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The immigration dodge: Trump’s immigration reform plan is a failure

2019-05-19

Closing the door. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

The immigration reform proposal President Trump dubbed “big, bold, beautiful,” and which he pitches as the basis for bipartisan compromise, is little more than a blatant attempt to give the White House political cover on the issue as 2020 approaches.

In a vacuum, some elements could be part of a comprehensive immigration effort: general border security funding, immigrant screening that emphasizes skills as well as knowledge of American traditions and, thankfully, unlike previous Trump efforts, no reductions in the overall number of immigrants.

Alas, like prior schemes, the package severely limits family sponsorship as part of overall immigration. Restrictionists cast aspersions at this, the path First Lady Melania Trump’s parents traveled to gain citizenship, as “chain migration."

So cruel is the approach, it would send 4 million people who have been waiting patiently for years under old rules back to square one.

Meanwhile, nothing in Trump’s proposal addresses multiple immigration-related crises Trumpian policies and rhetoric have unleashed across this nation over the last two years. Dreamers, whose legal status Trump needlessly upended before sabotaging legislative reforms, who Trump once pledged to deal with “with heart,” would remain in painful limbo. Millions of immigrants — documented and otherwise — would still have good reason to fear that a knock on the door could mean being swept into detention, then deportation.

Indeed, just hours after a speech pretending to build consensus, word leaked that the White House is considering employing the 19th-century “Insurrection Act” to use the military to round up illegal immigrants.

Reformer, reform thyself.