​Trump's America – The issue of immigration

By Sajjad Malik
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, June 26, 2018
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U.S. President Donald Trump [Photo/Xinhua]

There's no doubt that America has changed since Donald Trump took over the Oval Office. The change is visible in almost all sectors of life – including politics, economy and defense. "America First" has become the country's new slogan and anything in the way of "making America great again" should be sidelined or removed. 

Ideally, every ruler should strive to make their nation great. But many believe this should be done by creating inclusive polices to share resources and cooperate with countries in the long journey to prosperity. 

However, some leaders adopt polices of exclusion because they fear that "others" are a threat to their well-being and stable life. They exploit differences within society so that certain groups are excluded from the daily life and forced to either leave the country or submissively accept the judgment of the majority.

Take immigration for example. There are countries that fear the unbridled rush of migrant workers will overwhelm the local people and take control of their resources. It is said those coming from different cultures will also increase polarization within the society, ultimately leading to conflicts and unrest.

Donald Trump has his own views on immigrants. He supports tough laws and barriers to stop the flood of unwanted workers making their way to the United States, for instance, he raised the idea of a wall on the Mexican-American border.

However, the wall is mired in controversy and the administration does not currently have enough resources to build it. In the meantime, other tough options are being exercised to tackle the problem. The administration has recently exercised a policy to separate children from parents who have been apprehended for illegally entering into the U.S.

The images of children being forcibly taken away from their parents and forced to live in secluded places miles away from them has caused an uproar across the U.S. Other countries have criticized this practice as "inhuman."

Trump has oscillated between extremes while giving contradictory statements about the policy to separate the children. He previously said he could not issue an executive order to address the problem; days later he issued one to end the practice. 

His flip-flop attitude is part of his politics. The way he switches from position to position baffles even his supporters, while people around the world speculate over the polices of one of the world's most powerful nations. 

The way Trump has handled immigration has polarized the country in a time when it needs unity and strength to legislate and create a system to block the entry of illegal immigrants. The executive order was only a partial solution as it failed to address the real problem – what to do with those living illegally in America and how to stop the daily influx?

While Trump is working to figure out how to handle migrants, data shows that they contribute significantly to the American economy. Reports state that migrant workers add $1.6 trillion to the U.S. economy every year; of that, $35 billion is a net benefit to the companies and communities where they live. 

Similarly, the cost of sending back dreamers and other illegal workers will be higher than keeping them in the country. The Cato Institute reported that it would cost $60 billion to deport the 750,000 people protected by DACA, while they contribute $28 billion a year to the economy.

Trump cannot resort to mass deportations as it will hurt economic growth and also portray the country in a negative light. The Center for American Progress reported that mass deportations would reduce U.S. GDP by 1.4 percent. 

The figures highlight the dilemma for policymakers. Trump is eager to keep the promise he made while on the campaign trail about getting tough on immigration but the reality is proving difficult to deal with and despite his rhetoric, he has limited options. 

The wiser option would be to get Congress involved. So far debate over immigration has created divisions instead of consensus among U.S. politicians. Republicans and Democrats often trade bitterness on the important subject rather than making a serious bipartisan effort to find a solution. 

Sajjad Malik is a columnist with China.org.cn. For more information please visit:


Opinion articles reflect the views of their authors, not necessarily those of China.org.cn.

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