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Trump and the Immigrants

Sep 28th, 2016 | By | Category: Front Page, News

 

Homer had long believed that Trump would save America. He had, on various occasions, lauded Trump’s business acumen (mostly self-advertised), his dedication to the cause of education (via Trump University), and his steadfast resolve to get to the bottom of an issue that was preventing America from becoming great again (Obama’s birth certificate). So now, as Trump edges ever closer to the White House, Homer is confidently looking forward to the Trump presidency.

And what might a President Trump mean for America, in particular for its immigration stance?

A useful starting point is Trump’s website.

Building a wall to keep out migrants is still on the agenda. As is getting Mexico to pay for it. And this Trump would accomplish in large part by threatening to withhold labor remittances of some $24 billion that are sent to Mexico annually by Mexican immigrants.

Further punishments are in store for a recalcitrant Mexico: their goods will be subject to import tariffs, travel to the U.S. by their CEOs and diplomats will be restricted, visa fees will be raised. The likely effect of all this is that trade between the two countries will fall drastically, adversely affecting a wide swath of industries in the U.S. that currently export each year $580 billion worth goods and services to Mexico, our second largest export market.

And what about the roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants currently in the U.S.? Trump has equivocated on the subject. He has voiced support for a “deportation force” that would presumably round up them all up—men, women and children–and send them back over the border. The social and economic costs of such an action boggle the mind, and are mercifully omitted on the website.

But Trump is aware of such costs, for on certain occasions, he has hinted that he would be “fair” and “humane” in dealing with illegal immigrants. But such spasms of compassion are quickly gone, followed inevitably by the harsher tone that he had employed consistently to good effect during the primaries to drive crowds at his campaign stops into an anti-immigrant frenzy.

Trump is certainly very critical of illegal immigration, but even legal immigration has not escaped his gimlet eye. He would like to “end forever” the H-1B program, which grants temporary visas to non-immigrant workers. The program enables U.S. companies to hire foreigners in occupations that suffer from a dearth of qualified workers. Colleges and universities across the country rely on it to find professors and researchers with advanced degrees.

Almost every developed country in the world uses similar programs, and the U.S. stands to lose out on a global pool of talent and entrepreneurial energies by eliminating its worker visa program. Mr Trump is no doubt a happily married man, but he seems to have forgotten how the H-1B program has contributed to his marital bliss: Melania could not have come to America to work as a model were it not for the H-1B visa issued to her by the U.S. government.

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