David Nakamura reports in the Washington Post:
“The Trump administration’s attempts to translate the president’s hard-line campaign rhetoric on immigration into reality have run into two major roadblocks: the complexity of reshaping a sprawling immigration system and a president who has not been clear about how he wants to change it.
In his first four weeks in office, President Trump has sought to use his executive powers to punch through Washington’s legislative and bureaucratic hurdles and make quick progress on pledges to crack down on illegal immigrants and tighten border control.
But Trump has been vague about his goals and how to achieve them and his aides have struggled to interpret his orders.
The resulting turmoil has included a successful legal challenge halting his immigration travel ban, fears among congressional Republicans over the White House’s more extreme measures and widespread anxiety among immigrant communities across the country.
The latest flash point erupted Friday over reports that the Department of Homeland Security was considering mobilizing 100,000 National Guard troops to help round up millions of unauthorized immigrants in 11 states, including some such as Colorado and Oregon far from the southern border.
President Trump said at a press conference Thursday that deciding the fate of illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children is “one of the most difficult subjects I have.” (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)”
It’s not difficult for anyone who understands the complex field of immigration to see that when you surround yourself with tone-deaf advisors like Jeff Sessions, Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, Kris Kobach, and Rep. Steve King your immigration policies are headed straight onto the rocks, where they likely will remain aground for the rest of the Administration.
So, you’re President Donald Trump. You want to make an impact in immigration, and also have everybody love what you’re doing to “make America great.”
Then, why not sit down with some Republicans who have thought carefully about the issue, like, for example: House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senator John McCain, Senator Lindsey Graham, Senator Jeff Flake, Congresswoman Illeana Ros-Lehtinen, Senator Marco Rubio, the Koch Brothers, former U.S. Solicitor General Ted Olson, and Ohio Governor John Kasich? Also, it would be a good idea to reach across the aisle and speak with folks like Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senator Dick Durban, Senator Bernie Sanders, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Representative Henry Cuellar who have worked thoughtfully on immigration issues. And, why not invite DHS Secretary John Kelly, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary James Mattis, Labor Secretary Alex Acosta (assuming confirmation), and, of course, Vice President Mike Pence to the table too?
Think about how refugees, legal immigrants, and those who are already here and in our workforce can be melded in the best way possible to tap America’s full potential, create meaningful opportunities for all Americans, increase productivity and innovation, and combat the looming problem of future labor shortages. Also, consider how a more realistic, expanded legal immigration system could be a critical tool for discouraging illegal migration, maintaining control of our borders, and insuring national security without over-investing in the (usually ineffective and always expensive) quasi-militarization of our borders.
As one of my colleagues used to tell me when I got going too fast, “Relax, it’s a marathon not a sprint.” There is still plenty of time for President Trump to get the immigration issue right for America. But, it’s not going to happen unless he expands his circle of advisers to include those with a more positive and realistic view of immigration’s essential role in making America great.