9 Days to Go: The Only Immigration Problem: the GOP

Lord Donny is trying really hard to turn immigration into a huge issue for the midterms in nine days, but he’s failing miserably. Fortunately, his Republican Party has been following Donny’s lead, and it’s having a negative effect on the GOP’s chances of holding on to power. One reason for that is, the Republican Party and Donald Trump are the primary reason we have an immigration problem in the first place. 

You may think this has been going on for a long time, but you would be wrong to think such a thing. Yes, we have too many undocumented immigrants here and we need to learn who and where they are, but the problem is more logistical than anything. In fact, one of the key problems with the immigration debate is this idea that it’s a singular problem with a singular solution, which is absurd. 

Some claim there are as many as 11.2 million undocumented immigrants live in this country right now. While some in the GOP insist the number could be higher than that, most experts acknowledge that the number has actually been dropping in the last decade or so. (Source). According to those intelligent estimates, just more than half of those undocumented immigrants are from points south in our hemisphere, probably about 53-54%. That means, nearly half of all undocumented immigrants are NOT brown and/or from points south. And yet, the Republicans’ sole focus has always been on the “brown people” from Mexico and Central America. They essentially ignoring the more than 40% of undocumented immigrants who are from Canada, Europe and Asia.  

And make no mistake; Lord Donald of Trump doesn’t have an original thought in that orange and yellow head of his. Every political position he has comes from his monitoring of what the callers into right-wing talk radio shitfests. Not the hosts, but the callers. And what those idiots talk about it based on the Republican image, of hundreds of thousands of “brown people” sneaking over the border en masse. How many times have you heard the term “invasion” used by the right wing over the years? They imagine that’s what’s happening because that’s the impression the GOP has been giving them for more than 30 years. 

Needless to say, since the message is coming from the current Republican Party, that impression is complete crap. Most of the undocumented immigrants here came here legally and overstayed. They represent a far larger percentage of the undocumented population than those who snuck over the border illegally. (Source) What that means is, a border wall, which Trump and his deplorable horde want to make the centerpiece of their immigration strategy, such as it is, would be ineffective in most cases. Since most “illegals” come here at border crossings or through airports, even if the wall worked perfectly, which is impossible, it might prevent 10 percent of immigrants from coming here illegally. 

The main reason immigrants come here is for a job and a better life. That is true of those who are here illegally. The best way to prevent illegal immigration is to cut off the source, which involves cracking down on employers. However, Republicans won’t even consider such a thing, and Trump is too invested in scaring people from coming here to even think about taking a rational approach to immigration.  

Of course, increasing the minimum wage to something livable would also alleviate much of the problem of undocumented immigrants.  By making jobs more appealing to Americans, who tend to be more productive, anyway, employers would not have to look elsewhere for labor. 

There are other problems, primarily caused by the Republican approach to immigration, which involves taking a sledgehammer to a problem that should be solved with a scalpel. While we have always heard from the right about how they would have no problem with immigrants if they just came here legally, the fact is, our immigration system is incredibly complicated and convoluted. Coming here legally is not a matter of coming here on a visa, deciding you’d like to stay and then heading to an ICE office to fill out a few forms. Not gonna happen. In fact, the way the laws are written, coming here legally is damned near impossible.

Consider the arbitrary quotas in place, and reality that the immigration system does play favorites. The Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA), which was passed at the height of our isolationism during the Cold War in 1952, limits the total number of legal entrants into this country, not including tourist visas, to 675,000. That’s not per country, that’s for all immigrants from the entire world. Most of those available visas (about 480,000) are apportioned to family members of US citizens. That means very few are left for anyone else to get. In fact, a maximum of 140,000 work visas are granted every year, and only 10-15,000 of those are for skilled and unskilled laborers. Our quota system is so pathetic, there is a limit of 10,000 visas a year for those immigrants who come here with $500,000-$1 million to start a business that hires at least 10 US workers. Now, why would we want to discourage economic development to that extent? (Source)

In a nation with a population of 320 million people, those numbers are ridiculous, and explain why there are so many undocumented immigrants?This explains why presidents from Nixon to Obama have had to use their executive power to deal with reality. These folks come here to work and they are a necessary cog in our economic development, but the law makes it possible for them to operate within our legal system. These quotas do not reflect reality and they do not serve anyone.

Many Trumpers (including Trump) seem to harbor fantasies in which the government simply rounds up all 11.2 million “illegals” and send them back to Mexico, since that is where they believe they all came from. As usual, they’re not operating in the real world. Even before Trump came along, the courts were already clogged and Donny’s insane “zero tolerance” nonsense has made that problem worse. And for all of his talk about hiring “thousaands of new judges,” the reality is, that will never happen. 

Logistically, even if you could round up all 11.2 million undocumented immigrants, we would have to set up 1000 courtrooms and find 1000 judges to man them and it still wouldn’t be enough. If they could handle 50 cases per day each they could conceivably be knocked out in a couple years. but that would also require shutting down most of the rest of the judiciary to do so. And how much would the transportation budget be for this. Again, more than 40 percent of those here illegally are not from Mexico and points south , which means merely shuttling them from El Paso into Juarez wouldn’t be sufficient or legal.  

The GOP bitched mightily when Obama acted unilaterally on immigration, but Trump’s been doing the same. They also complained that he didn’t “work with Congress on a bipartisan bill,” but Trump has refused to work with anyone on anything.  They call everything “amnesty” and condemn it, but every time someone has come up with a proposal, Trump or the GOP House has rejected it out of hand. Republicans don’t address any of the problems with our arbitrary immigration protocols, they don’t take into account any of the legal flaws in our immigration system, and they operate under the delusion that we can somehow deport all 11.2 million people. 

Our immigration system is messed up, but the Republican Party has been exacerbating everything for years. They will never actually address the problems we have in anything resembling a humane and civil approach. They steal children and lock brown people in jails indefinitely for no good reason. They are so invested in Trump’s “deterrent” attempts, they simply can’t approach immigration from a rational basis, in keeping with our tradition of welcoming the “tired and poor” with open arms. 

Yet another reason to begin the process of getting the current GOP out of all levels of government. Imagine ICE treated your ancestors this way when they immigrated here… 

Also published on Medium.

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