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the elusive center
Trump’s Immigration Compromise

The Trump administration is taking fire from the Right and the Left for its immigration actions last night. Hardcore immigration hawks like Ann Coulter are apoplectic that the administration extended president Obama’s executive action granting provisional legal status to people who came to the U.S. illegally as children; left-wing activist sites like Fusion and ThinkProgress, meanwhile, are decrying the administration’s formal erasure of another Obama-era order that would have halted deportation for millions more illegal immigrants.

CNN reports on the details of the two actions, which were announced by the Department of Homeland Security:

The Trump administration late Thursday night officially rescinded an Obama administration immigration policy that would have protected millions of undocumented immigrants — but left intact a separate initiative for young immigrants.

The program, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, known as DAPA, had never actually taken effect after being signed in 2014. Courts had blocked it pending further litigation, which has been ongoing.

Given President Donald Trump’s opposition to the program, the Department of Homeland Security formally rescinded the policy rather than continue to defend it in court Thursday.

But the policy guidance made clear that DHS would continue to honor DAPA’s sister program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.

Of the two Obama orders in question, DAPA was always a more radical program. As CNN notes, DACA applies to just three-quarters of a million people while DAPA reaches six times as many–effectively granting amnesty to over a third of the U.S. illegal immigrant population, and possibly more. And while deferred action for “Dreamers” is broadly popular, President Obama’s order suspending immigration laws for millions of people who knowingly violated immigration laws as adults doesn’t have nearly as strong of a moral or political basis.

The announcements last night, then, seem like a reasonable compromise from an administration trying to govern from the center, even if they feel like more of a “win” for the pro-immigration side, because DACA’s future was very much in question but DAPA had already been halted by courts and it seemed unlikely to be revived.

That said, sweeping executive actions, whether by Obama or Trump, are no way to solve America’s immigration problems. If America is going to grant amnesty to Dreamers, that policy should be ratified by Congress, preferably as a part of an immigration package that cuts unskilled immigration levels and clarifies enforcement priorities. Sadly, despite some promising innovations by Republican senators, the Trump administration has not shown the interest or competence in negotiating lasting fixes for the U.S. immigration system. Until that happens, policy is likely to continue to swing wildly each time the ruling party loses the White House.

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  • Andrew Allison

    Anything which makes both right and left angry must be a good thing.

    • RedWell

      Or the worst of both worlds. Depends on the policy, I suppose. In this case, separating children (DACA) from parents (DAPA) seems like it just perpetuates existing problems.

  • Unelected Leader

    Amnesty of any kind causes more illegal immigration. That’s predictable and reasonable, too. After the 1986 IRCA granted amnesty to millions both legal and illegal immigration ballooned.

    • Beauceron

      But the Left swore that if only we only granted amnesty, they would get behind enforcing the immigration laws. We all know how that worked out.
      The truth is that we really don’t need much in the way of new immigration laws. We need to enforce the immigration laws we have. But when one party sees mass immigration as a way to increase its voter rolls and pave the road to a permanent majority and the other sees it as a loophole give cheap labor to their big business donors, the citizens get screwed– and we have been screwed.

      • Andrew Allison

        I’m not sure what use illegal immigrants are to the big business donors. They don’t speak English and are uneducated, which makes them fit only for menial tasks.

        • Unelected Leader

          Oh there are some pretty egregious examples. During 1998-1999, for example, INS tried out a “kinder and gentler” means of enforcing the law, which fared no better. It was called Operation Vanguard, and it was wildly successful. Indeed, the operation became a victim of its own success, and of the collusion between exploitative, corrupt ranchers and meat packing plant owners with their corrupt politicians (republicans in this case).

          Operation Vanguard sought to identify illegal workers at all meatpacking plants in Nebraska through audits of personal records rather than surprise raids. The INS then asked to interview those employees who appeared to be unauthorized…. The illegals ran off. Total success.
          The operation was meant to be repeated every few months until the plants were weaned from their illegal addiction to illegal labor.

          Local law enforcement officials were very pleased with the results as well, but the corrupt employers and their bought politicians criticized the very idea of enforcing immigration law.
          Corrupt Governor Mike Johanns organized a task force to oppose the operation; the meat packers and the ranchers hired former governor Ben Nelson to lobby on their behalf; and, in Washington, Senator Chuck Hagel pressured the DOJ to stop the operations.
          The corruption succeeded, the operations were ended, and the senior INS official who had thought up the operation in the first place was forced into early retirement.

          • Andrew Allison

            Wow. Thanks for this further evidence of the corruption of our reprehensatives. I was thinking of individual large businesses rather than whole industries making use of un- and semi-skilled labor — thanks for broadening my thinking.

        • Beauceron

          I can only speak for where I live, but I have noticed that a lot of the construction jobs I see around the city are almost entirely staffed by central American/Mexican workers now. Not sure if those are union jobs still, but they were. I am sure that makes the cost of construction cheaper.

          • Andrew Allison

            Interesting. The obvious question is how many are illegals (the subject of my comment).

          • Beauceron

            This fellow running for Congress said it’s pretty rampant in NYC.


            This Pew study shows my (admittedly circumstantial) observations are probably correct.


          • Andrew Allison

            “What I have found while traveling around construction jobs sites in New York City with members of trade unions is that 75 percent of all construction workers are now undocumented, and there is no desire to enforce the laws currently on the books, or make sure that union, skilled, American trade workers get the jobs on the new buildings and skyscrapers popping up across NYC.” is revelatory. Thank you.
            However (and I’m really trying to understand what’s going on, and truly don’t have an agenda), I’m left with several questions:
            First, since the unions selected the sites (which, it seems reasonable to assume were largely non-union, how valid are the conclusions?
            Second, how many of the undocumented workers at those sites were skilled?
            Simply put, it was my suggestion that recent immigrants are unskilled, and only qualified for menial tasks. FWIW, the going rate for unskilled immigrant landscaping services where I live is $25/hr

    • solstice

      So, if you (through no choice of your own) were brought to the US illegally by your parents as a wee lad, and you grew up with the US the only country you ever knew, and you worked hard and obeyed the law, and you accepted the principles of the Constitution, and you treated others with kindness and respect, would it be humane for the government to just round you up like a stray dog and ship you back to your country of origin? I mean, I support strong borders, deportations, and strict restrictions on who can enter the country, but when you say that amnesty of ANY kind is unacceptable, I find that to be too extreme.

      • Unelected Leader

        Then change the law. The point is that the law exists, and it’s not being enforced (due to corruption). It’s not being enforced for financial corruption reasons in the real, serious case i outlined. Has nothing to do with anyone’s feels.

      • Beauceron

        Those are an awful lot of “ifs.”

        In any case it’s a moot point, as much of this is simply rhetorical slight of hand.

        My thinking is that the kids should follow their parents– if they were brought to the US illegally by their illegal parents, their parents should be deported and their family should stay together, so the minor should go with their family.

        Now if the illegal person in question has been here so long they are no longer a child, well it’s a moot point, as they are now illegal adults.

  • D4x

    Why do reports have to propagate the “Irrational Exuberance and Madness” of what was once the Democratic Party? How would anyone know that “…the Trump administration has not shown the interest or competence in negotiating lasting fixes for the U.S. immigration system. …” ?

    The OBSTRUCTION of the ‘resistance’ by the neoDems in their quixotic quest for anything to impeach and deny any co-operation combined with the media obsession with Russia! is a huge smokescreen to hide the very competent TeamTrump, only recently giving up on any deal-making with Congressional neoDems.

    • Isaiah6020

      While I agree with your analysis, I think it is a bit incomplete. The neoDems’ (as you term them) resistance seems to have stiffened the spines of at least some GOP members. If you are going to be shot at no matter what you do, literally in some cases, you might as well try to get stuff done. That way at least you can come home to your constituents with something tangible.

      • D4x

        Ok, I admit to ignoring most details of what is happening with the domestic issues facing Congress, and POTUS. Following the cultureMedia war against the Trump family, and the complexity of southern Syria seemed like a good idea in order to avoid too much rehashing of B43 & O44’s legacies.

        My theory remains that the neoDems & neverTrumpers are going to find it far more difficult to resist the Trump WH, after a 16 year drought of WH socializing:

        “…Washington journalist [WaPo Bradlee’s widow] and hostess Sally Quinn once described the impact the more cerebral Obama administration had on Washington: “Socially, it’s like the city is on Ambien.” …Longtime Washington social observers note that George W. Bush and wife Laura were not exactly a barrel of fun. He went to bed at 9 o’clock. She read.” …”

  • FriendlyGoat

    It was considered important, apparently, by the Trump Campaign to promise ultimate deportation of kids (the Dreamers) brought into the USA from elsewhere as small children. With that position (and so many others of questionable tone), the Campaign managed to draw the votes of a full 81% of white evangelicals who enjoyed being allied with Ann Coulter-style snit.

    Actually doing those particular kinds of deportations is not a social cakewalk, however, so—–guess what—–we won’t do them. The purpose of electing this president for enrichment of the upper class has been served by the campaign of “bring out the hate”, and nothing else matters. We weren’t supposed to suffer the snookering of church people, of course, but—–as is apparent—–we did. Pastors everywhere can now decide whether to go have a fit with Ann Coulter or to say, “Well, Obama was right about DACA all along, but we couldn’t admit that to you in 2016. But now—–now—-well, it’s different, you know?”

    • Tom

      The possibility that people voted for Trump in spite of that has never once entered your head, apparently.

      • Isaiah6020

        Very few things enter that head. One is 81% figure of the supposed evangelicals who voted for Trump. Comrade FriendlyGoat is obsessed with them and their sin of voting for somebody he dislikes.

    • Boritz

      “You understand, right?”

      Ever since he was caught on open mic saying “I’ll have more flexibility after the election.” his supporters have totally understood.

      • FriendlyGoat

        Open mics are much more famous for “grab ’em by the p____”.

  • ——————————

    Send them all back.
    We have enough landscapers, maids, and dishwashers here legally….

    • Fat_Man

      If Trump were halfway smart he would focus the effort to deport illegals on places like Beverly Hills.

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