Monday, February 13, 2017

Trump's Immigration Policy is Cruel, Callous, and Counterproductive

One issue on which the TSAP has changed considerably over the years for the better, especially more recently, has been immigration policy, which we have recently updated in our party platform.  And not coincidentally, that very issue is emerging as one of the most controversial issues concerning the new Trump regime, who is currently displaying a very angry, paranoid, hard-line, nativist, racist, xenophobic, and Islamophobic character.  Such toxic and regressive attitudes toward immigrants and immigration clearly do far more harm than good overall.  Because like it or not, America has always been a nation of immigrants, and we always will be, believe me.

National security is an important issue, no doubt about that.  But Trump's method of dealing with such concerns, most notably the draconian Muslim Ban that was recently struck down by the courts, is far too crude and extreme, and ultimately makes us less safe on balance.  Most Muslims are good people, only a tiny fraction are jihadists, and we have more to worry about from reich-wing extremists in this country than we do from jihadists nowadays. In fact, you are statistically more likely to be struck by lightning than killed by a terrorist of any kind.  And slamming the door on refugees (who are fleeing unimaginable horrors due in part to American foreign policy blunders, and were already being vigorously vetted under Obama) is downright cruel and un-American. Besides, such draconian and xenophobic policies only alienate more people in the Muslim world, and are thus a yuuuge propaganda victory for ISIL and their fellow-travelers.

"Building the wall" along our border with Mexico would also not be a particularly wise idea on balance.  Especially Trump's idea of demanding that Mexico pay for it or reimburse us for it (or slapping a tariff on goods from Mexico to pay for it), all $15-25 billion dollars of it.  That is practically the definition of chutzpah!  And it would be wasteful.  We already have a fairly large fence in place along most of the land border, and the rest of the border's terrain is really not very suitable for building a wall there.  And it would still have to be patrolled, wall or no wall, so investing more in patrols and technology would make more sense if border security were really the goal.  In practice, it is starting to sound less like the Great Wall of China (which ultimately failed to keep out Genghis Khan and his Mongol hordes, by the way), and more and more like the infamous Berlin Wall (which effectively kept half of Europe prisoner for decades).  Now, if only Gorbachev would tell him, "Mr. Trump, tear down this wall!"  (The irony.)

What about all those mass deportations that Trump has promised, and have apparently already begun to some extent?  Well, those who support such an idea apparently haven't exactly thought that one through.  First of all, it would be a logistical nightmare in practice to round them all up.  Secondly, deporting all or most of the currently undocumented immigrants in this country, or causing them to "self-deport", would basically blow a YUUUUGE hole in the economy, particularly in agriculture where they are a YUUUUGE part of the workforce, and the resulting labor shortage would cause food prices to go up.  BIGLY.  When Alabama tried such a crackdown a few years back, that was exactly what happened, so imagine that happening nationwide.  (As for the old chestnut, "dey turk ur jerbs", most of those "jerbs" are ones that very few native-born Americans are willing to do at current wages and conditions.) And last but not least, doing so would be downright cruel and callous indeed, and would break up countless families with children.

And about all that crime that immigrants supposedly bring to this country with them?  Well, the best studies find that more immigration actually tends to reduce crime overall.  And sanctuary cities also tend to have lower crime rates (and better economies as well) compared with similarly-matched non-sanctuary cities. Another myth bites the dust.

What we really need to do is pass comprehensive immigration reform like Obama and Congressional Democrats had tried a few years ago, but Republicans had severely obstructed.  The system is clearly broken as it is, and so many problems can literally be solved with the stroke of a pen.  We need to make it easier to enter legally, and also easier to become a naturalized U.S. citizen, as the current process is ridiculous.  We need amnesty and a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who are currently here, we need to pass the DREAM Act yesterday, and we need to speed up the ridiculously long backlog of people waiting years to get in legally.  After that, of course, we should still reduce the quotas so going forward we let in no more immigrants than the previous year's emigration rate (around 200,000 per year) in order to fight overpopulation.  Note that this last bit is still part of our party platform, and has been since 2009, though we should note that the very high immigration rates (both legal and illegal) that prevailed under Bush have actually plummeted under Obama for a variety of reasons.  And finally, we need to focus on the "push" factors in the sending countries, not just the "pull" factors. 

Anything less would be uncivilized.  Believe me.


  1. I have been reading from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that some Somalis, Ghanaians and Afghans have crossed the border going into Canada. The migrants say that they fear xenophobia but the migrants were living in Minneapolis. This means that their stories are false. I agree with all the policy ideas put here but I think that some migrants are taking advantage of the situation to leave a place that was already good for them.

  2. What you say may be true, but Minneapolis is still part of the USA and is thus still under Trump's umbrella, even if they are a sanctuary city. Perhaps that was the general kind of Trump-inspired xenophobia they feared going forward, especially since Trump claimed he would crack down on sanctuary cities in the near future. Just my $0.02.

  3. I think that the migrants were acting dishonest by crossing into Canada. Some of the migrants had deportation orders and they avoided the deportation order by illegally crossing the border. I think that the migrant situation along the border is more to do with dishonest intentions than with the Trump Presidency. Those migrants are hiding behind the threat of xenophobia when really those migrants are using the situation for their own selfish gains. Therefore, those migrants have committed immigration fraud by claiming asylum in Canada.