• Jorge Velasco

VELASCO: Immigration Reform Now

Updated: Jul 27, 2020

"Entities should not be multiplied without necessity."

Since the Supreme Court voted that the Trump administration did not follow proper protocol in ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, President Trump immediately vowed to refile for its termination. However, in a new exclusive interview with Telemundo, Trump told José Díaz-Balart in the coming weeks, a new executive order would give program recipients a "road to citizenship", a sudden reversal of his strong immigration policy. For someone who has made promises and kept them, he should stick to another one of them: merit-based immigration.

In 2017, a 6-month ultimatum was given to a then-Republican majority Congress to find a solution that would protect 'Dreamers' from ultimately losing their temporary status.

As the legal battle from various activist groups loomed large against the Trump Administration, Trump himself began to take shape of what was really at stake- a potential electoral loss. The base that elected him for his no-nonsense agenda would be at risk if he didn't persist in the same all-or-nothing fashion. But, it would be unfair for critics and voters of the president to point fingers at his 'indecisiveness' after he ended DACA. After all, it was Judge Andrew Hanen who declared it unconstitutional and left it up to the legislature to correct its legal errors:

"If the nation truly wants a DACA program, it is up to Congress to say so.”

Federal District Judge Andrew Hanen, August 30, 2018

Albeit, Chief Justice John Roberts stated that DACA is allowed to be terminated:

"The dispute before the Court is not whether DHS may rescind DACA. All parties agree that it may. The dispute is instead primarily about the procedure the agency followed in doing so."

Now, three years later and an unconvincing SCOTUS ruling along with it, a crucial last few months will decide this coming election cycle. Yet, during this same time span, the Supreme Court has represented the pendulum swing that America witnesses during every election cycle: from voting in favor of Trump's travel ban to allowing military funds go towards building a wall on the southern border. One thing's for certain: President Trump cannot and should not give an inch to amnesty opportunists and should instead focus on his merit-based plan.

Having acknowledged a supportive outcome, President Trump introduced a merit-based green card program in 2019 to increase a diversified economy while offering a path to citizenship. Requirements would be:

  • youth

  • having a valuable skill

  • having an offer of employment

  • having an advanced degree

  • planning to create jobs

  • earning higher wages.

Here's the problem: executive authority. To enact his merit-based plan through executive order would be a slap in the face to the Constitution. It was Trump who lambasted President Obama when he abused his executive authority to create this program in the first place. Now, amidst an increasingly more likely second wave of spiking COVID-19 cases across the vast majority of states, President Trump has the opportunity kill two birds with one stone at just the tip of his fingertips.

In order to dodge the double standard that conservatives grappled about when Obama normalized a constant authoritative abuse, President Trump is able to push aside his "Hire American" and focus towards said merit-based plan. The notion of hiring unemployed Americans is an encouraging and patriotic start, but statistics have little data to support it. Tech workers have become an at-risk group- in fact, a Bureau of Labor Statistics study found that while the U.S. is producing more STEM grads than in the past, there could still be shortages in some fields and types of jobs.

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) agrees with this sentiment-

If President Trump successfully managed to introduce merit-based legislation to Congress and gain bipartisan traction with an eventual net-positive result, his reelection campaign would gain a fair chunk of the moderate bloc. It's worth noting that last week, Trump signed the "Hispanic Prosperity Initiative in the Rose Garden." Fox Business reports:

The initiative is focused on improving educational and economic opportunities for Hispanic Americans and establishes the Advisory Commission on Hispanic Prosperity. This commission will advise President Trump on ways to promote apprenticeships, internships, fellowships, and other pathways to in-demand jobs for Hispanic Americans.

But what say the American people? A Gallup poll dating back to 1965 recently found that more Americans want immigration, the first uptrend in the poll's history. An interesting trend to note is that while Democrats and Independents support saw an uptick in this poll, Republicans stagnated. This could have several explanations, including Trump's steady and convinced base as well as support for his "Hire American" approach.

Needless to say, President Trump has done an excellent job in overseeing his immigration policy promises, such as prosecuting and witholding funds from sanctuary cities, building over 200 miles of the new border wall, hiring 23 new immigration judges (highest class since 2010), and seeing constant declines in illegal immigration.

To say that he champions immigration policy is a vast understatement. Americans have witnessed an incredible political overhaul since Trump's inauguration. This shouldn't detract Trump and how he could improve both his reelection campaign and this chance to grab what's really important for him, America, and the future of immigration.

Jorge Velasco is the Founder, CEO, and Editor-in-Chief for The National Times.