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Andy Semotiuk: The Good, Bad And Plausible Points Of Trump's Immigration Plan

07 Sep 2016 10:53 AM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

The Good, Bad And Plausible Points Of Trump's Immigration Plan
Andy Semotiuk, Forbes

In a speech in Arizona last night, Donald Trump laid out his vision for a new U.S. immigration policy. Having met with Mexican President Peña Nieto earlier that day, Trump returned to the United States to give his address to an enthusiastic crowd. Included at the meeting were family members of Americans who were killed by illegal immigrants who all vowed allegiance to the Presidential candidate at the end of his remarks. This was Trump’s first attempt to set out a complete outline of the immigration policies he would pursue were he elected President of the United States. Let’s take a look at his ten-point plan and how well he did.

1. Build a wall and have Mexico pay for it.
Aside from the practicality of the wall and its cost, $ 8 billion according to one estimate, will the wall stop illegal immigration?  Apart from flying over it, tunneling under it and bypassing around the wall, America’s Maginot line will fail in the same way the first Maginot line did. Ask French military historians about that one. Also, consider the economic impairment to trade with Mexico that the wall would create which would significantly impact the lives of millions of people living on both sides of the border. Ask economists about this.
Grade: Fail. Not a fix that will work. Yes, the lights are flashing, the bells are ringing and the gate is up.  But there is no train.

2. Stop the policy of catch and release illegal immigrants coming into the country.
There is no catch and release policy. George Bush Jr. abolished that one. There is catch and detain or catch and return policy now. Could the country do better on these? Yes.
Grade: Pass. Something worthy of improvement.

3. Zero tolerance for criminal aliens.
This is pretty much the policy right now. Criminality is the priority in removal proceedings. Could we do better? Yes.
Grade: Pass. Something worthy of improvement.

4. Block funding for sanctuary cities
Runs right into Fourth Amendment protection from arbitrary arrest. Should law enforcement cooperate to make the law work for everyone? Yes. Are sanctuary cities about protecting illegal criminals? No. They are about police enforcement of the law based on due process. Due process is the key concern. Too controversial for a simple comment – but not exactly a brilliant innovation.
Grade: Fail for lack of sufficient analysis.

5. Cancel unconstitutional executive orders and enforce all immigration laws
Yes. But the Obama executive orders may very well be constitutional. Enforcement of immigration laws universally requires unlimited resources. We don’t have unlimited resources, so we need to priorize.
Grade: Fail for purposeful misrepresentation of facts.

6. Suspend visas to countries where adequate screening cannot occur.
Assumes current immigration practice is to allow unscreened immigrants into the United States. That’s not the current practice. As for ideological screening, that is a mission impossible – nobody who is terrorist or enemy of the United States and wants to come here is going to disclose that U.S. immigration officials. Ask the Simon Wiesenthal center about that.
Grade: Fail for lack of sufficient analysis.

7. Return criminals back to their countries of citizenship
Needs refinement but nobody disagrees with that idea. Stopping issuing visas to countries that refuse the return of their citizens is a possible way of getting over this problem.
Grade: Pass

8. Complete biometric entry-exit tracking
Grade: Pass

9. Turn off the jobs and benefits magnet
Expanding E-verify will help in this regard, particularly where employers seeking federal contracts or benefits are required to implement electronic registration of workers under E-verify.
Grade: Pass

10. Reform existing immigration rules
Doable, but requires Congressional agreement.
Grade: Pass

Overall report card:
Trump gets high marks for his exuberance and for bringing the problems of immigration to the attention of the electorate and making it a priority in the Presidential election. We should be thankful for that. However, he is often simply not honest in his remarks about facts. For example he failed to admit that he talked with Mexican President Peña Nieto about whether building the wall on the Mexican border was a subject of their discussions. Another example was his recent television interview with George Stephanopoulos where he denied that Russia had invaded Crimea in Ukraine. His failure to acknowledge such obvious facts is a painful shortcoming that undermines his credibility in discussions about immigration and indeed other issues. In the absence of such open honesty, Donald Trump is on a voyage to the bottom of the sea

Andy J. Semotiuk is a U.S. and Canadian immigration lawyer with offices in New York and Toronto. He is a published author and a former UN correspondent. Learn more at My Work Visa. 

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