Change: Ending “birthright citizenship” and more.
Donald Trump’s immigration plan is certainly guaranteed to get him even more attention than before.
It’s a wish list for the most anti-illegal-immigrant wing of the electorate, although it also features some workable and laudable proposals that are not unique to Trump.
Reading the text of Trump’s document reminds me somewhat of Barack Obama in campaign mode. Not the content, of course—that is very different from Obama’s—but the process: I will do this, I will do that, while ignoring whether what he suggests is workable, how much it would cost, and how Trump would probably have to don the mantle of dictator to accomplish some of it:
The problem with Trump’s wall is that it is infeasible; the geography of the border simply does not allow for one unbroken wall. Nor would it be effective. Even if you could erect this barrier around, say, Florida, walls can be surmounted, tunneled under, and circumvented in other ways. Policing the border requires police; human capital that comes at taxpayer expense. Mexico will not be paying their salaries, but Trump has a plan for that, too: confiscate all remittances from illegal immigrants working in America and hike the fees on all Mexican tourism and work visas. Erecting the structures necessary to identify much less confiscate illegal wages would prove daunting. Even if it was legal and could survive court challenges, a dubious prospect, this is a policy that would require a dramatic expansion of government’s ability to intrude on the lives of American citizens – a principle to which conservatives were once constitutionally opposed…
The unknown tens of millions of illegal immigrants, some of whom have been here for decades and are part of the fabric of their communities, will be rounded up and sent to their countries of origin. Somehow. In order to do this, Trump would triple the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) forces. ICE presently has an approximately 20,000-strong force, offices in 48 nations, and a $6 billion annual budget. Now triple that, and give them a mandate to arrest and deport all non-citizens…They are to be rounded up, put on a bus, and sent over the border. But only until the “terrific” ones can be identified, amnetized, and reintroduced into the country legally.
The author of that article I just quoted, Noah Rothman at Commentary, thinks Trump’s proposals will hurt Republicans in the election.
I don’t agree; I think the jury is out on that. Of course, many Trump supporters would also consider any harm to the GOP as a positive feature rather than a bug.
If I understand Rothman correctly, he also seems to think that Trump is suggesting that birthright citizenship be rescinded retroactively, and that children of illegal immigrants who have become citizens because they were born here should be deported, too.
But I see nothing in Trump’s proposal that states that is what he is saying, although I suppose he might be. He merely writes that he wants to “end birthright citizenship” for children born here of illegal immigrants, which I take as probably meaning he wants this to happen in the future as a disincentive to the arrival of more illegal immigrants.
That’s actually a suggestion that’s been made many times and in several bills introduced by Senator David Vitter of Lousiana (an idea that I described and supported about a year ago in this post). However, I wonder whether Trump realizes the legislative and legal hurdles involved, or whether he thinks he can just do it by executive order or imperial decree.
[NOTE: Trump is hardly the only candidate making proposals for dealing with illegal immigrants. If you’re interested in comparing Trump’s suggestions to those of the other candidates, this is the best summary I’ve been able to find so far, although I don’t think it’s entirely up to date. And if you want to see two short and interesting videos of Carly Fiorina speaking on the subject, see this.]
[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]DONATE
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