BRET STEPHENS IN THE NYT: DREAMERS & MIGRANTS (DOCUMENTED OR NOT) MAKE AMERICA GREAT!

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/01/opinion/daca-trump-dreamers-immigration.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-left-region%C2%AEion=opinion-c-col-left-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-left-region

Stephens writes:

“A common American conceit is that we attract brilliant foreigners because we have brilliant things: great universities, vast financial resources, a dynamic economy, high-tech. That gets things mostly backward. It’s because we have brilliant foreigners that we have those things in the first place. Google. Comcast. eBay. Kraft. Pfizer. AT&T. They all had immigrants as founders.

Overall, a 2016 study by the Partnership for the New American Economy found that 40 percent of all Fortune 500 companies were founded or co-founded by immigrants or the children of immigrants. Taken together they employed 19 million people and had revenues of $4.8 trillion.

Opponents of a liberal immigration policy often insist they welcome legal immigrants and only object to illegal ones. Rubbish. The immigration reform bill introduced in Congress this year by Republicans Tom Cotton and David Perdue and endorsed by Donald Trump aims to cut legal immigration by half.

Restrictionists also argue that we need to favor newcomers with “skills” and educational credentials. More rubbish. Jan Koum arrived in the U.S. from Ukraine in 1992 as a 16-year-old boy with his mother, living off food stamps. She worked as a babysitter. He later dropped out of college. In 2009 he came up with an idea for a mobile messaging app. Five years later Facebook purchased WhatsApp for $22 billion.

Should it make any difference to WhatsApp’s billion-plus users that Koum arrived in the United States legally? And if it turned out that he hadn’t, should he be required to leave the country, presumably so he can pay income tax — and create jobs — in his native Ukraine?

That would be self-defeating. But it’s the fate that may soon await 800,000 or so young people who were brought without visas to the United States as children, grew up in the country, in some cases only speak English, and now face deportation because the Trump administration seems poised to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a program that allowed them to stay in school or their jobs.

The nativist wing of the right thinks DACA is unconstitutional. That’s not clear, though it would be on firmer legal ground if Congress turned DACA into law by passing Senators Lindsey Graham and Dick Durbin’s Dream Act. In the meantime, allowing these young dreamers to stay is ordinary humanity and enlightened policy. If just 10 of those 800,000 turn into future Jan Koums, the program will have more than paid for itself.

 

It isn’t the whole truth to say that immigrants come to our shores because of our wealth. They also come in hope of being welcomed by a country whose astounding faith in human possibility includes a faith in them, however poor, unkempt — or even undocumented — they may sometimes be.

Lose that faith, and lose what’s best about America, too.”

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Read the complete op-ed at the link.

Stephens doesn’t know squat about climate change. But, he does understand the overriding value of immigration, whether documented or not, to America and our future as a great nation. He also exposes the bogus rationales employed by supporters of the RAISE Act to “dress up” their White Nationalist agenda.

PWS

09-02-17

“Duh” ARTICLE OF THE WEEK: Guess What? Immigration Policy Is Complex And Difficult — The President Should Seek Some Decent Advice!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trumps-hardline-immigration-rhetoric-runs-into-obstacles–including-trump/2017/02/17/37ba2218-f537-11e6-b9c9-e83fce42fb61_story.html?hpid=hp_rhp-top-table-main_trumpimmigration-8pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.f7b4a8ac9f52

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)”

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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.

PWS

02/17/17

 

Sessions Gives Few Specifics About Immigration Role During First Day of Hearings — Offers Neither Support Nor Solution For Dreamers, But Doesn’t Consider Them Removal Priorities — Defends Hard Line Positions, But Says He Would Like To Work Together On Solving Difficult Problem In Compassionate Manner

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/jeff-sessions-dick-durbin-immigration_us_58751aa5e4b02b5f858b5c4a

“The attorney general is not in charge of most deportation efforts ― that falls to the Department of Homeland Security. But should he be confirmed, Sessions would still have plenty of power to affect immigration matters, from shaping the resources immigration courts receive and how they make decisions to pressuring local law enforcement to assist in deportation efforts.

Sessions said that Durbin was “wrong” about what his record indicates he’d do as attorney general, but he also defended his support of limiting immigration and increasing deportations.

“I believe the American people spoke clearly in this election,” Sessions said. “I believe they agreed with my basic view and I think it’s a good view, a decent view, a solid legal view for the United States of America that we create a lawful system of immigration that allows people to apply to this country and if they’re accepted, they get in; if they’re not accepted, they don’t get in.”

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Senator Sessions seemed neither sympathetic to, nor understanding of, the difficult situation of “Dreamers.”  On the plus side, he seemed to recognize that the Dreamers, and similarly situated individuals who have successfully integrated into the community of the United States, probably aren’t going anywhere, but offered no specific suggestions as to how they should be treated if DACA is withdrawn.

I was somewhat encouraged by the Senator’s recognition of the complexity of the immigration issue — something many enforcement-oriented individuals refuse to acknowledge — the need to work together to solve problems, ideally through legislation, and his use of the term “compassionate.”  He also seems to appreciate that being the Attorney General of the United States is a markedly different role than representing Alabama in the Senate  — it’s a bigger picture with a much border, more diverse constituency.

As far as I can tell from reading press accounts, Senator Sessions was neither asked about nor did he reveal his plans for what is probably going to be his biggest problem when he assumes the leadership of the Department of Justice — the total meltdown of the U.S. Immigration Court System.

PWS

01-11-17