President Trump needs a little help from his friends in Congress, or at least the Republicans who should be his allies. And while the president is waiting for wavering Republicans to give him a hand, he could help himself out by picking off some of the low-hanging fruit that would convert his immigration campaign promises into realities.
Two sound immigration bills are languishing in Congress, one in the House and one in the Senate. If passed, they would go a long way to fulfill pledges candidate Trump made on the stump, and to restore confidence in his embattled administration.
In the House, U.S. Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX) introduced the Criminal Alien Deportation Enforcement Act which would force foreign nations to take back their criminal aliens. In short, unless the roughly 23 countries that refuse to repatriate their citizens, foreign aid and diplomatic and tourist visas would be cut off to those countries. Since 2013, 86,000 criminal aliens have been released back into unsuspecting communities. They then went on to commit 231,000 felonies that included murder, sexual assault, kidnapping and drug trafficking.
Any reasonable person on either side of the aisle understands that the United States shouldn’t shelter violent, convicted felons and thereby expose Americans to harm. Inexplicably, even though the GOP controls the House with 241 Republican seats, Rep. Babin’s bill has only 50 cosponsors.
The Senate’s failures to get behind President Trump are more abysmal than the House’s. Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Perdue (R-GA) introduced the RAISE Act (Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment) which would reduce legal immigration from the current one million annually to 500,000.
The proposed legislation also would eliminate the unnecessary diversity visa, and revise family reunification guidelines to limit the immigration chain to nuclear family members. Legal immigrants receive employment authorization documents, so fewer work permits means a tighter labor market, and higher wages for working Americans. Despite its benefits and a Senate majority, a federal tracking website that monitors legislative progress gives the RAISE Act a mere one percent chance to become law.
While Congress dawdles, President Trump must act more forcefully on his immigration-related campaign promises. Instead, President Trump has decided without rhyme or reason to indefinitely extend President Obama’s deferred action for childhood arrivals amnesty, commonly referred to as DACA. Although as a candidate Trump promised to immediately end DACA, since his inauguration more than 100,000 aliens have received new work authorization permits or renewals along with protection from deportation. By continuing with DACA, President Trump has gone back on his promise to restore an immigration system that benefits U.S. workers and reneged on his pledge to hire American.
President Trump doesn’t need his indifferent Congress to make DACA go away. In a three-sentence memo to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the president could order the agency, which administers DACA, to stop accepting new applications, and to end renewals.
During these chaotic days on Capitol Hill where the objective among Democrats and some Republicans is to stop President Trump at all costs, he needs to fight back. Americans are with President Trump on deporting violent aliens, lower immigration totals, and ending visas that hurt American workers. Now isn’t the time for President Trump to go weak-kneed. Lean on Congress to pass good bills, and act independently to eliminate DACA.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.