Wednesday, February 12, 2020

President Trump is Fulfilling His Pledge to Build Fortress America — and Running On It.

Tom Brenner/Reuters
As he rallies support for his reelection in November, President Trump is closer than ever to delivering on his promise for a United States with taller walls, tighter immigration laws and fewer foreigners entering the country.
During the past three years, the president has hardened the nation’s immigration system into an obstacle course of physical and bureaucratic barriers, causing illegal border crossings to plummet and legal immigration to slump.
The number of refugee admissions to the United States fell to the lowest level on record last year, and this year the administration set the refu­gee cap even lower, reserving just 18,000 spots for people who are fleeing persecution across the globe. The Trump administration also is blocking asylum seekers at the U.S. southern border and flying them instead to Guatemala or sending them back into Mexico.
Other visitors are being turned back or staying away entirely: foreign students and tourists are coming in fewer numbers, according to the latest State Department data, and green cards issued abroad since 2016 have dropped 25 percent.
“It’s no secret that the administration is consciously trying to close America to immigrants,” Lucas Guttentag, an immigration law professor at Stanford Law School, said in an email. “Trump policies and practices have attacked virtually every facet of the immigration system: effectively dismantling asylum protections at our southern border, imposing wealth restrictions on immigrants who are spouses and family members of citizens, burdening businesses that legitimately depend on skilled immigrant workers and threatening mass deportations regardless of how long or deep a person’s ties to country and community are.”
As the president continues to fulfill his promise to build hundreds of miles of steel border barriers, critics say he is retreating from former president Ronald Reagan’s vision of America as a welcoming “city upon a hill” whose doors should be “open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here.”
Mary Altaffer/AP
In the president’s view, the city on the hill was too permissive and vulnerable; welcoming foreigners opens the doors to an existential threat. Trump promised his supporters to wall it off, and he has stuck to that vision. His “Make America Great Again” message conjured a time before the rapid economic and demographic changes of globalization. He is leaning heavily on that message again to win in November, depicting Democrats as radical extremists who want “open borders” and those who encourage sanctuary for immigrants as enabling violence and murder.
“Border control is necessary to save our citizens’ schools, hospitals, jobs and very lives — and to keep criminals out of our communities,” said White House deputy spokesman Hogan Gidley. “President Trump’s policies are restoring the rule of law, saving lives and raising wages for African American and Hispanic American workers who have been completely forgotten and betrayed by the Democratic Party.”
Read the rest from WAPO HERE.

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