Trump's Immigration Plan: A Response - By Greer Clem

This afternoon, Trump unveiled legislation that would crucify American immigration as it exists today. “This competitive application process will favor applicants who can speak English, financially support themselves and their families and demonstrate skills that will contribute to our economy,” he said, according to the New York Times. “This legislation,” he added, “will not only restore our competitive edge in the 21st century, but it will restore the sacred bonds of trust between America and its citizens. This legislation demonstrates our compassion for struggling American families who deserve an immigration system that puts their needs first and that puts America first.” Before I began a tirade about the inherent racial prejudice of this legislation, I wanted to know more, so I read through his entire "Immigration Reform That Will Make America Great Again" for context. Here's what I learned: 

Trump begins by outlining that Mexico should pay for the border wall. He, or whichever racist idiot drafted this, writes, "For many years, Mexico’s leaders have been taking advantage of the United States by using illegal immigration to export the crime and poverty in their own country (as well as in other Latin American countries). They have even published pamphlets on how to illegally immigrate to the United States." First of all, "published pamphlets" is underlined as though there is a link embedded in the term, however no such link appears. The pamphlet in question was published by the Mexican government in 2005 and is titled "Guide for the Mexican Immigrant." The Mexican government said it was designed to warn immigrants of the dangers they could face if they choose to enter the United States illegally and was meant as a precautionary measure that would lessen the number of casualties that result from illegal border crossings each year. Obviously, this was a serious point of contention, as many who argue for stricter immigration countered that the Mexican government should focus its resources on stricter border control to reduce loss of life rather than guidance on how to immigrate safely. This is a valid point of concern, but to use this pamphlet as cause to unload the cost of the border wall on Mexico is nothing short of ridiculous. Illegal immigration is a dent in the Mexican work force and economy. It causes tension with their biggest source of trade (us) and reflects on internal struggles that the government undoubtedly are trying to rectify. 

Trump's team then tries a scare tactic in which he paints immigrants from Mexico as violent criminals intent on raping and murdering innocent Americans. They write, "The impact in terms of crime has been tragic. In recent weeks, the headlines have been covered with cases of criminals who crossed our border illegally only to go on to commit horrific crimes against Americans. Most recently, an illegal immigrant from Mexico, with a long arrest record, is charged with breaking into a 64 year-old women’s home, crushing her skull and eye sockets with a hammer, raping her, and murdering her. The Police Chief in Santa Maria says the 'blood trail' leads straight to Washington." Now, because the imbeciles who uploaded this document incorrectly imbedded the links, they have made it unable for me to see what sources they are citing. I must therefore use my own common sense and conclude that this is nothing more than using one horrendous crime to paint an entire race of people as violent.

Trump's team assures us that the cost of building a border wall will surely be worth it because, "(It) pales mightily in comparison to what American taxpayers spend every single year on dealing with the fallout of illegal immigration on their communities, schools and unemployment offices." They fail to cite what this number may actually be, but who needs facts when you have speculation. 

They continue by arguing that we need to defund sanctuary cities, detain any immigrants caught at the border until they are sent home, and cooperate with local gang forces. Let's start with sanctuary cities: a generic search of the term defines it as such, "a sanctuary city is a city that limits its cooperation with the national  government effort to enforce immigration law. Leaders of sanctuary cities want to reduce the fear of deportation and possible family break-up among people who are in the country illegally so that such people will be more willing to report crimes, use health and social services, and enroll their children in school." Sanctuary cities first and foremost are not operating against the law. State sovereignty allows governors and local jurisdiction to define how they process illegal immigrants, which is something Trump wants to change. Sanctuary cities also recognize that most illegal immigrants are immediate family members of U.S. citizens. In 2014, "64 percent of more than one million immigrants admitted with legal residency were immediate relatives of American citizens or sponsored by family members. Just 15 percent entered on the basis of employment-based preferences." These people are not here to steal our jobs, they are here to be with their families. They are here in search of a safer life. 

Detaining immigrants caught at the border, rather than catch-and-release, is a policy that demonstrates Trump's lack of experience in government. This is a stupid solution to a far more complicated problem. People caught crossing the border are usually detained by immigration services; that does not eliminate the problem of why they are crossing. Anyone in fear for their life at the hands of their government has the right to seek asylum. American border patrol usually sends asylum seekers back to the Mexican government to be put on a waiting list, which they then refuse to do. So the problem itself still exists. 

Cooperating with local gang forces implies that gangs will lead law enforcement to illegal immigrants, ergo that illegal immigrants are the source of our gang problems. In fact, gang roots can be traced back to poverty, not immigration. A recent article claims "the 2005 Heritage Foundation report recommended 'anti-gang strategies' that targeted 'root social processes as well as sanction criminal behavior.' In addition to reducing illegal immigration, particularly through better controls of foreign workers, the conservative think tank recommended strengthening neighborhoods and providing prevention and family programs domestically — and internationally, sharing information among law enforcement and supporting more robust economies." If anything, we need to be working more with international law enforcement to better understand what conditions cause gangs to flourish. In April, the ever-racist Attorney General Jeff Sessions claimed that MS-13 now has more than 10,000 members in over 40 states. It may be true that MS-13 has larger numbers, but the FBI had estimated their numbers to be between 6-10,000 for at least eight years before Sessions proclaimed this. So they may be growing in numbers, but the Justice Department has no proof. In short, these gang-related claims are another scare tactic meant to blame gang violence on immigration rather than poverty. It may be true that MS-13 began in El Salvador and spread to the U.S., but the fact is that it's local poverty that allowed it to flourish, not immigration. 

The last piece of Trump's immigration plan that I want to contend here is his call to end birthright citizenship. This is perhaps the most disgusting jab he takes at immigrant families. Any child born in the United States deserves to be a citizen, regardless of the status of their parents. They deserve every opportunity afforded to them as an American and anyone who argues otherwise is simply a bad person. Obviously, immigration is an issue that America must deal with, but we have always been a nation of immigrants and Trump's recent advocation of a plan that so severely limits opportunities for people to become citizens thereby limits our potential as a nation and disgraces our heritage. He claims this will "restore the sacred bond of trust between America and its citizens." What he implies is that only white, english-speaking Americans are entitled to that trust. This is a xenophobic and racist stance and it will do nothing to "enhance America's competitive edge in the 21st century." We are a nation of immigrants and should be proud to be so, and I urge any American, no matter their race, immigration status, or origin to call their local representatives and express their disapproval of this legislation. 

Greer Clem