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Thread: Yes, Pander to Trump on Immigration

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  1. #1
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    May 2006

    Yes, Pander to Trump on Immigration

    August 19, 2015

    Donald Trump’s rise in the polls is inextricably linked to the issue of immigration.

    He probably wouldn’t have achieved liftoff without it, and now that his campaign has entered a new phase of semi-attempted seriousness, it is fitting that an immigration plan is the first policy proposal he has committed to paper.

    There is no doubt The Donald is an accidental immigration hawk. After the 2012 election, he was scolding Mitt Romney for using the term “self-deportation” because it was too harsh. Trump’s journey is obvious: He made an inflammatory statement in his announcement speech — not quite realizing what he was getting into — and has followed the logic of the controversy to a full-throated immigration restrictionism.

    His immigration plan has occasioned the predictable horror that he might pull the Republican field to the right on immigration, or that the other candidates might pander to him. Both are outcomes to be wished for, rather than avoided.

    Amid the bar-stool bombast about deporting all illegal immigrants already here (a logistical, economic and humanitarian impossibility) and other characteristically Trumpian excesses is the core of a program that is more sensible than the “comprehensive” solution offered by the political establishment.

    What Trump offers is an entirely different framework for considering the issue. It is populist rather than elitist, and nationalist rather than cosmopolitan. It rejects the status quo rather than attempting to codify it. It puts enforcement first and dares to ask whether current high levels of legal immigration serve the country’s interest. In short, it takes a needed sledgehammer to the lazy establishment consensus on immigration.

    First, at the beginning of the Trump plan is a statement so uncontroversial that it should qualify as pablum: “Real immigration reform puts the needs of working people first — not wealthy globe-trotting donors.” Who could possibly disagree? Besides the the aforementioned wealthy globe-trotting donors, that is?

    Yet it’s rare to hear politicians say what should be a platitude. Scott Walker briefly ventured something similar a few months ago: “The next president and the next Congress need to make decisions about a legal immigration system that’s based on, first and foremost, on protecting American workers and American wages.”

    The Wisconsin governor was swiftly beaten about the head and shoulders. Steve Benen of MSNBC deemed his statement “far right rhetoric.” The headline on a Huffington Post item was, “Scott Walker Tacks Far Right on Immigration.” The Wall Street Journal wrote an editorial chiding him. Walker didn’t follow up the point and what could have been a major — and clarifying— controversy dissipated.

    When I asked Jeb Bush a while ago whether he agreed with Walker’s sentiment, he pointedly sidestepped: “I don’t think it’s a zero-sum game.”

    It’s almost as if invoking the interests of America’s workers in the context of immigration is a faux pas that leads to a blackballing by whatever is the Chamber of Commerce’s equivalent of Skull and Bones. Trump has stomped all over this misbegotten piety, and good for him.

    Second, at the heart of Trump’s written immigration plan policy are enforcement measures that should be the lowest common denominator for Republicans: E-Verify, more Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, an end to catch-and-release at the border, a crackdown on sanctuary cities.

    They aren’t accompanied with any assurances of various pathways for illegal immigrants, and this is as it should be. Enforcement of our laws should come first, so any eventual amnesty of current illegals doesn’t draw yet another population of illegal immigrants and create the same problem 10 years from now.

    In only very loose control of his mouth, Trump has pronounced on what he will do with illegals right now, and is both too harsh (in saying they all will be deported) and too softheaded (in saying he will bring many of them back on an expedited basis). He would be well-served to revert to what he has on paper.

    Finally, the written plan calls for “immigration moderation,” so as to “allow record immigration levels to subside to more moderate historical averages.”

    This is an aspect of the immigration debate that almost no one else will touch, besides Sen. Jeff Sessions, the Alabama Republican. But it is a crucial one. As a document from Republican senate staff earlier this year put it, “In 1970, less than 1 in 21 residents were foreign-born; today it is almost 1 in 7. The annual rate of immigration is almost double its level from the Reagan years and more than triple its level from the post-WWII boom years.” Why should we be on a glide path to ever-higher levels of legal immigration, with almost no dissent and very little discussion?

    Conventional wisdom takes it as a given that the Trump plan is a political train wreck. The thrust of it isn’t, or shouldn’t be.

    We are constantly told that an amnesty is popular, and surveys do indeed show public support for legalizing illegal immigrants. A Pew survey found 72 percent support for the proposition that “undocumented immigrants currently living in the U.S. should be allowed to stay in the country legally, if certain requirements are met.”

    Note how the wording is gentle (“undocumented immigrants”) and the stipulations vague (“certain requirements”). What such polls never let on is that such requirements in comprehensive legislation are almost always window dressing on essentially conditionless mass amnesties. Other surveys show support in the 70s for enforcing current laws and toughening penalties on employers who hire illegals.

    Byron York of the Washington Examiner points to a paper by Stanford professor David Broockman and Berkeley Ph.D candidate Douglas Ahler that notes the public reaction to a full gamut of seven possible immigration policies, ranging from open borders to a shutdown of the border coupled with deportation of illegal immigrants.

    As York points out, the largest plurality, about a quarter of people, favor the strictest option. If you add in those favoring the two next most restrictive options — basically allowing high-skilled immigration but building a wall or deporting current illegal immigrants — you get a majority of 55 percent.

    A Vox analysis looked at the public-opinion data and concluded, “There is very little support for any policy that the public perceives as increasing immigration.” Gallup found that Americans favor decreasing rather than increasing immigration by a 2-to-1 margin (41 percent vs. 22 percent). In a Reuters-IPSOS poll, 45 percent of people said the number of legal immigrants should be reduced; 17 percent thought it should be increased.

    Trump is giving voice to a popular impulse almost entirely absent from the elite policy discussion. I don’t care for him or his style. Other Republican candidates shouldn’t seek to mimic his witless bravado or insulting tone, nor should they follow him down the rabbit hole of his ill-considered fixations (like getting Mexico to pay for a border wall, or revoking birthright citizenship — which would be unnecessary if we simply enforced our immigration laws).

    But they should learn and borrow from his approach, which is a blunderbuss corrective to polite opinion.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    Aug 2005
    Five questions to the Media and their planted opinion spewers:

    1. Should illegal aliens be in the country? NO

    2. Should illegal aliens work in the United States? NO

    3. Should illegal aliens breed citizens of the United States? NO

    4. Should illegal aliens receive tax credits for filing tax returns? NO

    5. Should illegal alien households receive any publicly-funded benefit? NO

    Any candidate's plan to achieve this, whether Donald Trump's or someone else's, is a legal, proper, and correct plan that should be supported by all Americans, including those who report and/or write opinions in the Press and Media on the issue. Those who don't, are Anti-American. Period.
    Newmexican likes this.
    A Nation Without Borders Is Not A Nation - Ronald Reagan
    Save America, Deport Congress! - Judy

    Support our FIGHT AGAINST illegal immigration & Amnesty by joining our E-mail Alerts at

  3. #3
    Senior Member vistalad's Avatar
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    Jan 2009
    Quote Originally Posted by Jean View Post
    Trump is giving voice to a popular impulse almost entirely absent from the elite policy discussion. But they should learn and borrow from his approach, which is a blunderbuss corrective to polite opinion.
    People appreciate his courage in stating a pro-American immigration policy, and they also appreciate his refusal to back down when the race-baiters try to get him to talk about things that he isn't saying.
    Americans first in this magnificent country

    American jobs for American workers

    Fair trade, not free trade
    Judy likes this.

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