Mimesis Law
14 July 2020

Trump’s Immigration Plan: A View From The Trenches

November 14, 2016 (Fault Lines) — Unless he has a magical way of dealing with the logistics, the President-Elect’s 10 point-plan for immigration policy is either pie in the sky or more of the same. PolitiFact has reported on Trump’s plan (there’s something about the number 10 that always sounds official). Let’s break it down.

  1. Build an “impenetrable physical wall on the southern border” that he says Mexico will pay for. The U.S. already has a wall, and the reason most get through it is not because it is penetrable. Any old set of ladders will do. Unbeknownst to some, in 2006 Dubya embarked on a mission to construct hundreds of miles of fencing across the border. As for Mexico paying for it, the answer to that has always been a hard no.
  2. End “catch-and-release.” If anyone is caught illegally crossing the border, that person will be detained until deported. Language always matters, and it determines how people will be treated, so for now, forget the fact that immigration deals with human beings and not fish. Immigration jails are already bursting at the seams, in part because Obama did one hell of a job in locking up immigrants. Denying CBP/ICE officers the discretion on who to detain will further clog the immigration jails, and any suggestion to criminally prosecute all those that are caught will overburden the federal criminal system.
  3. Deport immigrants in the country illegally convicted of crimes. See number two. Even low-level offenders — despite very limited resources — have been banished in record numbers by the previous administration.
  4. End sanctuary cities (cities where local law enforcement officers aren’t required to alert federal authorities to people in the country illegally). That has already been attempted, and local authorities began reneging on their promise to hold people without papers when: (i) ICE took forever to pick up those without papers in local jails, and thus: (ii) holding them for so long drained the local coffers and so they said to hell with it, no mas.
  5. End Obama’s executive actions, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and triple the number of U.S.Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. Taking away DACA and DAPA will only prevent people from lingering in immigration purgatory: DACA & DAPA only temporarily allow applicants to steer clear of being placed in deportation proceedings. There is no pathway to legal residency, so those people stay in limbo. From limbo, they will go to immigration court, where the dockets already have a serious backlog. If Trump wants to remove “dangerous” criminals, eliminating DACA and DAPA will further hamstring the resources of the DHS Office of the Chief Counsel.
  6.   Suspend issuance of visas to people in places where “adequate screening cannot occur, until proven and effective vetting mechanisms can be put into place.” Such screening already exists, The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees screen and select those very few (about one percent) who qualify as “refugees,” and then the feds do their additional vetting before someone is let in the country. Even those who used to be exempt from visa requirements have had their privileges suspended due to recent developments in the Middle East.
  7. Make sure countries take back their own citizens when the United State orders them deported. Not going to happen, ever. Unless the U.S. plans to do some kind of Operation Dumbo Drop en masse, if “they” don’t want to take back our “illegals,” there’s not much left to do.  Case in point: Cuba. There are many, many Cuban citizens with serious criminal records who remain stateside with an order of supervision, or OSUP (a sort of informal probation), because Cuba will not take them back. This has been going on for decades, and it’s nothing new for those in the trenches.
  8. Fully implement at all land, air and sea ports a biometric entry-exit visa tracking system. That system, which sounds very blitzkrieg-y, is already in place. If Trump means that he will begin to place visa overstays in deportation proceedings, best of luck. See point number two, and tread carefully.
  9. “Turn off the jobs and benefits magnet” that attract immigrants who come to the United States illegally. This one doesn’t make sense. No one gets jobs or benefits if they were not admitted or paroled into the U.S., unless they are those who are willing to do crappy jobs for little pay with the constant threat of being reported to the authorities.
  10. Reform legal immigration and keep it “within historic norms,” to serve the best interests of America and its workers. America’s immigration system is already calibrated to serve the nation’s best interest, the world’s poor and huddled masses be damned. Save for those few who can afford counsel and win their asylum case, the rest are not allowed in unless they stand to benefit the country and they clear the bars to admission for criminal conduct (not conviction).

So for now, put aside the panic button when it comes to Trump’s immigration “plan.” And enjoy the irony: “progressive” Presidents Obama and Clinton did more to kick out the undocumented than their more conservative brethren could ever dream of.  As for what could seriously hamstring someone to defend themselves in immigration court, there is one thing that President Trump could do. But I ain’t telling. Come waterboard me, bro.

15 Comments on this post.

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  • Pedantic grammar police
    14 November 2016 at 10:29 am - Reply

    I disagree on #9. If they aren’t here for the jobs and benefits, why are they here? Is our climate so much nicer than Mexico’s?

    • Mario Machado
      14 November 2016 at 2:00 pm - Reply

      Many are here for many different reasons (and many end up leaving on their own for many other reasons), but that’s not part of my counter-point on #9. Those who are not in the system with at least an application pending before USCIS are not entitled to government benefits or jobs that are within the authorities’ prying eyes. Hence, “illegals” do not stand to benefit. Read it again.

      • Scott Jacobs
        14 November 2016 at 8:25 pm - Reply

        Well, they aren’t SUPPOSED to benefit.

        Though many still do.

  • GGM
    14 November 2016 at 1:44 pm - Reply

    He could however expand the number of judges/clerks in immigration courts and direct them all to follow all laws with no exceptions and no discretion. The US Senate never ratified changes to UNHCR definitions of “refugees”. Crime and poverty are NOT claims to TPS in the US. He could also require physical removal upon receiving a deportation order rather than relying on those people to leave on their own.

    • Mario Machado
      14 November 2016 at 2:19 pm - Reply

      You’re all over the place, and wrong. I bet it all looks so simple from 10 thousand feet. I’ll just go with your claim that Trump “could require physical removal upon receiving a deportation order rather than relying on those people to leave on their own.” That’s already in place.

      You think all those people in ICE custody that are ordered removed get a furlough so they can go home and have one last chimichanga with their loved ones, so long as they promise to report for removal? They do not. After getting that order, they are put on a plane within days. You’re probably thinking about voluntary departure, but that’s a different concept, in law, theory, and reality.

  • Pedantic grammar police
    14 November 2016 at 2:18 pm - Reply

    I read again. I don’t see the word “government.” Of course they can’t get government jobs. They can and do get jobs. You said “No one gets jobs or benefits,” and that is nonsense. I personally know some illegal immigrants. They are good hard-working people and they are here for work. What evidence supports your claim that they are here for another reason? And why do you think they are here if not for work and benefits?

    • Mario Machado
      14 November 2016 at 4:00 pm - Reply

      I said “No one gets jobs or benefits if they were not admitted or paroled into the U.S., unless they are those who are willing to do crappy jobs for little pay with the constant threat of being reported to the authorities.” “If,” “unless.”

      Crappy, low-paying jobs that are done by those without papers usually don’t come with benefits, and the benefits I speak of are government benefits like public assistance. Some who are admitted/paroled into the country are allowed to receive benefits like food stamps while their papers are pending. That is how USCIS waives the filing fee for those immigrants (Google “USCIS I-912”) who can show that they are the recipient of local public assistance, and thus poor. This happens a lot.

      How do I know this? I’ve represented many recent arrivals who’ve done just that, and I’ve been on the receiving end of a USCIS’s officer’s rant about how recent arrivals are getting government benefits and also skipping out on the filing fees.

      I said that they are here for many reasons why people come here, not excluding jobs. I didn’t claim and I can’t disprove that the people you speak of and know are here for reasons that do not involve work.

      • Pedantic Grammar Police
        14 November 2016 at 4:34 pm - Reply

        OK so you know that some of them are getting benefits legally. I’m sure you also know that many illegals collect welfare “illegally” with impunity in “Sanctuary” areas where welfare authorities do not check their citizenship status. The rest are here to work. People have to eat, and that requires money. They either work or they get benefits. The illegals come here because they believe that they can get better jobs and benefits here than in their home countries. If that was no longer true, they would not come.

        So Trump is exactly correct on this issue (except for the wall; the wall is not necessary). We need to shut off the jobs and the benefits, and then the vast majority of them will not want to be here.

        • Mario Machado
          14 November 2016 at 5:16 pm - Reply

          “We need to shut off the jobs and the benefits, and then the vast majority of them will not want to be here.”

          You make it sound so simple and easy, all while giving a hostage to fortune and making Mencken’s spirit weep. It looks like you want the last word, regardless of whatever.

          • Pedantic Grammar Police
            14 November 2016 at 5:43 pm -

            You’re welcome to have the last word, but please don’t enlist Mencken to your cause. I googled around and did not find any evidence that he believed that we should fix the world’s problems by leaving our borders open. I think he would have been gleeful over Trump, who personifies one of my favorite Mencken quotes.

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  • jdgalt
    19 November 2016 at 1:01 pm - Reply

    Point 9 is simply not true. The feds do not allow any state to deny welfare benefits to illegals, and struck down California’s Prop 187 for trying to do just that.

    And, of course, in the few states where the federal instant-check system is actually used and prevents them from finding jobs, they just find ways to set up as independent contractors.

    • Pedantic Grammar Police
      19 November 2016 at 3:18 pm - Reply

      “The feds do not allow…” but now the feds will answer to Trump. It is reasonable to think that federal policy will change.

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