During his campaign, President-elect Donald Trump brought immigration to the forefront of the public debate, and for good reason. Our immigration system is in dire need of improvement. Millions of undocumented immigrants are currently living in the shadows with neither an accessible path toward legal status nor clarity about what lies ahead for them under a new administration.
Trump has an opportunity to fulfill his campaign promise and improve America’s broken immigration system while allaying the concerns of his political adversaries. With the nation still torn after a hard-fought election, he should demonstrate his intention to be a unifier by taking steps to protect vulnerable immigrants. In particular, he should allow industrious, nonviolent immigrants to stay in the country and pursue a more permanent status as part of a broader comprehensive reform package. That way, he can focus on true national security threats at the border without jeopardizing the livelihoods of millions of peaceful, productive immigrants working toward a brighter future.
The major looming question is how the Trump administration will approach the immigration policies that President Obama put in place by executive order. If these programs are terminated without replacement, millions of immigrants with no criminal history could face the threat of deportation. Lately, though, Trump has shied away from his hardline campaign rhetoric and recently expressed interest in extending the protections President Obama granted via executive order under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.
Continue reading at Arizona Capitol Times.
As a man fond of deals, President-elect Donald Trump can appreciate that he controls the fate of one of the largest political deals in recent history. Once he assumes office on Jan. 20, he’s expected to address the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, issued by President Obama in June 2012.
That executive action directed the Department of Homeland Security to defer deporting illegal immigrants under 30 who came to the U.S. before the age of 16, had not been convicted of a crime and were enrolled in school or the military.
If he wants to be the ultimate deal-maker, Trump should keep the action in place and signal to investors that the American economy is ready for a new boom.
Why would someone seen as an immigration hard-liner ever consider keeping this action in place?
As an employer of tens of thousands of people, Trump understands the economics of mass deportation and the value of the people who’ve been in the country as illegal immigrants.
“They got brought here at a very young age, they’ve worked here, they’ve gone to school here. Some were good students. Some have wonderful jobs. And they’re in never-never land because they don’t know what’s going to happen,” he told Time magazine.
Continue reading at The Charlotte Observer.
Remittances Should Be Encouraged, Not Banned
Donald Trump made headlines when he announced his plan to force Mexico to pay for his big, beautiful wall on the southern border by threatening to cut off remittances, which pump billions of dollars into the Mexican economy every year.
There are a number of problems with Trump��s plan — not least of which that we don’t need his wall to begin with — but the whole idea of using remittances as a bargaining chip in his quest to stop illegal immigration may very well be self-defeating. As the White House was quick to point out, cutting off remittances would have serious ramifications on the Mexican economy, which could in turn drive even more people to flee to the United States.
By implication, does that mean we should spend more taxpayer dollars on foreign aid to give people less of an incentive to come? Not exactly. But whether we want to help poor countries for its own sake or to prevent people from flocking to our borders, remittances are a bigger, better, and smarter way to do it than foreign aid.
First of all, remittances are huge. Americans send more money abroad in remittance payments than any other country on Earth — nearly four times more than every federal foreign aid program combined. Each year, the United States federal government spends approximately $35 billion in economic aid to over 140 countries around the world, directed primarily to underdeveloped regions. By comparison, residents of the United States send an estimated $123 billion in remittances to friends and family overseas.
The nearly $25 billion sent by US residents to Mexico accounts for 2.5 percent of the country’s GDP, bringing in more money than the oil industry. Millions of low-income families in Mexico depend on the inflow of remittances in order to make ends meet, and cutting off that flow could cause many to uproot and head north to rejoin family members in the United States — hardly the goal of border security advocates. If our presidential candidates really want to stem the flow of illegal immigration, they should focus on facilitating remittances, not threatening to shut them off.
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