As the Presidential Race heats up, we examine the actual official Trump position on Immigration in it’s entirety. As his rhetoric changes week to week, does this hold up to scrutiny? In black are direct quotes from Trump’s website, in purple is our analysis.
The three core principles of Donald J. Trump’s immigration plan
If Trump wins the presidency, he will be a politician as well. A lot of his rhetoric is to make voters believe that unlike all the other politicians who transitioned from business, he won’t act like a stereotypical politician. An actual look at the ‘Schumer-Rubio immigration bill’ doesn’t quite line up with Trump’s accusations. In fact, ‘Title 1‘ was specifically about additional border security while other title’s try to rebalance immigration towards the highly skilled.
The claim that the US is unique in putting immigrants needs above natives is completely unverifiable and subjective. Considering the majority of US citizens are descended from European immigrants, it would be interesting to know at what point immigration was serving the needs of other nations.
1) Most nations in the world do not have physical borders with their neighbouring countries, this is true of both developed and developing nations.
2) This is addressed later on in the “Defend the Laws and Constitution of the United States” section.
3)Trump is being ingenious with defining nation here which in the oxford dictionary is just a group of common people that inhabit a particular territory. Maybe the word democracy would better fit his implied meaning. No plan of any kind will increase all three of those factors for all Americans. That’s hard truth that there will always be some redistribution as everyone has different circumstances.
Make Mexico Pay For The Wall
On crime, how does the drugs trade benefit Mexico as a country? Logically, one can see how it might benefit corrupt officials who can take a cut and it is naïve to think that it doesn’t happen. However, the biggest victim of cross border crime is Mexico. It has a staggeringly high homicide rate and the taxman doesn’t see corporation tax from cartels. Mexico has a greater vested interest in border security stopping crime than America. Much of the cartel crime in Mexico is funded by wealthy buyers of drugs from the United States.
On poverty, how does a country export poverty? Trump summons the image of beggars being put in lorries and dropped off across the border. The pamphlets are from 2005, which the government of the time claimed were to stop people dying while attempting to cross the border and also told them never to resist arrest or lie to an official. The government that published those pamphlets aren’t even in power anymore. The hundreds of billions has no source and no timeline. It also doesn’t factor in that many illegal immigrants pay income taxes (they wouldn’t be able to get tax credits if they didn’t!). Illegal immigrants also buy goods and services in the US and therefore pay value added taxes. The net of whether illegal immigrants contribute more than they cost is what is relevant to the debate.
This is a tragic case but clearly this single anecdote was chosen for it’s brutality. The article itself states that the police chief ‘singled out California’s Assembly Bill 109 — an effort to comply with the U.S. Supreme Court’s mandate to reduce the prison populations in state prisons — and Prop 47, which makes most nonviolent drug and property crimes misdemeanours, as the reasons that Martinez was able to commit the crimes of which he’s accused’. Neither of these have anything to do with Martinez’s immigration status. Trump is distastefully using this woman’s murder for his own political purposes.
The link used for “blood trail” is from Breitbart news, famously openly discriminatory. The former chairman is also his campaign manager. Rather than go into depths of Breitbart.com’s misdemenours read this fantastic article from vox.com on the issue.
Remember that, illegal immigrants are likely to be arrested for being an illegal immigrant which is obvious and would lead to a higher arrest rate. In 2011, the FBI estimates there was 1.2 million violent crimes. If “tens of thousands” are attributable to the 11.5 million illegal immigrant population. The ambiguity means that the rate amongst illegal immigrants could be barely above that of the population as a whole.
Trump has completely falsified that the $22bn comes from illegal immigrants. The $22 billion is to Mexico in total with no breakdown between legal and illegal migrants. One would expect legal migrants to be earning more and likely to be sending the bulk of that figure. It is completely acceptable for someone to work in an other country legally and send money home to their family as Americans working across the globe can attest to. Can you imagine the outrage if an American working in Mexioo wasn’t allowed to send money home?
Again, Trump completely ignores the contribution that illegal immigrants make to society as well. It’s a completely unsubstantiated statement to compare two numbers which he does not know.
It’s worth pointing out at this stage that USA’s GDP per person is over 3 times larger than Mexico and it’s growth rate over the past 20 years is roughly the same. If Mexico is taking the United States to the cleaners, it’s not doing a very good job. Take a look at Figure 1 below, which is a comparison of USA and Mexico’s GDP over the past twenty years.
Figure 1 Source: OECD Databank
Looking at the relative financial power of Mexico and the US, forcing Mexico to pay for something the US wants comes across as bullying by the more powerful nation. Increasing fees on visas would have the exact opposite effect to what Trump wants. In effect, it penalises the law abiding citizens who go through official channels while having no effect on the would be illegal immigrants who wouldn’t be paying for visas anyway. In fact, it may encourage people who would have paid for a visa to instead cross the border illegally to circumvent the charge.
Defend The Laws And Constitution Of The United States
While Trump is strong on the second amendment, he chooses to ignore the first amendment which forbids laws to be passed on the basis of religion. His threat to ban all Muslims entering the country is in direct conflict with the constitution. One of the positions below violates the 14th amendment.
This sounds reasonable but no real justification is given for the scale. There’s no evidence that 15,000 officers is the optimal amount and the logistics of training a force that is double the size of the current one. How long would it take to get the infrastructure in place to train this many officers? Are there 10,000 people who would want this job?
E-verify is already in place in many states who are piloting the scheme. There are still teething issues where some people are mistakenly declared unable to work then struggle with the legal knowledge to appeal. It’s fair to assume that once these problems have been resolved, most presidents would bring this in nationwide.
Cancelling all visas for failure to accept a single criminal is pretty reckless and unenforceable. Would Trump really break ties with the UK or Germany for example for one criminal? If you are going to deport a criminal anyway, what is the point in charging them for an extra offence?
The policy of catch-and-release stems from the costs of adding prisoners to the already large US prison population. While it sounds reasonable to stop catch-and-release, the reality is that the funds and structure have to come from somewhere.
Sanctuary cities include Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C, Denver, Dallas, Miami and San Francisco. Needless to say, the President taking on the combined power of all of these cities would be ill-advised. It is highly unlikely that Trump would actually take on all these cities with the huge cost in popularity for trying to dictate from above.
The current consequences stop visa overstays from being accepted to programmes they would otherwise have eligibility for and prevents them from re-entering the country for several years once they leave. These are fairly weak penalties and one would expect current laws were less accommodating to visa overstays. It’s estimated 40% of undocumented workers in the US are over stayers rather than straight forward illegal border crossers. Again, there is a cost to pursue visa overstayers and a diversion of attention from other issues.
This sounds very reasonable and it is surprising that this level of cooperation isn’t already in place. In fact, over a hundred thousand convicted criminals were deported by ICE officers last year. This sounds impressive but is actually the lowest number since 2009. In the press release by ICE, they state that removals were down this year because of lack of cooperation with local and state authorities. Federal influence in mandating cooperation could help in returning back to the recent average. However, it should be noted that ICE officers aren’t as toothless as Trump implies here with even the low of 235,000 being about 5% of the estimated population of illegal immigrants.
The “biggest magnet” is hyperbole that is useful to sell tv programmes but without a source has no place in a presidential candidates official position. Trump uses a 5 year old survey, surely if public opinion was so strong his team could find a more recent source to use. As we can see from the Pew Reseach Center’s more recent 2015 survey, 60% do not want the constitution changed to end birthright citizenship. Birthright citizenship is enshrined in the 14th amendment of the US constitution. Bearing in mind Trump claims that the constitution needs to be upheld, this is a position directly in conflict with that claim.
Put American Workers First
Trump makes his position too easy to criticise by making many unbacked up bold claims. When he does use sources, they are often weak. The article he referenced as evidence for his first line is from breitbart.com again. The source for the article itself is an economic paper from Professor Gould from Hebrew University, which is ranked 148th in the world which is very respectable. However with 38 US universities ranked higher, it appears odd to use it as his main source. A quick google scholar search reveals that this paper has only been cited once. The citation count is a proxy for how respected and influential a paper is. A fair comparison is this paper, also from a foreign university and released in 2015. It has 19 citations and the university is ranked 46th in the world.
Why is Trump comparing 1960’s black unemployment without a high school diploma to 2000? What relevance does that have to policy in 2016? The statistic is irrelevant because in the 1960s high school dropout rates were much higher and it wasn’t seen as a hindrance to getting a job. In the modern day, most people finish high school thus the ones who don’t are much less desirable to many employers.
“Collapsing” is a rather dramatic way to describe a decrease from the all time high of 67% to 62% over the space of two decades. While some of that will be people giving up home of working, a large chunk will be from the baby boomer generation retiring. When one looks at the participation rate of those aged 25-54, the decrease is much less substantial from 84.1% to 81%.
The research linked to in this paragraph is much more analytical than elsewhere in Trump’s position. However, the threshold for poverty is not defined which is pretty vital in order to judge the validity of the claim. The US GDP per Capita adjusted for purchase power is more than treble the Mexican. Living in poverty in the US may be relative riches for some of these families.
The net migration rate, which is the number of migrants per 1000 of incumbent population is 3.86 in the United States. This is 40th in the world behind many other western countries. The migration rate is much more ordinary than is hinted at here. Australia, which has a reputation of being tough on immigration has a rate 50% higher than the US.
I don’t think any country has purposely given a visa to someone they knew was plotting a terrorist attack. What president wouldn’t do this?
Many people who do STEM degrees simply choose not to go into a STEM career. There is no evidence that the STEM graduates would have wanted entry-level IT jobs. Not all of those with STEM degrees who wanted IT jobs would have been competent enough to do the job. Trump has combined two irrelevant statistics here to suggest causation. Trump cites no source to suggest that there is an abundance of qualified workers who want these jobs thus stopping immigrants from fulfilling the role doesn’t mean a capable american will take it instead. The link that is provided as proof that women, african-americans and Hispanic people have been discriminated against makes no mention of any of the groups.
If we assume most H-1B visas are given to ethnic minorities, this simply does not add up. The previously 100% ethnic minority jobs will now be spread amongst white americans too. If the companies mainly hire foreign men, what will make them change to hiring domestic women?
92 million americans outside the workforce is a complete red herring. Figure 2 is a fantastic chart the from the Wall Street Journal which demonstrates why. The effect Trump mentions if successful would have little effect on any group except those in the ‘Want a job, but not in labour force’ group, who are far less than 10% of Americans outside the workforce.
The link to incomes collapsing is from Forbes.com and it doesn’t mention “visas” or “immigration” once. The article claims incomes are lower because Americans are working less, which is pretty irrelevant to the point Trump is using the article for.
Figure 2: Out of the Labor Force Source: Labor Department via Atlanta Fed/ WSJ.com
This makes sense although obviously it can be easily circumvented by transferring money between people’s accounts.
I do not think that US corporations would be pleased for the program they signed up for to be changed. The idea behind the J-1 visa program is to foster goodwill with other countries and encourage trade.
While not to diminish the plight of some American children, how exactly would one increase the standards for admission? Your parents were murdered but you still have a grandfather so you don’t meet our standards sorry.
There is no mention of precisely how more money would allow American orphans to be placed in safer homes. What would this money actually be used for? Subsidies to adoptive parents perhaps? No one knows. The Oxford Dictionary defines refugee as “A person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster”. Therefore by definition America can’t have a program for American refugees.
Participation rate and unemployment rate are two completely different things. Women who aren’t participating in the workforce aren’t actively looking for jobs, how would this pause make them change their minds?
If an employer wants to hire from abroad, they can just say none of the domestic pool met the standards they need. Will employers be forced to hire someone below the standard they want?