Wednesday, February 27, 2019

President Trump's Political Miscalculation? Missing from Trump’s wall war: What immigration hawks really want

Nancy Cook and Gabby Orr on Politico critically look at how President Trump's focus on "the wall" is not what supporters of immigration restrictions really want:

"President Donald Trump sees his border wall crusade as a base-pleasing 2020 campaign asset, proof that he is the ultimate immigration hardliner.

But his wall may not be built for years, if ever. In the meantime, Trump has yet to deliver on several other campaign promises that immigration hawks call far more important — a failure that could cost him among conservatives demanding results on border security going into Trump’s reelection bid.

Over two years in the White House, Trump has struggled to execute numerous agenda items long on immigration hardliners’ wish list — like finalizing stricter regulations, overhauling the immigration court system, adding additional surveillance technology to the border, doing away with sanctuary cities and making sure employers electronically check the immigration status of all workers.

Instead, Trump has picked high-profile battles over a southern border wall and banning travelers from certain Muslim-majority countries that generated controversy and whipped up parts of his base, but did not do much to stem the flow of illegal immigrants. In fact, the number of illegal crossings at the southern border rose this past fall to levels not seen since 2014 under President Barack Obama, although they still remain low relative to historic numbers. “

The focus on the wall is a bit myopic,” said RJ Hauman, director of government relations at [the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)], a group that seeks to reduce immigration overall. “They are right to pursue fencing in some areas, but we need to remember: It is just one little cog in a much broader approach. Sometimes the wall can suck all of the air out of the room.”


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