“Is President Trump for Real Immigration Reform?”
President Donald J. Trump apparently does not want to solve the immigration fiasco we live with. The last real and sincere effort to reform immigration was killed by Senate Democrat Majority Leader Harry Reid with full compliance by then newly elected Illinois Senator Barack Obama. That immigration reform was sponsored by President George W. Bush in 2006-7.
If President Trump is serious and really wants a decent immigration system, he will immediately set aside a weekend at Camp David in Maryland and invite the congressional leadership of both parties, including committee chairs, relevant cabinet members with their Chiefs of Staff, generals and admirals of the military branches and top intelligence officials.
Attendance would be mandatory, and the attendees would be required to bring all suggestions they have for immigration reform and any documentary evidence that supports their ideas and suggestions.
He would tell the assemblage he wants a consensus bill by the end of the meeting, a new immigration law. That they would meet until the bill was drafted and no one could leave until the bill was signed off by a majority. He would then tell them that he would schedule a national television speech from the White House in prime time and that each of their names would be listed as supporters of the bill. He would endorse the bill during the speech. He would expect that both Houses of Congress would take up the bills in regular order but be limited to 30 or 45 days from start to final vote. Maybe 60 days would be the maximum limit.
The President would enthusiastically support the consensus bill he demanded at his emergency immigration conference in the television address as did George W. Bush did in 2006. Trump would swear that he will not change his mind. He would ask for support from his specific political base as he would ask of all other elements of the American polity.
“We must get this done,” would be the vigorously manifested in the speech and in letters to Congress.
What might this bill contain that the President could support?
1. A ten percent increase in Border Patrol and ICE agents to staff border and interior enforcement.
2. Rebuilding of present border fencing with a reasonable budget.
3. Design and construction of new border fencing to be specified with funds allocated for, by Congress.
4. A new streamlined work visa for specific work areas in agriculture, construction, hospitality, high-tech & STEM (Science, tech, math and engineering) endeavors; it would be employer-based and have simple requirements and mandates for pay, employer application, for employer benefits and be for specific periods of time, with border ingress and egress good during the time-period of the renewable visa.
5. Mandatory E-Verify (legal ability to work in the U.S.) for all employees, including those already working. The system would be designed and implemented under contract with immediate appeals in federal court to rectify any mistakes. Private sector companies, such as credit card companies, would administer the national program. As jobs are the primary reason people come to the U.S. illegally, the problem would be mostly solved.
6. To satisfy the President, the bill would limit immigration somewhat to a figure all could agree with; family reunification could be limited to parents, children and siblings; immigration could then shift to merit qualifications and, perhaps age.
7. Today’s five-year requirement for citizenship application could be lengthened to ten years and allow “Dreamers”(eligible young people brought to the U.S. illegally when they were children with a cutoff year) to apply after the ten years of legalized presence for the 1.8 million “Dreamers” the President has said he would like to see be permanently legalized.
All the trading and negotiating needed to arrive at this consensus bill would be done at Camp David and the President would commit to supporting the bill no matter if some of his demands weren’t satisfied. Ditto the desires of partisan congress people of either party.
If, the President is truly committed to immigration reform, considering he calls our present immigration laws the “worst” in the world, he needs to call this conference and to lock the conference up until it produces a bill and he must pledge to support the bill, period.
Then, and only then, can he rightfully claim to be the President of al the United States without a large majority of Americans laughing-out-loud.