding ALL payments wouldn’t be necessary. Simply increasing various fees, as he suggests, should be doable – including fees for sending funds back to Mexico if the sender can’t prove citizenship. That method resolves the problem of separating funds sent legally by citizens and funds sent by illegal aliens. Call it a financial transfer tariff or whatever. If the sender can’t prove citizenship, he or she would be subject to the tariff.
According to Fox News Latino, remittances from expatriates (mostly illegals) living in the United States totaled $21.89 billion (that’s BILLION) were sent back to Mexico in 2013.
Cutting foreign aid might be another solution. We budgeted for $757 million to go to Mexico in 2011 (Table 5 of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs: FY2011 Budget and Appropriations – from Congressional Research Service).
There are multiple sources from which funds could be taken to keep the full cost of a wall/fence from being borne by the taxpayers, even if Mexico doesn’t foot the entire bill.
There’s another important point to be made here. At least to satisfy me, the fence/wall doesn’t have to be impenetrable, that is, I want to reduce the flood of illegals crossing the border to a trickle. As some have said, it’s impossible to create a physical barrier that can never be breached – so if a few do come across, we still have other means of catching them.
Just because we can’t stop every single one is not a reason to throw up our hands and lament “it can’t be done,” all the while continuing to allow thousands to come across unimpeded.
Trump also said that there’d be mass deportations. What does that mean?
Doesn’t it depend on the definition of “mass”? Mass could simply mean “a lot,” but certainly couldn’t mean “all,” at least not all at once. The costs to deport some 11 million illegals is daunting (one estimate I saw put the bill at $140 billion), but if many of Trump’s other policies are put in place, some of the illegal population will self-deport.
If the jobs available to illegals dry up, they’ll stop coming and many of those already here will go home.
Triple the number of ICE officers – Trump’s site says, “Approximately 5,000 officers in ICE cover 50 states, Puerto Rico and Guam, and are attempting to enforce immigration law against 11 million illegal aliens already in the interior of the United States.” I understand that the number of officers may not be sufficient, but how many there should be I don’t know, I’ll have to accept Trump’s estimate for that.
Nationwide e-verify – according to a February 2015, NumbersUSA report, E-Verify remains voluntary throughout the country. It’s only mandatory in four states. Some states have passed legislation making its use mandatory for certain businesses, but others limit its implementation. For example, in 2011, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law that prohibits state municipalities from passing mandatory E-Verify ordinances. Illinois also limits E-Verify.
I also haven’t seen any mention of fines charged to employers who knowingly hire illegals. E-Verify must be mandatory and fines should be enforced for those employers who knowingly hire illegals as well.
Mandatory return of all criminal aliens – while the level of criminal act that warrants deportation needs to be specified, I agree that we should deport ALL illegal aliens who meet or exceed that threshold level. Obviously, felonies should be subject to immediate deportation.
Detention—not catch-and-release – I agree with detention as well. Catch and release is a joke, it only results in more violent acts against our citizens and offers no benefit to our U.S. citizenry.
Defund sanctuary cities – Absolutely, “sanctuary” cities are a joke and should never been allowed to begin with – someone who commits criminal acts should be in jail or deported, not welcomed and protected.
Enhanced penalties for overstaying a visa – This seems like a “no-brainer.” If there is no price to pay why wouldn’t everyone overstay their visa, what’s to stop them? If we aren’t going to enforce a time limit, why even have one? We need to enforce the ones already in place.
Cooperate with local gang task forces – This also seems like there should be no question. Law enforcement (of all jurisdictions) should be cooperating when fighting against gangs, regardless of the gang affiliation.
End birthright citizenship – We all know that this stems from the 14th Amendment which supposedly requires that all persons born in the U.S. automatically become United States citizens.
That interpretation relies on the “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” as including everyone. Some say that’s it’s not the law. It has never been the law. See this discussion (it’s a good one).
Under current immigration law, some exceptions already exist – found at 8 U.S.C. § 1401(a)—a baby born on American soil to a (1) foreign ambassador, (2) head of state, or (3) foreign military prisoner is not an American citizen. How is that possible that there are some exclusions? This is from the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1952 (INA), as it has been amended over the years. Do the exclusions make this federal law unconstitutional?
No. The Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment provides: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” The debate turns on the six words, “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof.” Some supposed “experts” believe that the Supreme Court could revise the interpretation of those critical six words to exclude citizenship when neither parent was a U.S. citizen. The interpretation in use today began back when “unauthorized immigration” simply didn’t exist in any appreciable numbers.
Even one of the Amendment’s authors, Senator Jacob Howard of Michigan said back then, it “will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens…” Many scholars believe that the wording was never intended to include a situation where neither of the parents were U.S. citizens.
It’s a contentious subject and one on which the country is currently split. The Supreme Court has never ruled on the birthright question when the specific issue is based on both parents being foreign citizens. A Supreme Court ruling would be a better solution than a very time-consuming amendment process, the other alternative.
Increase prevailing wage for H-1Bs – This also makes sense to me. I recognize that the country needs a pool of highly qualified technical workers to support our burgeoning technological progress, but NOT at the expense of our citizens.
Currently, Trump says that 80% of H-1B workers are hired into the bottom two rungs of the wage scale undercutting the prevailing wages for a specific STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) position. In other words, they’ll work cheaper than citizens and have become a popular way to reduce personnel costs for hi-tech companies – at the expense of U.S. citizens.
I have no objection to increasing the number of H-1B workers that we accept if it’s on a level playing field (requiring that they be paid at the same prevailing wage levels as citizens) thereby removing the incentive to hire a foreign worker in preference to an American citizen.
Requirement to hire American workers first – How can any American be against this item? Of course, hiring a citizen should always be a priority before considering any other non-citizen individual. We have far too many citizens who can’t find jobs now; our priority should be to reduce our own unemployment before looking for non-citizens to fill vacant positions.
End welfare abuse – Applicants for entry to the United States should be required to certify that they can pay for their own housing, healthcare and other needs before coming to the U.S. This is how we can be assured that we’re not adding to already massive entitlements (that we can’t afford) by bringing in more recipients who’ll be dependent on them.
Jobs program for inner city youth – Trump suggests replacing the J-1 visa program, which is designed to bring in foreign exchange students to enhance “cultural diplomacy” with a jobs program for inner city youth.
We currently allow about 90,000 students to come into the country for this purpose annually. Those 90,000 are taking jobs away from U.S. citizens and that’s not a reasonable program when the real unemployment rate for black youth is 51 percent. Why are we allowing foreign students to take jobs away from inner city youth? It doesn’t make sense.
Refugee program for American children – In effect, what Trump is saying is that we create a “refugee” program for our own American children without parents by giving them priority over asylum-seekers and refugees from other countries. This also seems reasonable that we take care of our own citizen children first.
Immigration moderation – Implement a moratorium on issuing green cards to foreign workers, requiring employers to hire from our pool of unemployed native (and even illegal) workers until immigration levels subside to more moderate historical averages before restarting the green card program.
As you can see, I like most of Trump’s proposals. A couple probably can’t be implemented as he describes, but could be possible in a more limited fashion with a few tweaks.
There’s no better way to say it than, “America’s immigration laws should serve the interests of its own citizens.”
I’ll be interested in your comments.