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Donald Trump during his State of the Union address this week detailed an immigration proposal that is radical, racist, and un-American. As our Executive Director, Frank Sharry said, “the hardliners are high-fiving; the Statue of Liberty weeps.” Trump’s immigration plan is extreme because it:
Trump’s State of the Union immigration proposal is a clear statement from the White House: families do not matter.
Under Trump and Stephen Miller’s plan, American citizens would no longer have the right to sponsor their parents, adult children, and siblings for immigration.
There’s a reason why pro-family policies are part of our current immigration system. As the Immigrant Legal Resource Center put it:
There is no doubt that immigrants are employed, start new businesses, power critical economic sectors and keep America competitive in the global marketplace. But a true strength of our immigration system–family reunification–is being sidelined because the president and his allies would rather voters see a made-up chain and faceless diagram instead of the individuals who sacrifice everything to be with their families, and instead of the welcoming communities that learn from their presence, involvement and personal contributions.
By taking away immigrants’ rights to sponsor their family members, the Trump Administration is using Dreamers’ lives as bargaining chips and trying to force them to sign their parents’ deportation warrants. Of course Dreamers oppose that “Sophie’s choice” — because they love and will fight for their parents.
The DHS agencies responsible for deportation — Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement — are already larger than the FBI, DEA, ATF, Secret Service, US Marshals combined.
Now, Trump and Miller want to more than double the number of ICE agents in communities, increase the number of deportations, expand the number of ICE attorneys and Immigration judges to process these cases, reduce judges’ authority, and expand the reasons why immigrants can be targeted for deportation.
This is mass deportation. And because Dreamers love their families and communities, they’re not going to trade their own liberation for the oppression of the people they care about.
That’s not all: the Trump Administration has gotten greedy. In exchange for passing protections for Dreamers, they want to build the border wall, turn our nation’s backs on people fleeing violence, give themselves additional deportation resources, and more.
Trump and Miller’s plan is also, quite clearly, an attempt to disrupt the demographic changes underway in America, in favor of elites-only immigration. Let’s be real: this is a white nationalist (racist) agenda.
The White House plan literally eliminates diversity from our nation’s immigration laws, and implements a new, radical plan for “elite” immigration. Potential immigrants will be “scored” based on factors like whether they speak English and have advanced degrees.
As Eugene Robinson put it:
President Trump’s immigration proposal reveals what he has been after all along: an end to family-based immigration and the “lottery visa,” which would mean fewer Latino, African and Muslim newcomers. And perhaps more Norwegians, if any want to come.
Yes, Trump is trying to Make America White Again. You’re probably not surprised.
The broad amnesty that the White House offers to 1.8 million people brought here illegally when they were children is just a diversion. The $25 billion Trump wants for his “border wall system” — really more of an intermittent fence — is mostly a sop to his base. Much more important in the long run is the fundamental shift Trump wants to make in the nation’s system of legal immigration.
The administration seeks to drastically curtail the ability of immigrants to sponsor family members for entry into the country. This can only be seen as an attempt to halt the “browning” of America.
By experience, we know we can’t trust Trump, Kelly, or Miller to propose a fair immigration deal. It’s unfair to hold Dreamers hostage to their entire anti-immigrant agenda.
Trump said he would deport bad guys, but instead he’s spent the last year deporting parents of American children.
Trump says he wants to help Dreamers, but he is the who created the DACA crisis in the first place.
The Trump Administration says they want immigrants to “get in line” — but now they want eliminate the few immigration “lines” that actually exist.
The implication is clear: they want fewer immigrants in the country, period.
As the Cato Institute wrote:
[T]he new plan would cut the number of legal immigrants by up to 44 percent or half a million immigrants annually—the largest policy-driven legal immigration cut since the 1920s. Compared to current law, it would exclude nearly 22 million people from the opportunity to immigrate legally to the United States over the next five decades.
The only way forward is for Congress to advance a narrow proposal that deals with the consensus issues simply and cleanly. That means a fair Dreamer solution plus reasonable border security.
For more resources on the White House Immigration proposal, see these pieces from American Immigration Lawyers Association, National Immigrant Justice Center, Cato Institute, and Immigrant Legal Resource Center.