Webster: “Strongman: a person who uses power or authority in a cruel, unjust, or harmful way”
On Sep. 6, 2017, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, was rescinded by Pres. Donald Trump. Congress was given 6 months to fix DACA. Now Trump is asking for measures to curtail legal immigration, specially from countries where the population is not white and for funding for his wall, in exchange for a DACA fix.
At the top of his demands are 2 euphemisms: “the lottery” and “chain migration”.
“The Lottery” (the green-card lottery) issues up to 50,000 visas a year to people from dozens of countries: 5% of the roughly 1 million green cards issued annually. The aim is to mix up the nation’s melting pot. The 95% other green cards are given out based on an employer or a family sponsor. There is a long and tedious background check system in place for all green card applicants.
US immigration quotas have been around for over 100 years and we need not be proud of this. The Immigration Act of 1924 limited the number of immigrants allowed entry into the USA through an origins quota. It completely excluded immigrants from Asia.
Even when you have your green card, there is another long waiting period for naturalization. I waited 26 years while working as a doctor in the US for naturalization.
In the context of Trump’s ‘shithole countries’ comment, one has to interpret his rescinding of “the lottery” system as an attempt to favor white versus non-white immigration, a blatant racial move applauded by the likes of David Duke and documented by his tweet that “Americans are Dreamers too”. Lee Zeldin approves!
“Chain Migration” – U.S. citizens and green card holders can petition for a spouse and unmarried children to join them in the USA. But no one can petition for an aunt, uncle, cousin, niece, nephew, in-law relative or grandparent, according to USCIS. There is a long queue for certain relatives seeking to come through family sponsorship. For brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens, the average waiting period for a visa is over 13 years.
The term ‘chain migration’ is used in the history books to describe the phenomenon of one family migrating to a new country (usually because of persecution or economic disaster), and then, when they find the new location to be safe and conducive to prosperity, they signal their extended family, or even their entire community, to join them. All immigrants to the US have followed this pattern, the Italians, the Irish, the Germans, including the Trump family!
So why all the hoopla? Because Trump wants to stir up emotion among his base. To this end he uses stories of individuals who entered this country via the lottery program and that committed atrocities, like the Uzbek terrorist’s attack in Lower Manhattan on Oct. 31, 2017.
This brings me back to DACA. Just like rescinding the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), rescinding DACA is quite unpopular, regardless of your politics. In the case of CHIP, the democrats prevailed and the program was saved. In both cases, Trump is/was trying to hold Democrats hostage: either you vote for funds for my wall, and my changes to legal immigration or you lose DACA. And for good measure Republicans (and that includes FOX news of course) will tar Dems with the responsibility of having doomed DACA!
Yes, these are strongman tactics and they are “cruel, unjust, and harmful”.
Zeldin has this to say: “My priority will always unapologetically remain with fighting for the people following the laws, rather than the ones breaking them.”
Uhm? A 5 year old child brought to this country (and now many years later a DACA recipient) was breaking the law? What does Zeldin expect? Is the 5 year old from Ecuador supposed to tell his/her parents “I am not going with you because you are breaking the US laws”. I say “Lee Zeldin, take a moment and think about your own kids.” This is a tragedy and we, as a nation, are complicit: these families were not prevented from coming and this has been occuring over many years and many administrations both Republican and Democratic. For 8 years that Obama was president the Republicans fought tooth and nail to prevent comprehensive immigration reform. Now they have inherited the mess. And their proposed solution: strongman tactics that are “cruel, unjust, and harmful”.
Here’s what you need to know about the diversity visa lottery program
Jeff Sessions announces DACA program to be rescinded
How the United States Immigration System Works
Donald Trump’s misleading claim about chain migration, unlimited sponsorship of distant relatives
Trump is not the enemy. The GOP is the enemy. They put him in office.
John Tepper Marlin, Ph.D. President, Boissevain Books LLC Principal, CityEconomist Cell: 646-250-4915 . 917-519-4956