Opposing political views weigh in on the potential immigration plan

(Graphic by Jacqueline Lin | The DePaulia)

As a conservative, Donald Trump was not my first choice for President. Nor my second. Nor my third. In fact, Trump was probably last on my nominee wishlist. He has little legitimate policy knowledge, he is not conservative in almost any sense and I have zero faith in him actually going forward with almost anything he has proposed.

However, his focus on immigration has caught my eye. While much of the debate around Trump’s immigration stance has been one or both sides yelling at each other, Trump has given new life to a lost component of U.S. immigration policy.

Of course, Trump has not been consistent on the issue. Quite frankly, he has taken every single position on every single aspect of it. But his most recent, more specific policy outline, a 10-point plan, has drawn both high praise and significant criticism.

Daniel Morales, associate professor in DePaul’s College of Law, believes Trump and others have mischaracterized the immigration debate.

“Instead of discussing immigration in a fair-minded way, immigrants are being used as scapegoats by Donald Trump and other Republican candidates,” Morales said. “They are blamed for a variety of ills that have nothing to do with immigrants.”

Students have also weighed in. Robert Beattie, a senior, likes Trump’s stance. “Cracking down on illegal immigration and banning immigration from at-risk nations are the only ways to ensure the safety of U.S. citizens,” Beattie said.

While I won’t defend Trump’s association with the alt-right or his generally erratic behavior, when his policy proposals are legitimate, they deserve a fair hearing.

The entire thesis of Trump’s plan, the central theme from which everything flows, is point 10: “We will reform legal immigration to serve the best interests of America and its workers.”

That’s the key. Immigration must serve the best interests of America. Not the best interests of the prospective immigrants, not the best interests of corporate America, but the best interests of the American populace as a whole. Trump is tapping into a lost idea.

Before 1965, the United States’ immigration system followed this principle. Our immigration system was focused on merit; what the likelihood was any given person would be a net plus citizen.

But with the passing of the Hart-Celler Act in 1965, a law that changed our immigration system from one largely based on merit to one based on chain migration, a continuous tsunami of poorer, less-educated and less-skilled immigrants have entered the country, leading to a large number of them living off at least some sort of welfare.

According to the Center for Immigration Studies, using the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Income and Program Participation, in 2012, 51 percent of households headed by an immigrant (legal or illegal) reported that they used at least one welfare program during the year, compared to 30 percent of native households.  Among households headed by immigrants who have been in the country for more than two decades, 48 percent still access some welfare.

Additionally, the system has led to far more lax vetting of incoming immigrants, putting national security at risk. For instance, the San Bernardino shooters entered the U.S. through this system. According to FBI Director James Comey, eventual shooters Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik were planning a mass murder even before Malik received the K-1 visa admitting her to the United States.

Despite the stark problems with this style of immigration, the issue has gotten little to no attention. Democrats generally prefer far more open borders, while establishment Republicans and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce enjoy the cheap labor that comes with those policies. Trump, however, has renewed the spotlight on this previously neglected aspect of the issue.

Michael Miller, an associate professor of economics at DePaul’s College of Business, buys into this new focus.

“It is common practice in immigration policy across the world to limit entrants to those who will not become a public charge and who will add to society,” Miller said. “This often has meant that countries choose based on merit and skill. Canada, for example, focuses on choosing immigrants who will add positively to the human capital of the country.  This is done through a policy that highlights youth, high levels of education and bilingualism.”

In his immigration speech, Trump called for a return “to select(ing) immigrants based on their likelihood of success in U.S. society, and their ability to be financially self-sufficient(…)To choose immigrants based on merit, skill and proficiency.”

Since the Hart-Celler Act, the American immigration system has failed to ask the single most important question when it comes to this issue: How will this immigrant benefit the American civil society?

Trump has begun to ask that question. Once immigration and government officials start asking that question as well, our immigration system will be back on track.

By John Minster

From the beginning of his campaign, Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump  has given a false impression of immigrants living in the United States. “Rapists” and “criminals” being among his favorite words to classify the roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States, according to Politifact.

His adverse speech has caused a misrepresentation of a demographic in the United States that, for various reasons, decided to leave their home country either in Central America or elsewhere in the world and migrate to a country that proposed to offer a better life.

There is a large disconnect and misunderstanding between immigrants, both undocumented and documented, and American citizens in the United States. Different struggles, contrasting upbringings and misconceptions about each other have risen to a boiling point and spilled out during this campaign.

Due to Trump’s campaign, immigration has moved to the forefront of this election. It almost seems that “Making America Great Again” would mean wiping out every undocumented person living in the U.S.

In Arizona, Trump presented his 10-point plan with a focus on reshaping the current immigration laws to not benefit current immigrants in the United States, but rather the American people. While this means well, it puts immigrants at serious risk of losing the lives they have established.

Point five that aims to cancel President Obama’s executive actions on immigration is most applicable to affecting young immigrant lives. Point five is most controversial to college students since Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, otherwise known as DACA has allowed more than 500,000 young people brought to the U.S. at a young age to become temporarily legal.

Eliminating DACA completely  would severely impact young students from pursuing a higher education in the United States.

Sophomore Rosita Palma, a student who was able to attend DePaul with DACA’s support two years ago, reflected on that possibility.

“I have to figure out if I can continue my education and major,” said Palma. “My second thought is my family and what I can do to protect them. It’s a lot of confusion and anger.”

Trump’s seventh point would require nations to take back undocumented residents from the United States. Trump did not address his action plan for this point.

A mass deportation of 11 million people is a cowardly move. Taking 11 million people who originally emigrated from their home country would mean separating them from their families and dumping them into a land that has become foreign to them. That  is morally unwarranted.

Needless to say, Trump’s proposed 10-point plan on immigration did not fall well with Latino voters, either. According to the Pew Research Center’s U.S. Politics and Policy, only 24 percent of Hispanic voters support Trump, while 66 percent of voters support Clinton.

Now more than ever, Latinos need to vote in this upcoming election; not only Latinos, but family members with immigrant ties need to go to the polling booths and vote. This is a call to action.

“In this election, you are voting for the lesser of two evils,” said Palma. “Being an undocumented student, it would be an amazing thing to vote. I have been here since I was 5 years old and this is the only country and culture I know. Vote for me.”

By Yazmin Dominguez