Trump’s America: Immigration

Decades of Rising Tensions Resulting in Ineffective Rhetoric-Driven Policies

It is inadmissible and ignorant to think that the world’s vast changes in the past 20 years hasn’t had an impact on immigration, or human migration as a whole. In fact, since 1970 America has seen an ever-increasing number of immigrants (Budiman, 2020), which has thusly pushed immigration to the center stage of every major political administration. Rightly so, as immigration is a matter of both the American job market, as well as (and more importantly) a human rights issue. Elsewhere on this blog, our authors have outlined three key pillars of the where the Trump administration had built its platform on. Simplifying the first pillar, this administration has built their platform on the rising tensions around America’s Southern border- and overpromised against a backdrop of xenophobic slander against Hispanix/Latinx immigrants. Simplifying the second pillar, this administration has built upon islamophobia caused in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, to overpromise and deliver on data-ignorant bans on specific countries’ immigration to the US. Because these policies were built on rhetoric as opposed to producible data, they had and have been in constant clash in the courts system. Finally, the administrations’ push for the protection of the American job market was built again on rhetoric of job stealing immigrants (Arce, 2019) instead of admissible data, which when enacted is likely to cause significant harm to the American job market instead of good (Immigrants and the Economy, 2020).

Timeline of Events for Latinx-American Immigrants

  • January 2000-December 2015 Immigration to America increased so drastically between these short fifteen years, that the Hispanic population in America rose from 12.5% to 17.6%.
  • January 25th, 2017 Trump signs executive orders to call for the construction of a border wall along the US/Mexico border, and simultaneously introduce fines for municipalities protecting non-citizens (sanctuary cities).
  • February 2017 The Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Department of Homeland Security announce their prerogative to crack down on illegal immigration, hire 5,000 new staff, and create means of communication from which citizens can call suspected criminals living with illegal immigrant status.
  • January 2018 The Department of Homeland Security announces an end to the temporary protected status for El Salvadorian Citizens, initially granted following a humanitarian crisis in 2001.
  • April 2018 Trump deploys troops to the Mexican border.

Latinx Immigration and The Muslim Ban

Predicating Policy on Phobias Becomes Doomed to Fail

The government shut down in late 2018 after senate Republicans made border wall funding a key part of their agreement, and senate Democrats refused to give the requested $5bil for the wall. To date, only three new miles of wall have been built, and all work on the border wall has been improvement or maintenance on existing portions of the wall (Trump’s campaign promises – has he delivered on them? 2020). All the while, detention centers have been overflowing with detained asylum seekers, and reports of children separated from their parents sit in cages (Dickerson, 2020). The failures of policies surrounding the Southern border resulted from Senate democrats refusing to join in discussions with their republican contemporaries, when those conversations find their basis in racially divisive rhetoric. On a policy level, that wasn’t going to change, and still hasn’t. It is impossible to determine whether the “Muslim Ban” stopped any terrorist attacks from occurring, but what it succeeded in was further causing tensions between America and her allies. Both of these major policy decisions, as they had been predicated on feelings rather than factual data, left America a distrusted player on the world stage (Friedman, 2018). These policies aren’t factual and fail to deliver the comprehensive overhauls which our system so desperately need; they’re positioned in such a way they cannot succeed as policy.

Timeline of Events for Visa Changes

  • April 2017 Trump signs executive order “Buy American and Hire American”, to encourage the employment of American citizens as opposed to non-citizens holding the H-1B visa (Presidential Executive Order on Buy American and Hire American 2017).
  • September 2017 The administration issues the first in a series of changes to the H-1B visa program, intending to weed out persons who misrepresent or fraudulently cite their rationale for coming to America.
  • October 2020 President Trump announces changes to the H-1B Visa system, raising the requirements to be met for renewal of visas, including raising wage requirements by 28% depending on level of employment.

Visa Changes

“Buy American Hire American” Hurts American

Visa changes under the Trump administration have been drastic and are intended to ensure that American industry is hiring American workers. The changes require employers to pay non-citizen workers rates which reflect higher-than-average wages (position dependent) to de-incentivize hiring cheaper foreign labor. This change, in tandem with restrictions on H-1B visas, now require workers to work strictly in the field their degree is intended for rather than closely related corollary fields. These changes are expected to hurt major tech industries such as google, which has long relied on talented H-1B visa holders as they transition from school into the workforce.

This Researcher’s Proposed Changes to Immigration Policy

  1. America’s Southern Border: Our proposed solution to the issue of Latinx American immigration, is to use border wall-funding to revitalize existing infrastructure of detention centers, as well as fund legal teams and social workers to more rapidly and humanely process the detained peoples.
  • H-1B Visa Changes: Lower the raise of wage requirements to 15% and include a 10-year plan to gradually raise wages to the proposed 28% to give industries ample time to adapt, grow, and reevaluate their teams alongside the changes.
  • Muslim Ban: Employ a more stringent review of all travel and work visas to ensure entry to applicants who are looking to serve a mutually beneficial diplomatic relationship but drop all pretense of blanket bans targeted against countries.

Why These Solutions Work

America’s Southern Border: What this administration’s policies have done have in essence overfilled the detention centers along the border, thus exacerbating situations along the wall. With tensions high, and more cases entering than leaving, immigration officials aren’t making headway into solving their issues. In short term strategy, this method will greatly increase deportations, and in long term strategy, it will ensure that asylum-seeking individuals are treated with humanity and processed through a fair civil court to determine their status regarding staying in America. This solution will require a great deal of funding to be allocated to border protections, which both republicans and democrats stand to benefit from. Taking the focus off of Trump’s rhetorical lambasting of Latinx people, and instead focusing on humanitarian comprehensive immigration support would be of the most benefit to all Americans. 

H-1B Visa Changes: The rate hike from the most recent visa changes pose a threat to American industries and will cause an unintended exodus of talent to our neighbor Canada. This hike is unsustainable and leaves a looming ‘jumping-off-point’ as thousands of workers will no longer qualify for their visa renewal. Our proposed changes give industries cusion time to adapt to the changes, while simultaneously respecting the efforts made by immigrant peoples on their journeys to citizenship. This is key, as it again shifts the focus off the hateful rhetoric of the administration and seeks to find a humane method of ensuring protections for American workers- while also taking into consideration the backbone which many of these immigrants provide to our tech and industrial sectors.

Muslim Ban: A perpetual blanket ban fails to serve either national or international interests. Our proposal is to more simply have a more stringent review of all travel and work visas to ensure that applicants are looking to serve a mutually beneficial diplomatic relationship. It is not predicated on intolerance and works to address systemic issues with existing policies.

References

Arce, J. (2019, August 06). Donald Trump’s Anti-Immigration Rhetoric Is Rooted in Racism. Retrieved October 20, 2020, from https://time.com/5645501/trump-anti-immigration-rhetoric-racism/

Budiman, A. (2020, September 22). Key findings about U.S. immigrants. Retrieved November 19, 2020, from https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/08/20/key-findings-about-u-s-immigrants/

Dickerson, C. (2020, October 21). Parents of 545 Children Separated at the Border Cannot Be Found. Retrieved November 19, 2020, from https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/21/us/migrant-children-separated.html

Flores, A. (2020, May 31). Facts on Latinos in America. Retrieved November 19, 2020, from https://www.pewresearch.org/hispanic/2017/09/18/2015-statistical-information-on-hispanics-in-united-states/

Flores, A. (2020, May 31). Facts on Latinos in America. Retrieved November 19, 2020, from https://www.pewresearch.org/hispanic/2017/09/18/2015-statistical-information-on-hispanics-in-united-states/

Immigrants and the Economy. (2020). Retrieved October 20, 2020, from https://www.aclu.org/other/immigrants-and-economy

Presidential Executive Order on Buy American and Hire American. (2017). Retrieved October 21, 2020, from https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/presidential-executive-order-buy-american-hire-american/

Trump’s campaign promises – has he delivered on them? (2020, October 15). Retrieved October 19, 2020, from https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-37982000

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