Not Feeling the Trump Immigration Plan

President Donald J. Trump

“Hey, what’s up with that title?” I hear you saying. “I thought you hated political correctness! Now here you are, criticizing the most politically incorrect President since Andrew Jackson for one of the most politically incorrect policy initiatives ever done!”

First off, relax. I have made my position on political correctness abundantly clear, right here on this blog. I will not attack creative works for alleged “racism” or “sexism” simply because it gave Polygon or Kotaku or some other progressive outfit the heebie-jeebies. I will not treat whites like some kind of demonic entity. And I definitely feel that countries have a right to police their borders and set immigration policy.

However, this set my teeth on edge:

Some 6 million to 8 million people in the country illegally could be considered priorities for deportation, according to calculations by the Los Angeles Times. They were based on interviews with experts who studied the order and two internal documents that signal immigration officials are taking an expansive view of Trump’s directive.

Far from targeting only “bad hombres,” as Trump has said repeatedly, his new order allows immigration agents to detain nearly anyone they come in contact with who has crossed the border illegally. People could be booked into custody for using food stamps or if their child receives free school lunches.

The deportation targets are a much larger group than those swept up in the travel bans that sowed chaos at airports and seized public attention over the past week. Fewer than 1 million people came to the U.S. over the past decade from the seven countries from which most visitors are temporarily blocked.

I get it, I really do; illegal immigration violates a country’s borders. We should send back those who cross the border illegally and make them enter the right way. If we simply let everyone possible flood into the country, it would be total chaos. As I said, I’m not some open-borders fanatic; I believe that policing borders is a generally good idea.

However, President Trump’s policy is a sledgehammer where a scalpel is required.

We’ve already seen the problems caused by the recently overturned travel ban — people with valid visas and green cards were turned away or held in limbo despite having been cleared by the US government’s extreme vetting procedures (which often take years.) Already, the President has shown that he cannot implement immigration policy without making a total mess of it.

And these were people who tried to immigrate legally.

Now imagine what will happen when it’s not just a few hundred thousand an ocean away, but 11 million people right here inside the country. Deporting people who have actually harmed Americans, I can understand. Sending back recent arrivals, I understand too. However, uprooting whole families who haven’t done anything wrong — and who have put down roots — is just impractical.

Case in point: the DACA applicants. Having been brought over as children, they didn’t even make the decision to migrate; their folks made it for them, for obvious reasons. “Sending them home” to a home they never knew is sure to create chaos for the receiving country; after all, what’s waiting there for them? With no home and no job, they’ll unduly burden those countries — countries far less wealthy or efficient than the US.

Which brings me to the second point — the breaking up of families. Does anyone honestly think that even right-wing types won’t feel sorry for those who are dragged out of their homes in the middle of the night by SWAT teams? All it takes is one child shot, one mother maimed, for the entire notion of border control to collapse among regular (i.e. not ardently partisan) non-progressives.

Imagine this times a million.

If it were up to me, here’s what I’d want from an immigration policy in light of current conditions:

1) Increased border security. Prevent illegal border crossings with great vigor, and check up on people who overstay visas as soon as possible (A wall probably won’t help, though.)

2) Focus on deporting criminals. Those who do harm to Americans should be deported — end of story.

3) Path to citizenship for those already here. I’ll probably get raked over the coals for this, but I think that this is the best solution given the current circumstances. I envision something basically like DACA, but for all the current illegal immigrants. Many, of course, fear perverse incentives such as “if you cross illegally and hide long enough, you’ll get citizenship!” but I think that strong border control, going after visa overstays ASAP, and swift deportation of criminals can blunt that enough for it not to be a major problem.

I know that none of those things will satisfy the “Gotta deport ’em all!” contingent, but things like this have to be done carefully, not willy-nilly as with the travel ban. It will take time, but most things worth doing do; rush jobs generally suck.

Let me leave you with this quote as well, which I took from this thoughtful article:

Regardless of what I think, Trump is my president. But that doesn’t mean I can’t say he’s wrong about the immigration issue.

Also, I’ve written a novelette called Sword & Flower, something I’m sure any reader would enjoy. Click the cover image below to get it from Amazon:

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3 Responses to Not Feeling the Trump Immigration Plan

  1. PCBushi says:

    I get where you’re coming from, and my own feelings are ambivalent. I do agree with you that we shouldn’t be devoting resources to tracking down and kicking out families that are already assimilated and aren’t committing further crimes. Let them pay taxes and let’s get on with our lives. That said, I do emphasize “further” here.

    When you say “However, uprooting whole families who haven’t done anything wrong — and who have put down roots — is just impractical” — I just want to point out that as you observed earlier, violating a country’s borders is illegal. Therefore these people *have* done something wrong. Illegal immigration is a crime. Addressing the issue of those born here to illegals is trickier, indeed. Although there are those who’d call me a cuck for this, I’d probably be able to swallow some sort of amnesty if we could stop the flow of illegal immigrants.

    And that’s kind of the sticking point. I’m in favor of legal immigration. I think it’s healthy for a country. But the difference between the days of Ellis Island inspections and today is that back then people had to come here and either make it or leave. We didn’t have all the safety nets and welfare programs that we do now. At the moment, although there are plenty of people who want to come here and work hard and make a living, there are also those who come in and sponge off of the US taxpayer. In order to get in, you should be able to assimilate, work hard, and make it on your own. Unfortunately our current web of welfare goodies isn’t going go be cleared away anytime soon. Hence the need for stricter controls on immigration.

    Those’re my two cents.

    • Rawle Nyanzi says:

      I see what you mean. I understand that the welfare issue is a big moral hazard, and that we shouldn’t have people who will just come in and sponge. My issue, however, is the “deport ’em all!!!!” thinking, which got us the mess of the travel ban.

      I know that today isn’t like the days of Ellis Island, which is why I object to a “come one, come all” Merkel-type approach where everyone just crowds in. However, dealing with the illegal immigrants we have is no easy task — especially if they’ve been here a while and have started families.

  2. Pat D. says:

    This is pretty much where I’m at too.

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