There’s news of a new immigration policy being pushed by the Trump administration. First off, I’ve found it hard to actually see just what the policy is. Here is a link to the release from the Whitehouse’s official site. Major news sites are, predictably, filled with editorials and opinion pieces when not shrouded by a paywall or request to remove adblockers (looking at you, WaPo and NYT).

Here are my takes from the transcription:

Everyone agrees that the physical infrastructure on the border and the ports of entry is gravely underfunded and woefully inadequate. We scan only a small fraction of the vehicles, goods, and all of the other things coming across, including people. And, sadly, the drugs pour across our border. We’re going to stop it.

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Yes. Our ports and borders are poorly enforced. It’s kind of hard to argue against more strict searching at official ports of entry- the keystone of the Opioid Epidemic that is currently destroying our nation, my region specifically, is the poor quality of searches at various ports. That is where the drugs are crossing in greatest numbers. As I understand it, a much smaller portion is entering the country by way of illegal border crossings. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

Next up, The Wall. I still don’t see its necessity. A fifty foot wall just means fifty foot ladders. In my opinion, a more appropriate (and less ecologically damaging, since animal are stateless) mode of control is greater implementation of autonomous patrols (drones, etc) and better funding and enforcement by LEOs who are neither military nor militia. I don’t think that sending military to the border was/is a wise decision, and it sets a dangerous precedent. I don’t think that the implicit support Trump has given for independent militias is wise either, in a similar vein to Trump taking his sweet time to denounce support from various white supremacist organizations.

Trump goes on to highlight failings of our current legal framework. I do not find fault in his assessment of its failings, which incentivize smuggling of women and children. These are well-researched phenomena. Children who are brought here and separated from parents who have been repatriated should be returned to their parents- how that can be done effectively remains to be seen. There’s a fair critique of the asylum system as well- asylum seekers, where claims are legitimate ought to be allowed to seek asylum. Trump does not discuss at length what exactly is or is not a valid claim. Grounds for seeking asylum should be publicly known and debated.

Legal immigrants with active ties to criminal organizations should, in my opinion, be deported or not allowed to enter if seeking entry. I don’t think this is a controversial idea.

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Now, the biggest part of the proposal- Merit-Based Immigration. The random nature of approval as it stands doesn’t make much sense to me. Per my understanding, immigration was historically merit-based in America (ie, you would be denied at Ellis Island if you were not fit to work). I don’t see why this should not remain the case. Unskilled laborers are already in surplus, immigrant or natural citizen. Immigration officials should be allowed to give preference to candidates who will more easily integrate with the workforce, particularly in industries where there is a pressing need for skilled workers. This is reasonable. 

The main critiques I’ve seen of these ideas is that is does not speak to existing programs, such as DACA. This is also a valid and reasonable complaint. People who are here under existing programs should not be harmed by a retroactive change. There should be a more clear path to citizenship for people in these and similar programs.

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Pagani for your time.

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Anybody else have armchair analysis?