Paul Waldman MSNBC Column Captures GOP Immigration Dynamics, While America’s Voice Highlights Policy Recommendations for Biden Administration in Light of GOP Obstruction
Washington, DC – An insightful Paul Waldman MSNBC column, “Trump’s recent confession about the border wall underscores an inconvenient truth,” captures an essential insight into Republicans, their relentless anti-immigrant focus, and their underlying political motivations:
“[W]hen it comes to immigration, the whole Republican Party has nothing to offer on what they claim is their single most important priority. In fact, it is not unreasonable to conclude that Republicans are actually quite happy with the immigration system just the way it is” (we excerpt more of Waldman’s column below).
The insights are important context for the current moment, as House Republicans try to unify their leaderless conference around a collection of extreme immigration priorities, as Republican candidates try to outdo each other on extreme and dangerous proposals and rhetoric and as the Biden administration and Democrats confront the political and policy challenges posed by the strains of a broken immigration system and 21st century migration (see some accompanying recommendations for the Biden administration below).
The following is a statement from Douglas Rivlin, Communication Director for America’s Voice:
“Republicans are proposing radical and unworkable policy in exchange for Ukraine aid and avoiding a shutdown; blocking a needed broader legislative modernization to address the challenges of 21st century migration; and are opposing or trying to overturn programs that are working – from DACA to TPS to humanitarian parole programs that help alleviate border pressures and create orderliness. It’s largely because they want a perpetual crisis and chaos for political purposes instead of solutions at the direct expense of the American people.
Meanwhile, amidst the GOP abdication on real solutions, the Biden administration and Democrats are trying to navigate the political and policy crosscurrents of a complex set of challenges. They have limited options to address the problems caused by an immigration system three-decades out of date and with little prospect of helpful congressional action.
But instead of adopting Republican-lite positions, the Biden team needs to lean into a whole of government approach that recognizes that a humanitarian crisis needs a humanitarian response. Walls do not work either as policies or political strategies, as the president acknowledged today. And deterrence-only strategies create more chaos at the border, greater suffering for refugees seeking safety and do not move the needle towards greater orderliness, control, and sustainability. One need only look at the track record of failure, cruelty, and chaos under the prior president to see that replicating those policies will not achieve the results the American people want.”
Recommended Policies for the Biden Administration
There is a concrete set of policies the Biden administration can pursue – and in many cases are already pursuing – that can make a meaningful difference, including:
- Getting immigrants to work, filling worker shortages and building a stronger economy is clearly the place to start and recent TPS redesignations and work permit reforms will help.
- Safe and orderly pathways and parole programs to take pressure off of the border, more refugee slots, TPS for additional countries and surging resources into asylum and work permit processing smooths the path from arrival to self-sufficiency.
- More public and private initiatives are needed to get people signed up for work permits and a fair adjudication of their asylum claims.
- Meanwhile, state and local leaders are also requesting greater funding from Washington, greater coordination between federal and local agencies, addressing housing and shelter shortages that go beyond immigration issues and funding for NGOs that are doing a lot of the work.
- Taking these steps will also increase orderliness and decrease chaos at the border and in states and cities receiving new arrivals. Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, for example, laid out a series of achievable, concrete steps Washington can take to help his state that should be taken seriously.
- The question is whether we step up and provide safety and a legal process to families and individuals fleeing untenable situations and take steps to incorporate new men and women willing to work hard for a better future into our communities in a way that makes us all stronger.
Find excerpts below from Paul Waldman’s MSNBC column, “Trump’s recent confession about the border wall underscores an inconvenient truth,” regarding Republicans and immigration:
“When he ran for president in 2016, few of Donald Trump’s promises thrilled his supporters more than his pledge not just to build a wall on the southern border, but to force Mexico to pick up the tab. ‘And who’s going to pay for it?’ he’d say at his rallies. The crowd would shout back joyfully, ‘Mexico!’ It wasn’t about the money; the point was to conjure a fantasy of America standing tall and dominating our neighbor; their humiliation would be our glory.
A fantasy is just what it was, as Trump now admits. At a speech in Iowa on Sunday, he blurted out the truth. ‘When you hear these lunatics back there,’ he said … there was no legal mechanism. How do you go to a country, you say, ‘By the way I’m building a wall, hand us a lot of money.’’
While Republicans have been talking about this problem for a long time, they haven’t done anything to solve it. This admission — and vindication of Trump’s opponents — will not produce a wave of reflection and reassessment among his supporters. But Trump’s confession comes at the same time that his rivals for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination are trying to one-up him with their most preposterous proposals. In short, when it comes to immigration, the whole Republican Party has nothing to offer on what they claim is their single most important priority.
In fact, it is not unreasonable to conclude that Republicans are actually quite happy with the immigration system just the way it is. They love giving speeches about it, making campaign ads about it, shouting about it in Congress, shaking their fists about it on television, and organizing photo-ops at the Rio Grande. They repeat the words ‘open borders’ like a mantra, threaten to impeach the secretary of homeland security, and tell everyone who’ll listen that America is being invaded by criminals and terrorists.
But while they’ve been talking about this problem for a long time, they haven’t done anything to solve it. Look at what’s happening now. In Washington, immigration serves as an excuse for Republicans’ destructive attempts to shut down the government … Meanwhile, they’ve spurned any meaningful progress toward a long-term solution that would reform the immigration system.
…Perhaps those Republicans know what they would never say out loud: Immigration is a complex policy problem, not a five-alarm crisis. Some might claim that America is being ‘overrun’ with undocumented immigrants. (In its worst form, these claims take the form of the ‘great replacement’ conspiracy theory touted by Tucker Carlson and others.) In fact, the undocumented population has been stable at around 11 million for the last 15 years, as the flow of people coming in has been largely matched by an equal flow of immigrants returning to their home countries.
The truth is that lots of people benefit from keeping the immigration system just as it is now … A few years back, Goldman Sachs put out a report on the biotech industry that asked, ‘Is curing patients a sustainable business model?’ Their worry was that cures would compromise the industry’s ability to keep milking patients for money over the long term. All the evidence of recent years suggests that the GOP’s position on immigration is the same. Fixing the problem would be an unsustainable political model. The current system, on the other hand, suits them just fine.”