In a preview piece yesterday in anticipation of Trump’s State of the Union address, Nicole Narea of Vox captures the scope and cruelty that defines the Trump administration’s relentless effort to reshape immigration by executive fiat.
Her piece, entitled Donald Trump didn’t need the wall, breaks down the series of radical moves Trump and his administration have made to remake our immigration system to align with the President’s and Stephen Miller’s nativist views.
Below are key excerpts from Nicole Narea’s article for Vox:
He built, layer by layer, impediments in Central America, at the border, in detention centers, and in the immigration courts that have made obtaining asylum nearly impossible.
He swept aside former President Barack Obama’s immigration enforcement priorities in favor of vastly expanding immigration detention and prosecuting every immigrant who crosses the border without authorization. The result is a punitive system that treats immigrants as criminals and places them in prolonged detention even if they don’t pose any danger to the public.
And he waged a quiet and effective campaign to reduce legal immigration — including expanding his travel ban to block immigration from Nigeria, the largest country in Africa. Under Trump, the legal immigration system increasingly rewards skills and wealth over family ties to the US, while shutting out a growing number of people from low-income countries.
…But while he might not have succeeded at building an actual wall to keep immigrants out, his policies have achieved the same end. Reducing overall immigration levels has long been on the wish list of once-fringe restrictionist groups like the Center for Immigration Studies, whose co-founder advocated for maintaining a European-American majority population. Trump is making it a reality.
…Trump is shutting the door on asylum seekers at the border
…His so-called public charge rule essentially establishes a wealth test for immigrants seeking to enter the US, extend their visa, or convert their temporary immigration status into a green card. The rule gives immigration officials much more leeway to turn away those who are “likely to be a public charge” based on an evaluation of 20 factors, ranging from the use of certain public benefits programs — including food stamps, Section 8 housing vouchers, and Medicaid — to English language proficiency.
…The justices have also allowed Trump to move forward with his immigration policy plans while lawsuits challenging them make their way through lower courts.
They gave the green light to Trump’s rule preventing migrants from applying for asylum if they passed through another country other than their own before arriving in the US. They also allowed him to divert $3.6 billion in military funds to construct the border wall and implement the public charge rule.