Trump's 2019 immigration plan would harm the U.S. and everyone else

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Donald Trump has released the outlines of a new immigration plan [1]. He pushes skilled immigration despite the huge downsides to the U.S. and other countries. He's tasking Lindsey Graham (aka "Grahamnesty" because he's a big amnesty fan) and Steve Scalise to come up with the specifics so it will almost assuredly have an amnesty component.

And, needless to say, Trump misleads repeatedly.

The first way Trump misleads is, if your goal is to reduce illegal immigration, the worst. He says "Democrats are proposing open borders, lower wages, and, frankly, lawless chaos". "Open borders" means anyone could come here at any time, and no Democratic politician (or even almost all Americans) support such a thing. Lying like that flies with Trump's base because they don't oppose lying. Trump's lie is toxic because it lets Dems launch into a speech about their border security plans. To prevent that, all Trump would have to do is use "loose borders" instead. If he just changed one word, he wouldn't help the Dems so much. By lying, Trump makes his base feel better, but he's actually hurting them because he's giving the Dems a foothold.

Another way Trump misleads in that quote is that his plan would lower wages too, he'd just somewhat shift the groups affected from lower-skilled workers to higher-skilled workers. Yet another way is that his plan - after Lindsey Graham and other GOP leaders work their magic - will assuredly include amnesty and that will increase the numbers of people trying to come here illegally to take part in Trump's amnesty (such as by faking documents) or in future amnesties. Unless we've got a "wall" all along the southern border, that will lead to "frankly, lawless chaos".

Yet another way Trump misleads is with these claims: "our proposal creates a permanent and self-sustaining border security trust fund" and "we’re already building the wall, and we should have close to 400 miles built by the end of next year, and probably even more than that. It’s going up very rapidly." Anyone who's been following along knows that Congress strongly support at least mass immigration, due to donations from Big Biz, a quest for ethnic power, or both. So, expect the "trust fund" to not be funded, to be used in ways that don't impact the flow of cheap labor, or to be diverted in whole or part. And, whatever of the "wall" Trump builds will be neglected or just torn down as soon as Trump's out of office. Few if any in Trump's base have thought ahead to when Trump's out of office and his opponents tear down his Potemkin villages.

The heart of Trump's plans (and the main way he deceives) is skilled immigration; compare the huge downsides at the link in the first paragraph above to what Trump says [2]. He says his merit-based immigration is "pro-American, pro-immigrant, and pro-worker". It would certainly help (or at least enable) some immigrants, but it would harm American workers and that's not "pro-American". It would also greatly harm foreign countries as we braindrain them by taking the people they need.

Trump's base won't understand the harm in braindraining foreign countries, both because few of them care about foreign countries and because they're incapable of thinking ahead. For everyone else, imagine how much trouble we'd be in if our best potential doctors went to college in foreign countries and never came back. That's exactly what Trump would inflict on other countries. That would end up harming the U.S. as the countries we've braindrained fall prey to criminal and terrorist organizations and corrupt politicians, suffer disease outbreaks, and on and on.

There's also this from the introduction where he says he's there to "unveil our plan to create a fair, modern, and lawful system of immigration for the United States". That sounds suspiciously close the the safe legal orderly shibboleth used by George W Bush, Barack Obama, foreign leaders, and others.

The smart, sane, patriotic, big tent and lasting way to reduce illegal immigration is by making smart arguments that undercut those who enable it. A phony like Trump isn't going to do that (have you seen him ever call out his opponents on immigration in ways that don't just help them with their base?) even if he could understand it.

(Note: the banner image is Eduardo Saverin, the poster child for Trump's plan.)

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[1] whitehouse · gov/briefings-statements/remarks-president-trump-modernizing-immigration-system-stronger-america