Trump’s immigration plans are all about pain, fear, cowardice, bigotry, and punishment

Fox Business / YouTube Grassley on immigration Trump should be...
Fox Business / YouTube

When Trump first slithered down an escalator pronounce his stunt to get paid more than Gwen Stefani by NBC, announce his run for the White House, he came out of the gate with a ridiculously bigoted false notion that “Mexicans are rapists.” 

“If you go to Fusion, you will see a story: About 80% of the women coming in — you know who owns Fusion? Univision!” Trump told [Don} Lemon. “Go to Fusion and pick up the stories on rape. And it’s unbelievable when you look at what’s going on. So all I’m doing is telling the truth, Trump told Lemon.

It really didn’t take me more than three minutes to look up what he claimed was his source for this argument to find that he had totally misconstrued the Fusion report about migrant women from Central America being tricked and trapped into prostitution as trade and barter to help pay for their passage through Mexico. The report said literally nothing about “Mexico sending rapists to America” because that’s seriously not a thing.

I still don’t know what excuse has been made for the rest of the so-called professional media—because I was certainly an unpaid amateur at the time—to simply fact check his statement up front by using his own source and point out that it he was spouting bullshit from Day One. It should be easy to point out that the reason they started traveling in caravans was to protect them from these gangs, cartels, and corrupt officials that were forcing them to pay for the price of passage in pounds of flesh. Unfortunately, that never happened.

Consequently, the opinion that certain immigrants are largely criminals and basically scum has always been Trump’s starting point for his “thinking” and policies. Hence we have this crazy Rube Goldberg/Wile E. Coyote plot to deal with the migration problem on our southern border.

Trump has apparently concocted this plan that a) since Immigrants are “criminals” that he can use their inherent threat against public safety as a b) political targeted cudgel in violation of the Hatch Act which prohibits the use of government for partisan purposes against his political opponents. You know, those squishy liberal Democrats in so-called Sanctuary Cities—in order to get them to c) agree to carve out an override and exception to the 5th Amendment Due Process Clause, the 14th Amendment Equal Protection Clause, the 1951 UN Convention on the Refugee which as a treaty that was ratified in 1969 through the Supremacy Clause is currently considered part of the “supreme law of the land” so that d) hundreds of thousand of undocumented immigrants can be summarily deported without an immigration or asylum hearing before a judge.

Specifically, the Hatch Act states:

The 1939 Act forbids the intimidation or bribery of voters and restricts political campaign activities by federal employees. It prohibits using any public funds designated for relief or public works for electoral purposes. It forbids officials paid with federal funds from using promises of jobs, promotion, financial assistance, contracts, or any other benefit to coerce campaign contributions or political support. It provides that persons below the policy-making level in the executive branch of the federal government must not only refrain from political practices that would be illegal for any citizen, but must abstain from “any active part” in political campaigns, using this language to specify those who are exempt:

Seems like a genius idea doesn’t it? What could possibly go wrong with that plan?

Well, just about everything, because twice over the last six months before Trump started talking about this the WH had already considered dumping asylum-seekers in sanctuary cities as political payback but shelved the idea as unlawful.

On at least two occasions in the last six months, the White House considered releasing immigrant detainees onto the streets of sanctuary cities as a way to target President Trump’s political foes, The Washington Post reported.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) district in San Francisco was one of the primary targets, Department of Homeland Security officials told the Post. The Post obtained emails that show the idea was first floated in November when a migrant caravan was approaching the U.S.-Mexico border. White House officials reportedly thought this would help relieve the shortage of space for housing immigrants caught crossing the border illegally, and give them an opportunity to jab Democrats.

But Immigration and Customs Enforcement shot down the idea and suggested there would be legal, budgetary and “PR risks” to carrying it out. When the administration tried to raise the idea again in February, ICE’s attorneys called it “inappropriate,” in the Post’s words.

Because it is unlawful and inappropriate.

It may be argued that Trump knows this and he’s only proposing that even though he probably doesn’t believe it will work because it’s really just a way to create a distraction over the release of the Mueller report.

President Donald Trump’s threats to send migrants to sanctuary cities were part of a ploy to distract attention from the impending release of the Mueller report, sources close to the president told the New York Times in a report published Sunday.

Trump last week defended plans to send migrants to Democratic Party-run sanctuary cities — those which have passed legislation or have policies in place designed to limit cooperation with federal immigration laws and the deportation of undocumented migrants.

That defense, the New York Times wrote Sunday, was partly a ploy to whip up controversy and distract from the Mueller probe.

Exactly how well that’s working is debatable.

The Washington Post reported this week that Trump’s refugee dumping plan is intended to be political punishment on his enemies because he thinks these refugees are dangerous criminals, so I guess there goes the ambiguity about it.

CNN reported that during his visit to Calexico Trump told the head of CBP that he should violate asylum law and arrest all refugees who cross between points of entry and that he’d give him a pardon if he was arrested and charged for it. Then Trump again floated the idea of dumping migrants in sanctuary cities and whined about the reporting about it. The WH said nothing, but then Trump denied he dangled a pardon for the head of CBP.

But the idea that he’s just kidding with this thing is considerably harder to believe after Trump’s bloodbath through the Homeland Security starting with the firing of Kirstjen Nielsen who refused to completely ignore asylum laws on Trump’s command. And Politico reports that Nielsen’s sudden ouster may have been part of a powerplay by Stephen Miller to install more hardliners inside DHS.

According to a Sunday Politico report, while it is unclear how much direct influence Miller had over Nielsen’s ouster, he has been contacting lower-level officials and threatening them to staunch the flow of immigrants across the border, or else.

In one example, Miller reportedly had a hand in the abrupt pulling of ICE chief candidate Ronald Vitiello’s nomination Friday after Vitiello expressed ambivalence about closing down the U.S.-Mexico border.

“There’s definitely a larger shakeup abreast being led by Stephen Miller and the staunch right wing within the administration,” a person close to Nielsen told Politico. “They failed with the courts and with Congress and now they’re eating their own.”

Politico also reported that Jared Kushner has been clashing with Stephen Miller over his attempts to increase the rates of legal immigration in order to aid businesses.

Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, has been working for months on a proposal that could increase the number of low- and high-skilled workers admitted to the country annually, four people involved in the discussions told POLITICO.

The low-profile effort to allow more legal immigrants into the U.S. stands in stark contrast to Trump’s increasingly dramatic efforts to curb illegal immigration, an issue he speaks about daily and describes as a national crisis. But Trump himself has publicly said he also supports higher levels of legal immigration, a priority generally backed by a business community short on skilled workers. […]

Stephen Miller, a senior White House adviser and influential hard-liner on immigration, has not attended most of Kushner’s meetings, according to a half-dozen attendees. But Miller — whose restrictionist views have slowed past compromise efforts — must sign off on any plan before Trump does, according to some familiar with the situation.

But hawkish immigration activists, who have been frustrated with Trump’s relentless focus on a border wall, are worried that the president will be influenced by Kushner’s more moderate views on immigration and will fail to fulfill his campaign pledge to crack down on immigration. Trump already has spoken about expanding legal immigration at least four times this year.

Trump has already increased the H-2B visa cap from 66,000 to 81,000 per year, so he is already moving in that direction—but bringing in more and more immigrant workers seems to be exactly the opposite to his claims that he’s going to “help American workers” rather than help American corporations with a ready supply of cheap labor, including his own Mar-a-Lago which has increased their request for H-2B Visa workers to nearly double, including Mexicans.

The Homeland Security and Labor departments plan to grant an additional 30,000 H-2B visas this summer on top of the 33,000 they had already planned to give out, the agencies confirmed. […]

But his administration is sending a different message to some short-term workers. With the additional visas, the Trump administration is on track to grant 96,000 H-2B visas this fiscal year, the most since 2007, when George W. Bush was president.

“It’s ironic that Trump is demagoguing and railing against a so-called dangerous and scary flood of migrants and caravans from Mexico and Central America, and even threatening to shut down the border, while at the same time using his legal authority to grow a guest worker program,” said Daniel Costa, director of immigration law and policy research at the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute. […]

There is such a flood of interest in these visas that typically, they are all gone within minutes of the application process opening up. Trump’s own hotels have used H-2B workers, and the president’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida applied for 78 of these visas last year.

So when it comes to bringing in immigrant workers—who have to be selected individually by corporate sponsors—Trump is not only fine with it, he wants to increase it, but when it comes to people trying to escape murderous gangs and corrupt government officials in the northern triangle—not so much.

Distraction or not, Trump really did clean up the top brass at Homeland Security then said “I never said I was ‘cleaning house’ at DHS” (You didn’t have to, we have eyes.) And yet, after Nielsen was booted Acting ICE Director Ronald Vitiello’s nomination was recently pulled and he is now scheduled to leave as Trump calls for a “tougher new direction.”

He nearly tried to nominate Kris Kobach for Homeland Security until Kansas Republican Sen. Pat Roberts was caught whispering that Kobach can’t be confirmed as secretary of Homeland Security on a hot open mic. “We can’t confirm him” said Roberts, then he stated “I never said that to you.” (Too late.) It has been reported that former Federation for American Immigration (FAIR) executive Director Julie Kirchner is slated to be named head of U.S. immigration even though FAIR is listed as a anti-immigrant hate group by the SPLC.

The NY Times reported that Stephen Miller was furious with Trump’s Homeland advisers for being so slow to implement his illegal policies. Then NBC reported this week that Miller is pushing for CBP agents—who are under Homeland Security—to do asylum credible fear interviews [even though they haven’t been trained for it] rather than USCIS (who have been trained) because “Border Protection agents will be tougher on asylum seekers and will pass fewer of them on the initial screening.”

Attorney General Barr decided this week that asylum seekers who show credible fear won’t be eligible for a bond and will have to remain in detention. (I don’t at all get the logic of that, if they’ve shown legitimately credible fear—why would you revoke their bond?)

Then right on queue Trump modified his threat claiming that Democrats must change the immigration laws or he will send “gang members, drug dealers, human traffickers and criminals of all shapes” to sanctuary cities. (That’s not the people who are seeking asylum—if you’re really a crook, why bother going through a long valid legal process like that?)

And after all this Trump tried again to blame Obama for the child separation policy, which he only did when the parents had criminal records and/or no apparent connection to the children with them, then he says it’s only that policy keeps people from coming into America and that otherwise “it’s like going to Disneyland.” Which was just plain nonsense. Do you know how expensive Disneyland is these days?

Maybe Trump was just trying to get his base excited for 2020 with this ploy, maybe he just wants them fired up and angry about all those damn dirty immigrants!

Then he had Shep Smith and Chris Wallace rip his refugee dumping plan to shreds since it’s an obvious Hatch Act violation: 

There’s cleaning up that needs to be done here. The fact is no Democrat, not one in Congress or otherwise, has called for open borders,” Smith began moments after Trump went off script at a press conference to assert that he was still considering the move.

“The law is clear, you can’t do this,” he added and turned to Wallace. “Is this a talking point for the day? Is this an effort to change the news cycle or the narrative?”

“I have a suspicion, which I’ll give you in a second,” Wallace said, and then described how in two separate incidents in 2018 and early 2019, the White House suggested that ICE put detained migrants on buses and “dump them on the streets” of sanctuary cities and states.

“Twice ICE said ‘you can’t do it,’” Wallace went on. “‘One, we don’t have funding to do it; two, we don’t have the buses to do it; three, there’s liability. What if there’s an accident, what if somebody gets sick or hurt?’ All kinds of reasons why they couldn’t do it.”

“Now, suddenly, quite a surprise to everybody, the president this afternoon comes out with a tweet and says ‘no, this isn’t over. I’m seriously considering it,’” he continued. “Here’s my guess, and it’s only a guess.”

“This will never happen,” Wallace said. “This is the president saying ‘we’re not going to cower and try to pretend we didn’t really do this. I’m going to double down and suggest it. My base will like it.’”

“Will it happen? I would be shocked.”

So he doesn’t have some major parts of Fox News on his side. However he does have Katrina Piersen, who of course says that “busing migrants to sanctuary cities is the compassionate thing to do.”

“The government had one function it would be to protect the homeland but the reason it is so hysterical, and we are laughing here because these are the same people in the media who are declaring chaos because the president is making the necessary changes to one of his agencies that will implement his policy,” she said in the Fox panel discussion.

Pierson then admitted, “there is no chaos on the border.”

“We had the president consistently want to fix the policies,” she continued, saying Trump tried to talk to the Democrats, but they wouldn’t play ball. The Democrats and Republicans in Congress developed a deal they’d been working on for years. When the GOP controlled the House and Senate, the plan was set, and the votes were there, but Trump refused to sign it.

“Now we have tens of thousands of more people along the way, so the president says ‘OK, fine, we will send these asylum-seekers to the communities that say we want asylum-seekers and it is a compassionate thing to do to resettle these immigrants into communities that want to protect them and keep them safe,’” she closed.

Yeah, protecting the nation is a primary governmental function—after protecting the values of the Constitution including the Bill or Rights—if you are talking about an actual danger, that is.

CNN’s Ana Cabrera made a important point about crime when she caught GOP strategist John Thomas in a flat-out lie about “sanctuary cities having more crime” as he claimed Trump’s proposed refugee dump will frighten them.

As has been noted ad nauseum, there is no link between crime and immigration.

Immigrant populations in the United States have been growing fast for decades now. Crime in the same period, however, has moved in the opposite direction, with the national rate of violent crime today well below what it was in 1980.

In a large-scale collaboration by four universities, led by Robert Adelman, a sociologist at the State University of New York at Buffalo, researchers compared immigration rates with crime rates for 200 metropolitan areas over the last several decades. The selected areas included huge urban hubs like New York and smaller manufacturing centers less than a hundredth that size, like Muncie, Ind., and were dispersed geographically across the country.

According to data from the study, a large majority of the areas have many more immigrants today than they did in 1980 and fewer violent crimes. The Marshall Project extended the study’s data up to 2016, showing that crime fell more often than it rose even as immigrant populations grew almost across the board.

So that claim is total bunk.

Kellyanne Conway has also defended Trump’s call to “get rid of Immigration judges.”

“The President is saying, let’s stop having one or two judges in this country make immigration law for an entire country, that’s Congress’ job,” Conway said in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

But it’s not clear at all that’s what Trump meant. And, while federal judges have stopped much of the Trump administration’s attempts to keep migrants and asylum seekers out of the country, immigration judges are members of the executive branch, and have been subject to precedent-setting decisions from the Trump administration itself.

Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, for example, instructed immigration judges last year that domestic violence and gang violence ought not be considered grounds for asylum. (A federal judge halted Sessions’ instruction.) Sessions also instituted a quota system for immigration judges to pressure them to resolve cases more quickly, among other changes meant to fast-track deportation orders.

in addition to blocking the order to ignore the valid threats of gang and domestic violence within asylum claims federal judges have also blocked Trump rules against denying asylum claims from people who had entered between a point of entry, another has ruled that the Trump administration is legally responsible for reuniting any separated and detained children and a forth judge has blocked Trump’s plan to have asylum seekers sent back to Mexico pending a final ruling in their case.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A U.S. judge on Monday blocked the Trump administration’s policy of returning asylum seekers to Mexico as they wait for an immigration court to hear their cases but the order won’t immediately go into effect.

Judge Richard Seeborg in San Francisco granted a request by civil liberties groups to halt the practice while their lawsuit moves forward. He put the decision on hold until Friday to give U.S. officials the chance to appeal.

The launch of the policy in January in San Diego at the nation’s busiest border crossing marked an unprecedented change to the U.S. asylum system, government officials and asylum experts said. Families seeking asylum typically had been released in the U.S. with notices to appear in court.

This has all happened because Trump’s policies violate the Constitution and the law. That’s something judges have been determining since Marbury v. Madison, but now all of a sudden Conway just wants our judicial system to simply go away?

Meanwhile, Trump is attempting to block people from overstaying their visas, which is where the predominant number of undocumented immigrants come from, planes and boats. But only from certain countries.

An administration official who spoke to the WSJ said the plan is to put countries “on notice,” by threatening that it’ll be harder for their citizens to obtain visas, or the visas will be shorter, if they don’t reduce their rates of overstay. The countries impacted include Nigeria, Chad, Eritrea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The White House also reportedly wants to block immigrants who might use public funds from either coming to the U.S. or being eligible for citizenship.

However, the countries with the highest total number of overstays are Brazil (33,759), Venezuela (30,424), United Kingdom (25,694), Colombia (22,148), Nigeria (19,676), China (18,762), France (16,456), India (14,206), Spain (13,780), Dominican Republic (11,359), Germany (11,040), Haiti (10,558), Italy (10,337), Jamaica (9,554), and Argentina (6,835). So this begs the question: why are only African nations being targeted by Trump? Perhaps because they’re “shithole countries?

And lastly, since an federal appellate court has temporarily lifted Judge Seeborg’s injunction on this matter Trump is yet again attempting to start trying to shunt asylum seekers directly back into Mexico while they await the adjudication of their claims. Again, this is a policy that is being implemented in a way that doesn’t address the problem at it’s source, but is attacking the problem starting with a bias, bigoted opinion and working forward from there.

On the other side of things, Democrats have not been idle. House Judiciary Democrats have asked CBP and Acting DHS head Kevin McAleenan for info on reports that Trump dangled a pardon for him if he agreed to break asylum laws. California lawmakers have returned fire over Trump’s refugee dumping plan against sanctuary cities. Chairman Nadler called for Stephen Miller to appear before Congress and explain his immigration craziness. House Democrats have requested WH documents related to the sanctuary city refugee plan.

And on top of that, House Democrats put forward proposals for families at the border with increased resources for counseling and children, and would also create centers in Central America where asylum applications could be processed and provide aid to reduce poverty and violence in the region so fewer people would flee. The bill, however, is not likely to get through the GOP-controlled Senate.

In summary, we have Trump and Stephen Miller repeatedly attempting to push the Homeland Security secretary and Border Patrol commissioner to violate the U.S Federal law, the Constitution and current U.S. international treaties. They are also affecting the current decisions of at least four different sitting federal judges including offering them a pardon for doing so and firing some of them in retaliation when they resisted perpetrating a crime. And instead of trying to slow the flow of refugees out of the Northern Triangle by using positive efforts to slow the rate of crime in the region—even when current efforts have done so at by much as 50 percent—he’s cancelled such efforts. He’s shutdown the entire government in order to force Congress to implement his retrograde immigration policies. He’s threatened to close the border with Mexico, which could cost as much as $1 billion a day to the economy and declared a Federal Emergency for the border that has so far netted less than $1 billion in funds from the Pentagon for border barriers.

Now he’s again violating current law in an attempt to try and threaten local and state governments with “gang members, drug dealers, human traffickers and criminals of all shapes”—who frankly don’t really exist among asylum seekers—in order get a result that is somehow different from all of his previous failures on immigration.

As a result of all this the mayors of Philadelphia and Oakland say that asylum seekers are welcome.

At least one sanctuary city mayor, Jim Kenney of Philadelphia, responded that he would happily welcome any number of immigrants sent to his city.

“The city would be prepared to welcome these immigrants just as we have embraced our immigrant communities for decades,” Kenney said in a statement. “This White House plan demonstrates the utter contempt that the Trump administration has for basic human dignity.”

Mayor Libby Schaaf of Oakland expressed pride in her city’s status as one that bars all city employees from cooperating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and condemned the president for focusing his immigration agenda on keeping immigrants out of the United States.

“I am proud to be the mayor of a sanctuary city,” Schaaf told CNN. “We believe sanctuary cities are safer cities. We embrace the diversity in Oakland and we do not think it’s appropriate for us to use local resources to do the government’s failed immigration work.”

Whether Trump is attempting to distract from the Mueller report, or create a surge in his base for 2020, it seems fairly clear that what he’s really done is awaken the American conscience and managed to line forces at the international, federal, state and local level all against him. Rather than knuckle under to his demands, they have risen up in defiance and fought back. The more he impotently flails, the worse he makes the problem he is supposedly trying to solve.

If his hope was that his efforts would cause local governments to cower and collapse in fear, that has—so far—failed. Instead they have shown the courage and the compassion that he seems to totally lack toward vulnerable refugees who are simply seeking a safe place that will allow them to survive and hopefully thrive. America is supposed to be the “home of the brave” where we welcome migrants with open arms and a clear heart with the hope that they will gain and benefit from our benevolence and greater enrich the whole of the nation and the world.

That’s an America that Trump has never visited or even heard of.

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