Thursday, June 21, 2018

Trump and Immigration

There is no issue in America that Donald Trump has had a bigger impact on than illegal immigration.

As I have written before, there is no way that Donald Trump would have been elected President without his strong stance on this issue.

It separated Trump from the pack of 17 other GOP candidate during the primaries and it was a defining issue during the general election.

Illegal immigration is a powerful issue because most Americans see it as fundamentally unfair. Americans are not anti-immigrant. However, they care about the rule of law, and most importantly, they believe in a even playing field. Both the rule of law and fairness have been ignored by every Presidential administration over the last 30 years.

I dare say that the average American has a much better understanding of the harmful effects of illegal immigration than the average politician or Washington bureaucrat. Each year they have seen the problems compound with the steady influx of illegals in their everyday experiences at the grocery store, at the mall, at the their children's school and at work.

In June, 2016 I wrote about an interesting poll that I had seen that I suggested could be a hint that Trump might surprise the political pundits in the November election in much the same way that Brexit had surprised those in Great Britain.

The poll was conducted by San Diego's Union Tribune and KGTV-TV. What really surprised me were the responses on illegal immigration at that time.

Bear in mind this poll was conducted in San Diego County which has a large Hispanic population. It is also in California which is probably the most predictably liberal Democrat state in the union.

This is what I wrote almost exactly two years ago.

In that survey, when asked if people who entered the United States illegally should be allowed to stay or be deported, by a margin of 54%-34% the respondents said they should be deported.
That is pretty astounding when you consider that we are talking about San Diego County, California.
Let's look at the demographics of San Diego County.
33% of the county's residents are Hispanic. That is almost double the national average.
Only 46% are white compared to 62% for the nation at large.
Obama beat Romney 53%-45% in San Diego County in 2012.
Obama beat McCain 54%-44% in 2008.
Republicans were in favor of deportation in the poll 76%-16%. Independents favored deportation 58%-38%. Democrats said let them stay by 52%-34%.
More interesting was the fact that Hispanics favored deportation by 52%-38%. That is almost the same as Whites at 52%-35%.
Even more interesting is that by a 48%-34% margin the survey respondents who supported deportation stated that all illegal immigrants, including children born in the U.S. of illegals, should be deported. 66% of Hispanics who supported deportation held this view compared to only 45% of Whites.
However, the most interesting factoid in the survey was this response.
61% of those favoring deportation (that is still over 30% of the entire survey sample) would be personally willing to pay an additional $4,000 in taxes to pay for the estimated $500 billion it would cost to identify, round up and deport the illegal immigrants in this country. 
I don't know where this ends but when that number of people in one of the most Hispanic counties in the United States (ranked 8th for % of Hispanics in the U.S. ) says that they would dig into their own pockets to pay for deportation tells me something.

Of course, we now know that Trump did use the immigration issue, among others, to win the Presidency. He has also fundamentally changed the conversation on illegal immigration in the country.

In the process he also has had a tremendous impact on how Republican candidates speak on the issue of illegal immigration. Before Trump came along it was rare to hear a GOP candidate speak about building a border wall or challenging cities that declare themselves to be sanctuary cities. You now see very few serious Republican candidates that do not have these issues as centerpieces of their campaigns.

We often do not appreciate how much difference one man can make. Trump has been that difference on the issue of illegal immigration.

If you need further proof look at the vote in the House of Representatives today on the Goodlatte bill involving illegal immigration.

Recall that it was five short years ago that the United States Senate passed the "Gang of Eight" immigration amnesty bill by a vote of 68-32. That bill would have allowed 12 million illegal immigrants to receive amnesty and be allowed to have a pathway to citizenship while doing very little to secure the border and reform the broken immigration system that relies on chain migration and a lottery for most of the over 1 million green cards given out every year. In fact, it would have increased the number of green cards given out each year.

That bill was never voted on in the House for two reasons. First, angry voters overwhelmed the offices of their GOP representatives with complaints about the bill. Second, House Speaker Boehner believed that the bill might pass if put to a vote with full Democrat support joined by moderate Republicans.

Congress has still not made progress on comprehensive immigration reform but the dynamics of the debate has shifted. Amnesty is a really dirty word now and chain migration and the lottery system are being questioned.

Consider the Goodlatte bill that was voted on today. It did not pass the House but it only needed 20 more votes to do so. Before Trump was elected I doubt that bill would have gotten support from more than 100 members. By the way, it did not get one Democrat vote. A second compromise bill was pulled from a vote because Speaker Ryan does not appear to have the votes. A few moderate Republicans might support it but more conservative GOP members will likely not. It is not expected to get any Democrat votes either.

The Goodlatte bill was referred to by the media as the "hard line conservative" bill. It would have provided 690,000 DACA illegals the opportunity to stay in the U.S. but there would be no pathway to citizenship. It also would do away with the visa lottery, end chain migration except for spouses and children and provide $30 billion for a border wall.

When you take a step back you begin to see what an enormous impact Donald Trump has had on this issue by comparing where we were with the "Gang of Eight" compared to "Goodlatte".

You also gain a better understanding of the political dimensions of this issue when you look at another poll that was recently conducted by McLaughlin & Associated for the Tea Party Patriots among 1000 likely 2018  mid-term election voters.

This was the summary conclusion that stood out to me.

By overwhelming margins, voters in virtually every subgroup strongly believe that it
is not fair or right to allow a particular group of illegal immigrants to “jump the line”
and be awarded the benefits of legal status and a potential pathway to US citizenship
before the hundreds of thousands of potential legal immigrants who have followed the
law and waited for years and, in many cases, paid thousands of dollars to immigration
attorneys to ensure they are complying with US law.

This is a breakdown of the subgroups in that survey.

Notice that this survey is couched on the "fairness" issue that I believe that is so important in considering illegal immigration.

Look at the numbers of some traditional Democrat constituencies on whether it is "fair" to provide amnesty to those who "jumped the line" compared to others who have attempted to follow the law.

(Fair/Not Fair)

Liberals                          29%/50%                        

Hispanics                       19%/70%

African Americans        14%/64%

Supporting amnesty for a Republican is almost akin to just saying that you no longer want to serve in elected office. Only 8% of GOP voters think amnesty is fair. 87% believe it is unfair.

All of this causes Paul Mirengoff of Powerline to suggest that the GOP is playing with fire with any vote for amnesty of any kind. What is really funny is that the Democrats seem to believe that they are playing with fire if they don't vote for amnesty of all kinds.

My guess is that the Democrats are much more likely to be burned on this issue before the Republicans are.

How can you ultimately win on an issue if you are on the side of illegal aliens, illegality and unfairness over American citizens, the rule of law and fairness?

Donald Trump understands this better than anyone.

Due to Trump, many more are understanding it today.

At some point a Democrat politician might.


  1. I look so forward to your blog. It the most sensible read I come across. I try to stay balanced in my exposure to news sources and opinions. Your writings always hit cords with me that are sensible and insightful. One angle that might be worth exploring is why there is such a surge in people seeking "asylum". Have conditions gotten measurably worse in the countries they are coming from? I have not seen any news sources explore this, left or right leaning (I follow both) Or is it that the availability of jobs in the U.S. has gotten so good recently and that their treatment once in the U.S. is relatively fair considering their circumstances, that these folks see opportunity in the US. Otherwise, why wouldn't they be content making it to, and staying in Mexico?

    1. Thanks for the kind words.It appears the surge in asylum requests is because the Obama administration encouraged it. They liberalized the rules and it did not take long for people in Central America to get to the border and say the "magic words". Nothing changed in the home countries. 600,000 asylum requests in backlog. We had 67% more refugee status apps than Germany last year! Bad policy will bring bad results. Read my earlier blog post for background.