When Donald Trump ran for office, he made illegal immigration a major issue. At the time, not many candidates were talking about it. Sure, everyone was talking about the economy. Few were willing to make the connection between illegal immigration, national security, and the economy.
Then Trump enters. In his announcement speech, he put illegal immigration center stage. He made it clear his intentions to end Obama’s immigration policies, deport violent criminal aliens, and of course secure the border with a massive wall.
Critics immediately discredited the billionaire, both for his intentions to run for office and his focus on immigration. But look how much the election changed once he entered. The focus shifted to where he wanted it to be. Illegal immigration became a talking point among all candidates, pundits, and newscasters.
President Trump’s promise to reform immigration and end illegal entry into the United States became a rallying cry among his supporters. Why—because they were all racist? Of course not. Because, after years of suffering under an ailing economy, they needed a change. Jobs (especially manufacturing ones in Middle America) were being packed up and shipped to other countries. The few that were left were being taken by low-wage workers, many of whom were in this country illegally.
As in most cases, supporters attached their own personal views and feelings to the candidate. They made assumptions about what he’d do that he never said. This happens all the time. Why do you think people were weeping openly when Hillary Clinton lost?
It’s not because these women were going to the White House with Hillary. It’s because they had made assumptions about what a Clinton victory would mean for them personally. Many of the most ardent Trump supporters do the same. For them, it has a lot to do with illegal immigration.
Enter DACA. Throughout the campaign and into his first year, supporters assumed Trump would use his executive authority to “fix” DACA, creating a new order that would send DACA recipients packing. They were under the impression that Trump was eager to round up hard-working people and ship them back to the third world. That’s the extreme view his rivals hold of him, leading them to call him racist and Hitler-like.
But if you listened to his comments, he never promised that. Even in his announcement speech, when discussing illegal immigration from Mexico, what did he say?
They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people. (via Time)
Hardly a politically correct statement, for sure. But what did he focus on? Drugs and crime. The actions perpetrated, not by families who struggle to come here and make a life, but on the drug cartels that have exploited our weak border policy.
I’m no advocate for illegal immigration. I certainly don’t agree with the Democrats’ toxic plans. But even I know that you can’t round up millions of decent people and kick them out of the country. President Trump always intended to confront the biggest, most unacceptable fallout from President Obama’s complicit stance on illegals. Because of the revolving door of our Southern border, drug cartels can come in and out without trouble.
And guess where their HQ’s are? Mexican border towns. Because it’s that easy to enter the U.S. Until we get a secure border, these vicious forces will continue to infiltrate our country. A wall might be the only option. It will require fewer border agents, which means lower costs and less loss of life.
What about DACA recipients and the fabled “Dreamers”? Much has been said about this relatively large group of illegal immigrants. From all appearances, these aren’t violent criminals. They aren’t interested in smuggling drugs or people into the United States (most of them, at least). Should the President deport them all back?
Hard-lining conservatives say yes. Why? Again, is it because they are racist? Not likely. They believe that illegals are exploited by Democrats. The left promises them benefits and other help from the government, in the hopes that this growing population will vote for them. Democrats scoff at this, but don’t really try to refute it. Which leads conservative groups to push to cut off this political edge for their rivals.
Trump’s path to citizenship has been touted as amnesty by hard-liners. But is it?
The plan offers a citizenship path to more than twice as many dreamers as were enrolled in a deferred action program… Officials said Thursday that the citizenship path would be open to anyone who had been eligible for DACA, even the hundreds of thousands of dreamers who never applied. The Migration Policy Institute has estimated that up to 1.3 million dreamers were eligible for DACA last year, with another 600,000 who could become eligible if they met certain requirements. (Washington Post)
In his State of the Union speech, President Trump outlines his ideas for this path to citizenship:
Our framework generously offers a path to citizenship for 1.8 million illegal immigrants who were brought here by their parents at a young age -- that covers almost three times more people than the previous administration. Under our plan, those who meet education and work requirements, and show good moral character, will be able to become full citizens of the United States. (via ABC)
Hardly a racist, hateful plan, if you ask me. Trump is laying out a reasonable process that requires some effort on the part of illegal immigrants. Freeloaders, including criminals, will get the boot.
But I’m sure liberals hate this plan. Salon complained it doesn’t help enough people. Liberals continue to call him racist, despite his repeated attempts at compromise. Apparently securing the border in any way is racist.
Perhaps the biggest critics of his plan, though, are hard-lining right wingers. They don’t want illegal immigrants here at all. They blame them for lost jobs, wages, and lives. To them, any plan that accepts the fact that some people are here to stay is admitting defeat. But, as in most cases, extremists don’t get their way.
If the Trump and Congress are able to fulfill his “four pillars” of immigration, we’ll have to see what happens next. Fair weather conservatives might actually lose faith in the man—despite the many successes he’s won for them.
But maybe some people will change their tune. If they see that Trump is working to find a reasonable path for DACA recipients to stay, can they really accuse him of bigotry? Some, sure. But maybe enough will come to their senses.