Trump’s immigration no-brainer

One thing that we can already say only a year into Donald Trump’s presidency is that despite his rhetoric he is far less of an immigration hardliner than Barack Obama was.

For an issue that is essentially prudential — no one seriously believes that it should be unlimited or that it should end tomorrow without exceptions — rather than ideological, immigration tends to be discussed in fairly emotional terms. This is understandable. Whether a person remains in this country with a job, in proximity to his family, or is deported to Central America is not something about which anyone can be expected to be dispassionate. What is not understandable is our unwillingness to accept the numbers at face value: Obama set records for deportation, returning more immigrants in 2015 than Trump did the following year or is likely to do in any of the three — or seven — years to come.

Why it should be the case that Barack Amnesty Oliar was tougher on immigration than the Breitbart-approved candidate who calmly insisted that Mexico was sending us their “rapists” is one of those puzzles that will baffle talk radio hosts and MSNBC anchors alike. Part of the explanation is that the number of border crossings was down in 2016. It is also the case that Trump’s bombastic talk about immigration has made anti-deportation activists more vigilant than they were wont to be when their ostensible ally was in the White House.

But the real answer is very simple. Unlike his predecessor, who was relentlessly committed to pursing his charted course as a moderate center-right technocrat and rarely perturbed by the messy human costs of this approach, the current president has no fixed positions on matters of public policy, only a vague emotive intelligence that is rarely brought to bear on the pros and cons of actual legislation. If during one of last year’s numberless attempts to replace the Affordable Care Act a bill that made Medicare a universal public benefit had passed and reached his desk, it would have been signed into law. If Jared or Ivanka whisper vaguely that reducing immigration is bad for business, he’s as good as sold.

Trump’s appeal has nothing to do with what he does or does not pass. All of his failings can and will be blamed on the fecklessness of the congressional GOP and the machinations of Special Counsel …read more

Source:: The Week – Politics


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