Posted by: Floyd J Fernandez, J.D. | January 11, 2018

January 11, 2018–The Season’s Surprise March

President Trump Meets With Bipartisan Group Of Senators On Immigration

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 09: U.S. President Donald Trump (R) presides over a meeting about immigration with Republican and Democrat members of Congress, including Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ) (L) and Senate Minority Whip Richard Durbin (D-IL) in the Cabinet Room at the White House January 9, 2018 in Washington, DC. In addition to seeking bipartisan solutions to immigration reform, Trump advocated for the reintroduction of earmarks as a way to break the legislative stalemate in Congress. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 775100905

On this day, I am witness to what appears to be something historic.  The President of the United States, who has been vilified the world over as a racist, a misogynist, a white supremacist, an anti-Muslim and nativist, is advocating for comprehensive immigration reform (CIR).  That cannot be underestimated in its potential effect on American life for a considerable time to come.  Considerations of how his enemies characterized him as incompetent for referring to a “clean DACA” bill as including a border security portion enabling the Wall to be built, or that he is inept for allowing the Republican Congressional leadership to “redefine” what he meant in saying that he wanted CIR, are all specious, both in what he meant and in what his cohorts in the GOP were saying.  The fact is that President Donald Trump knew exactly what he was doing, and the adage “crazy like a fox,” seems to suit him well.

The President seems to be embracing two apparently contradictory ideas, the principles which underlie his opinion on immigration, and for that matter, the prevailing philosophy of conservatives on race, ethnicity, and national origin.  On one hand, a strong belief in the absolute right of a sovereign nation, any sovereign nation, to have a unique identifying heritage and culture, and to expect that nation, in this case America, to insist on its people, including new arrivals to educate themselves on that unique heritage, and embrace it.  It is the belief in assimilation, and it goes to the heart of the increased strictness in reviewing almost all applications for legal visas in the immigration system, and especially the travel ban of the six mostly-Muslim nations that has been issued four times in various forms, and attacked each time as racist, even though his detractors admit that the policies would be instantly approved if they were created and implemented by any other President.  

Second, the desire to crackdown on everything from “chain migration” to “sanctuary cities” is tempered by the desire to engage in “fairness”, as Trump would define as lenience toward those who would need time to change their status after the end of Temporary Protected Status status for residents from Central America, or as is most dramatically in the public’s eye, the very gradual phase-out of the program called “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals”, or “DACA.”  From the time of Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt to Reagan and G.W. Bush, and now Trump, the romance of America as a land of immigrants is believed in devotedly.  As a result, Trump is proposing a solution that is likely to remove the issue of immigration from the public discussion, which will make one of the major constituencies of his opposition useless to them.

First, he makes an exchange of the Wall for DACA.  But not just the DACA involving 800,000 young illegal immigrants that applied for coverage beginning in 2012.  But the class of people who came to the U.S. as children that would encompass some 2.5 to 4 Million undocumented aliens, effectively gouging a whole in the body of people unlawfully in the country.  That is an open door to ensure that the numbers of people subject to deportation shrinks by a third, and enables Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) to have a stronger hand in the effort to remove those who will never have the ability to obtain legal status.

Second, he moves on to establishing a network of controls that eliminate the ability of individuals who overstay visas to do so.  A tracking system for their travel, work or student “non-immigrant” visas that would latch onto their I-94 numbers, and electronically track their whereabouts.  A fully-imposed e-Verify program requiring its use by all U.S. businesses, at least above a certain number of employees, probably 50 or even 25.  As Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said in an interview with Fox News on January 10th, the e-Verify system will now be user friendly, to the point of being instantly activated with an employer or HR department officer’s iPhone, and with a 99.7% degree of accuracy.

Third, the legal immigration system is changed into a points-based system, where skills, education, and effective match of abilities with jobs available in the labor market will be prioritized.  One of the factors that is overlooked in the proposals in the new program will be that family relationships would not be eliminated, but would in fact have equal value to that of work qualifications.  While adult children would not be sponsorable by their parents, minor children would be, and adult children, with their by-then developed skill sets, would have their own ability to qualify for admission into the USA.

Those who have criticized the points-based format as a solution for the immigration mess, or that it would harm the immigration legal community, are blissfully ignorant of two facts.   The nations that are presently using such a system, Canada, Australia, and Great Britain, have rates of immigration that are nearly as high, if not higher than the U.S., factoring down their populations compared to ours.  And their practicing lawyers have no shortage for work, especially considering the need to successfully process the applications of immigrants and conform their backgrounds and qualifications to that of what would be an ever-shifting criteria set by the bureaucrats working in the Department of Homeland Security.

More will argue about the pressure on Congress and President Trump to achieve a workable solution before the DACA program is set to end on March 5th (I am giving no credibility on any chance that the San Francisco federal judge’s order stopping expiration of the DACA program is going to survive a week from emergency appeals to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court.  Congressional leadership is proceeding with negotiations as if that judge’s order will be set aside quickly).  I am betting that the biggest set of immigration reform measures will pass, first in February, and the rest before the end of spring.

The effect of this will be electrifying.  Hispanics and Asians and those whites who sympathize will have a serious case of cognitive dissonance; the issue of a person whose beliefs do not correspond with reality as he then perceives them.  Some will simply deny the President any credit for this reform.  But many, possibly a majority, certainly a majority of Asian-Americans, will deal with the fact that a supposedly racist President has signed into law the most generous immigration law in more than 30 years, and the most dramatic change in immigration since the 1965 Immigration Act that serves as the structure for the present system.  And they will reconsider their overwhelming and traditional support for the Democrat party.

That reconsideration would be devastating in more than a dozen U.S. Senate races, from Alaska to Florida, more than 50, maybe 80 U.S. House races, a dozen or more governorships, and hundreds of state legislative races across the country.   This reform, along with the recently-passed tax reform law, will be enough to inflict heavy damage on Democrat hopes in the elections this fall.  And if success occurs in President Trump’s desire to pass a massive infrastructure rebuilding law this year, it will lead to a result possibly more surprising that Trump’s own victory in 2016.

—Consigiliere Pacifica— 

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