I wonder if Trump sat down this weekend, rubbed his hands in glee and then said “I played this exactly the way I needed to, to get exactly what I wanted”. I suppose holding the lives of 800,000 people hostage while you force through some terrible immigration policies is the idea of a great day in the eyes of a disgusting right-wing fascist. That person who was elected as president in what is supposedly the “leader of the free world”? (not my quote). In any case, immigration is back on the table again after being benched for a week or so, and this time Trump has revealed his hand. For most people it might not seem like a huge deal so I’m going to list out some of the changes that Trump is pushing for and illustrate them a little. I do feel like I am preaching to the choir when it comes to immigration though, especially as those who don’t understand all of the ins and outs don’t really care to know anyway.
1). The border wall: this one won’t go away will it? Does he really think spending millions, billions of dollars on a concrete wall is going to make any difference to immigration? Humans are resourceful enough to cross the border as it is right now (desert, wild animals, psychopaths etc), so I doubt a bit of extra concrete is going to stop anyone. What a waste of resources that could go towards so many other things like: proper mental health care for veterans, including PTSD screenings for all soldiers coming back from a warzone, funds towards helping solve the opioid crisis in this country, or even funds towards inciting multinationals and large businesses to open factories in the US in areas of high unemployment rather than in other countries such as China. Just a thought.
2). Restricting green card sponsorships/banning immigrants from bringing extended family members to the US: this one hits very close to home. You can read my story HERE and HERE. My mother came here on a work visa in 2000, and my brother and sister who were both under 21 were able to join her. All received their green cards within months of applying. I was over 21, and therefore not eligible to join my family that way. If my mother had also been restricted from even applying for me then I would either not be here right now OR I would still be here without papers. I was super independent at 21, but that didn’t mean I didn’t want to be able to visit, stay, and live near my family! When I came over too often I was threatened with deportation… Also if I decide to move to another country right now I will not only lose the green card I waited for over a decade to obtain, I will never be able to reside in this country again without going through the entire process again (unless I apply for citizenship of course). The idea is to stop so-called “chain migration” but honestly the waiting times for a green card to come through for a family member over the age of 21 is decades, not months. DECADES NOT MONTHS. Imagine if I applied for my mother to join me here today, she probably wouldn’t be able to come until at least 2027. That’s how it works. No one is bringing 20 family members over at a time.
3). The use of an e-verify program to ensure all employees are legally allowed to work in the US: I’ve talked about this before in a previous article, but in order to work in the US one must provide their employer with a Social Security Number. If you do not have an SSN you can usually buy a made up one (NOT stolen, that’s a very different kettle of fish), and use that. It’s very easy for the Social Security Administration to come up with a “no-match”, but no one does anything about it… Why? Because if they did not only would a ton of skilled workers disappear from the market, but also a LOT of money would stop pouring into the federal coffers (see this article for a great breakdown). So this e-verify program technically already exists, and nothing is done, so what would this change? I don’t think Trump really understands what the millions of undocumented immigrants bring to the US in terms of labor and money.
(As a side note to this I would like to add that the eternally repeated “immigrants are stealing our jobs and our hard-earned welfare money” idiotic statement just doesn’t make sense. If you are risking your life crossing the border to find work then you aren’t going to be running to the places with the highest unemployment rate are you? No: common sense would push you to go somewhere where there are many jobs, and statistics seem to prove this. Anyway, putting together a program like this honestly seems like a waste of money, and a great way to lose a ton of money too. Then again, not much in this administration really makes sense.)
4). Hiring more ICE officials, federal immigration judges and officials: basically Trump’s way of saying that they are going to ramp up round-ups and deportations by pushing them through faster. So much for the “getting rid of the bad hombres”, right?
5). A stronger policy to stop unaccompanied minors from entering the country illegally: Obama already created a pretty awful solution for this with the Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto a few years back, pushing Mexico to be more vigilant about their southern borders and stopping the minors from even making it into Mexico. So what are Trump’s plans now? Mass deportation? There has to be another solution, these kids are basically refugees, running from horrific situations back in their home countries.
6). Penalizing sanctuary cities: this is just so stupid, really. Like the bully standing above you, waving his little hands in your face, laughing while threatening to take your candy away if you don’t do what he says. Dictator much?
You know what the main problem is here? NONE of these points actually comes close to creating a sustainable immigration policy for the future. All they do is beef up policies to track people down and kick them out, and restrict anyone else coming in. This country has so much space, so many resources, and so much to learn from other countries. So why is a nation that has built itself on the image that it is a country of immigrants, a “land of the free”, and a place where everyone is welcome so scared of “the foreigner”? (Maybe add “non-WASP” to “foreigner” there). The fear of terrorism argument doesn’t stand up really because Americans seem to be perfectly fine grooming their own homegrown gun massacres, and the welfare-stealing/job-thief image is just a bunch of BS. Sometimes I read these awful depictions of what an “illegal” (gosh I hate that word) supposedly is, and all I can think about is that awful Nazi propaganda describing Jews in WW2. People really only believe what they want to believe – I hope you can all see beyond what this government is feeding you and the terrible prejudices that you have grown up hearing. My hope is wearing a little thin nowadays though.