By Joe Guzzardi
January 20, 2017
Since day one of President Donald Trump’s campaign that began 18 months ago, America’s immigration enforcement advocates, tens of millions strong, cheered him on. But now that Trump is in the White House, those same supporters are nervous about what the newly sworn in president may – or may not – do.
In the days leading up to his inauguration, Trump sent mixed signals about his intentions. On the subject that the media won’t let go of, the fates of the approximately 750,000 deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACAs), Trump remained vague. Through his executive action, President Obama unilaterally granted DACAs both temporary employment authorization documents and protection from deportation. But Trump promised to end DACA immediately.
Just days ago, however, Trump said that he’s working on a plan that will make the DACAs, or DREAMers as he called them, “very happy.” Trump confirmed that his transition team is developing a strategy which he’ll announce within a couple of months that will be firm, but will also have “a lot of heart.” The only possible interpretation of Trump’s statement is that the DACAs will stay. And unless Trump wants to begin his administration with an outcry from his base that helped elect him, he’d better have negotiated something tangible in exchange for his DACA amnesty.
Trump should tell Congress that he’s willing to allow the DACAs to stay if it passes mandatory E-Verify, which the House Judiciary Committee previously approved twice, and if it also cuts certain legal immigration programs, namely the Diversity Visa (DV) and chain migration. These changes must take effect before the DACAs are given legal status. Trump supporters would correctly interpret anything less as a cave to the Left’s immigration lobby.
Trump can easily explain his DACA tradeoffs as a net gain for America workers whose lot he’s vowed to improve. First, E-Verify guarantees that increasingly scarce jobs will go only to citizens and legal immigrants. According to Pew Research, about eight million illegal immigrants are employed in non-farm jobs. E-Verify is an online program, free to employers, and easy to implement. A Pulse Research Poll found that 78 percent of likely voters support E-Verify.
Second, the DV lottery was established as part of the 1990 Immigration Act to bring about 50,000 foreign nationals to the U.S. from countries that had been sending few immigrants. The DV lottery grants permanent residency visas randomly regardless of family ties, skills or education, and exposes the U.S. to national security threats. President Obama’s aggressive refugee resettlement agenda, estimated at 110,000 for FY 2017, eliminates the need for the DV.
Third, chain migration, the biggest driver of higher immigration totals, must be revamped. Chain migration allows the original immigrant to bring his nuclear family, a spouse and minor children. After that, the chain begins – brothers and sisters who in turn can bring in their spouses and minor children. Through chain migration, immigrants and not the federal government choses who, regardless of his worthiness, comes to the U.S.
Core supporters will have their eyes on what steps Trump takes on immigration. The president has little room for error. Whatever deal Trump makes on DACAs must represent a clear win for restrictionists. If it doesn’t, Trump’s first 100 days will be a grave disappointment to the Americans who put their trust in him.
A Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow, Joe can be contacted at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.