Thursday, May 16, 2019

What did Donald Trump do today?

He announced an immigration "plan" that would have excluded the many immigrants he is related to.

In a speech today, Trump unveiled an immigration plan put together by his son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner. (Kushner, who failed the normal background check needed to get a White House security clearance, is the heir to a real estate fortune whose work experience is limited to jobs given him by companies bought with family money.)

It wasn't well received—particularly by Republicans.

White House policy proposals like this aren't usually intended to be adopted verbatim as laws, although the "plan" was remarkable even by those standards for what it leaves out. For example, it makes no mention of DACA, the overwhelmingly popular program that protects children brought to the United States illegally from arbitrary deportation. 

Its centerpiece is a so-called "merit-based" system for evaluating immigration applications, and a limitation on the number of family members that can be included as part of an application. As many people noted, it's unlikely that either of the immigrants Trump has married would have passed a "merit" test based on their job prospects and financial support at the time they came to the United States—unless someone pulled strings. And both Trump's mother and paternal grandfather—and his current wife's elderly parents—benefited from what Trump now calls "chain migration," using connections to family members who had previously emigrated to establish themselves.

Trump's personal priorities where immigration are concerned have also made news recently. More undocumented workers, known to be ineligible to work in the United States when they were hired, came forward to reveal wage theft by Trump businesses. A number of Trump businesses are being investigated for their use and abuse of illegal labor. And as a Washington Post article revealed today, employees are telling reporters about his obsessive "micromanaging" of designs for his border fence.

The bollards, or “slats,” as he prefers to call them, should be painted “flat black,” a dark hue that would absorb heat in the summer, making the metal too hot for climbers to scale, Trump has recently told White House aides, Homeland Security officials and military engineers. 
And the tips of the bollards should be pointed, not round, the president insists, describing in graphic terms the potential injuries that border crossers might receive.

So what?

  • Policy affecting immigration, national security, and security for American workers should be crafted by people who know something about those things.
  • It's wrong to apply one standard to yourself and your family, and another to everyone else.
  • Obsessive fixation on violent images isn't a sign of good mental health.