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7 Things the White House Is Hoping You Won't Notice About the Trump Immigration Policy

Last week, Donald Trump announced that the administration was ready to work with Congress to “…ensure safe and lawful admissions; defend the safety and security of our country; and protect American workers and taxpayers.”

Naturally, the Trump immigration policy centers on keeping people out of the country. Trump's proposed strategies range from building the southern border wall that was a core tenet of his campaign to preventing immigrants from bringing family members to the United States. Unsurprisingly, there are more than a few flaws in the plan. Here are a few things Trump is apparently hoping the public—and the legislature—won’t notice:

  1. The leader of the alleged “family values” party is determined to ensure that the highly-qualified immigrants his policy purportedly aims to attract won’t be allowed to bring family members such as aging parents and young adult children with them to the United States. His new policy would limit family-based immigration to spouses and minor children, preventing multi-generational families from making a new life together in the U.S.
  2. By prohibiting the best and the brightest from fulfilling their obligations to elderly parents, the Trump immigration plan creates a strong disincentive for the most qualified prospective immigrants to choose the United States. Other target countries that are just as attractive as the United States in other ways, such as Canada, have more liberal family-based immigration policies that allow multi-generational families to remain intact.
  3. The Migration Policy Center has estimated that Trump’s proposed addition of 10,000 Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers—an apparently random number—would cost $600-700 million each year. That’s at least $6 billion over a ten-year period, and does not include the cost of adding hundreds of federal prosecutors.
  4. Varying estimates have put the cost of constructing the southern border wall at between $21.6 billion and $70 billion, but that’s only the beginning. A report prepared by the Democratic staff of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee projected that the wall would cost an additional $150 million per year to maintain.
  5. The same report referenced above determined that construction of the wall would require the government to gain possession of hundreds of acres of private land, at an additional cost of several million dollars.
  6. Trump’s proposed points-based green card system could cost the United States billions of dollars, as foreign investments that have flowed to this country through the EB-5 visa program are choked off.
  7. One underplayed point in Trump’s immigration policy involves the imposition of “performance metrics” on U.S. immigration judges. Though that aspect of the immigration policy has not been described in detail, it’s clear that the imposition of outside metrics on the decision-making process of the judiciary is dangerous and potentially unconstitutional.

Overall, the Trump immigration policy is counter-productive and confused. An administration that has complained about Obama-era spending and claims to prioritize tax cuts aims to spend nearly $1 trillion on immigration reforms. A President who claims that he wants to draw the best and the brightest to the United States hopes to do so by forcing desirable immigrants to abandon their families. A White House that pays lip service to increasing job opportunities for Americans seeks to eliminate investment dollars attracted through a program specifically tied to job creation.

The one area in which Trump has been true to his stated goals and values is the dramatic reduction in the number of refugees the U.S. will accept. For the fiscal year that started in September, resettlement of refugees is capped at about 45,000—less than half the number provided for in the final year of the Obama administration. The cap is the lowest since the 1980s, despite conflicts around the world having increased the number of displaced persons by more than 50% across the past four years.

If Congress cooperates with the administration to further this plan, the result will hurt taxpayers, property owners, the U.S. economy, desirable immigrants and their families, and leave displaced people from around the world without access to asylum in the U.S.

The Alagiri Immigration Law Firm helps people with U.S. immigration matters. For more information, call (650) 931-2509,or fill out the contact form on this site.