Friday , October 13, 2017 - 4:30 AM2 comments
Well, so much for that bipartisan agreement President Trump insisted he wanted on immigration.
Sunday the White House released a laundry list of more than 70 specific immigration-related demands — items that would have to accompany any effort to grant permanent legal status to some 800,000 "Dreamers" — young people brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents.
"I have a love for these people," Trump once said, "and now hopefully Congress will be able to help them and do it properly."
A dinner with Democratic leaders "Chuck and Nancy" seemed to clinch the deal.
Now Trump has decided to hold those Dreamers hostage to a list of ridiculous demands the Democrats — and any Republicans with a smattering of sense about basic economics — will be forced to reject. That raises the question of how serious he was in the first place.
The list of Trump demands includes, of course, money for a border wall with Mexico — nothing sensible like a high-tech approach to security, but a real wall — a non-starter for Democrats.
And, of course, the 10,000 new Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to enforce all of these new laws. (Aren't Republicans supposed to be in favor of smaller government?)
But the truly horrifying part is the demand that legal immigration be cut in half — which would constitute a devastating blow to the U.S. economy. Has no one the courage to explain to Trump that with virtual full employment, the real danger is a labor shortage.
Sure, there's a case to be made for a merit-based system that would prioritize occupations that could contribute the most to the U.S. economy. But who then will manicure Trump golf courses or serve dinner at Mar-a-Lago.
Of course, the plan hasn't a snowball's chance in hell of actually passing — which is a good thing. But that does raise the question of who will save the Dreamers? Surely there are enough sensible Democrats and Republicans left in the Congress who are capable of doing the right thing — even if the occupant of the White House hasn't a clue what that is.
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