- Raul Reyes: Trump raises hopes he is fascinated about immigration reform, then dashes them in his speech to Congress
- He says that is probably the most anti-immigrant president in trendy historical past — and his actions converse louder than his phrases
Whereas Trump stopped in need of endorsing a path to citizenship for the undocumented, this was nonetheless a startling break together with his previous hard-line stance on immigration. A senior administration official additionally informed journalists that Trump can be open to legalization for undocumented immigrants who haven’t dedicated critical or violent crimes.
Then got here Trump’s deal with earlier than Congress, and his true intentions have been revealed. His speak of immigration reform, we now know, was simply that: Speak. At greatest, his earlier statements about immigration reform have been a publicity stunt designed to gin up curiosity (and rankings, which Trump is obsessive about) in his speech. At worst, this bait-and-switch was a merciless hoax perpetrated on thousands and thousands of undocumented individuals who might need briefly hoped for a reprieve from potential deportation.
In reality, Trump’s speech supplied little significant coverage on immigration, past conflating immigrants with crime and misrepresenting key info underlying unlawful immigration. Tellingly, there was no point out of providing legalization to anybody.
“As we converse tonight,” Trump mentioned in his speech, “we’re eradicating gang members, drug sellers, and criminals that threaten our communities and prey on our harmless residents.” However this declare is undermined by the government’s own data. Statistics from the Division of Homeland Safety and Immigration and Customs Enforcement present that whereas the current spherical of ICE raids has focused “detachable aliens” who’ve been convicted of quite a lot of crimes and misdemeanors, the biggest single class of individuals arrested have been “noncriminals.”
Trump informed the assembled members of Congress that he believed “actual and constructive immigration reform is feasible,” so long as lawmakers dedicated to enhancing American jobs and wages, rising home safety and restoring respect for the rule of regulation.
Sure, such reform is feasible, however it’s unlikely Trump will expend any political capital making it occur. He was elected by a base that’s fervently against something resembling “amnesty.” He has surrounded himself with advisers like white nationalist champion Steve Bannon, the xenophobic Stephen Miller, and Legal professional Normal Jeff Periods, who wants curbs on legal immigration.
Trump must struggle together with his core supporters and closest advisers to maneuver any plan for legalization ahead, and this could quantity to a betrayal on his marketing campaign’s signature difficulty. So regardless of Trump’s teasing of a “compromise,” that isn’t taking place.
As an alternative of listening to Trump’s immigration rhetoric, allow us to take a look at the actions of his younger administration. His anti-Muslim journey ban despatched People to the streets in offended protest earlier than it was halted by the ninth Circuit Court docket of Appeals. His administration drastically expanded the pool of undocumented immigrants focused for deportation, which has despatched shock, worry and anxiousness throughout immigrant communities nationwide.
He has threatened to punish cities that don’t go together with his plans to deport as many individuals as potential. He has known as for 15,000 extra Border Patrol and ICE brokers, at a time when unlawful entries on our southern border are at their lowest level in decades.
Certain, Trump did recycle some immigration-related coverage we have heard about for some time now. He spoke about his “nice, nice wall,” although there was no point out of Mexico paying for it. He mentioned that he needs to maneuver the USA towards a merit-based authorized immigration system, jettisoning the household unity precept that has guided our immigration coverage for many years.
And Trump introduced the creation of a brand new — and pointless — workplace known as VOICE to spotlight the crimes dedicated by undocumented immigrants. This drew groans and boos from some Democrats within the viewers, and for good purpose.
What reputable perform can such an workplace probably serve, aside from to stoke anti-immigrant and anti-Latino sentiments? All types of individuals commit crimes, not simply undocumented immigrants. Immigrants, together with the undocumented, are literally associated with lower levels of crime than the native-born. Moreover, we have already got a federal Office for Victims of Crime, whose capabilities would appear to overlap with this proposed company.
There was actually not a lot new in Trump’s speech to Congress on immigration. What was astonishing was how simply — as soon as once more — the media appeared to fall for the concept that some type of “pivot” was within the works from Trump.
Let’s be clear: That is probably the most anti-immigrant president in trendy historical past — and his actions converse louder than his phrases.