The last two years have seen phenomenal progress by President Trump on many fronts — taxes, jobs, tariffs, foreign policy to name a few. But there has been one area where he has been stymied — immigration, his signature issue. There are signs that the president is now moving vigorously toward solving that problem too, which could have huge significance in his war against the left. I write about the importance of that post-Mueller policy initiative in my new column today at Real Clear Politics. It is printed in full here, but check out the comments at RCP.
Border Brawl: Kobach & Trump vs. Cloward & Piven
It appears that the conclusion of the Russia hoax has emboldened President Trump to fulfill his campaign promise to repair the broken immigration system.
The president dismissed Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on April 7, two weeks after Special Counsel Robert Mueller submitted his election interference report to Attorney General William Barr. On April 1, it was also reported that Trump was considering appointing an immigration czar who could work full time on solving the border crisis, which Trump had already declared to be a national emergency.
Democrats no doubt think that the president is simply launching chaff into the infosphere to distract Americans from the stupendously (or is that “stupidly”?) important political hit job hereinafter known as the Mueller Report. But Democrats (and their media overlords) have underestimated President Trump since well before he descended the golden escalator like Zeus on his chariot, so we are certainly justified in surmising that the president is more interested in history than hysteria.
With that in mind, I want to take account of two changes in the immigration system — one actual and one potential — that could signal we are close to turning the corner and fighting illegal immigration with policy changes that can work with or without a physical wall on the border.
First of all, the attorney general overturned a 2005 ruling earlier this month, which means asylum seekers who show they have a “credible fear” of being returned to their home country will no longer be eligible for release on bond. Instead, those migrants will have to remain in detention while their cases are pending instead of being beneficiaries of the previous “catch and release” policy.
According to Politico, “the decision does not apply to migrants who seek asylum at ports of entry. They may be granted ‘parole’ into the U.S. and are not eligible for bond hearings.”
That brings us to the second potential change in U.S. policy, which would occur if the Trump administration shuts down the “immigration parole” loophole that allows asylum seekers to qualify for work and welfare benefits on a hurry-up basis. It may or may not be a coincidence that in the week before Barr made his ruling on bail for asylum seekers, Kris Kobach was promoting several changes in U.S. immigration policy that would deter migrants instead of rewarding them. Prominent among these proposals was curtailing immigration parole.
Kobach, the former secretary of state for Kansas, is reportedly in the running to be the new secretary of Homeland Security or more likely the first-ever immigration czar. According to Trump critic Ann Coulter, Kobach is the only person in America who can solve the immigration crisis. Much as I dislike Coulter’s screechy persona, she may be right.
In an April 12 appearance on “Lou Dobbs Tonight” on Fox Business, Kobach made a compelling argument that the Department of Homeland Security has been operating more like a branch of the Deep State Swamp than as the agency tasked with protecting our borders.
In particular, Kobach told Dobbs that a carry-over policy from the Obama administration could be working as a magnet to attract migrants who want to take advantage of generous U.S. welfare policies.
“The crisis is not getting better. It’s getting worse right now, and it appears that what’s happening is there is an old Obama administration policy that is causing all kinds of problems. The policy is giving what’s called immigration parole to people who come into the United States illegally before releasing them. And what that means is once you give them this special status — an immigration parole — then they’re eligible for a work permit and they’re eligible for welfare benefits earlier than they would be otherwise.”
As Kobach told Dobbs, “Now we’re seeing the consequences, which is were getting this huge magnet, and the word is getting out. … We’re hearing reports from the migrants themselves that they are coming in expecting to get welfare benefits, food cards as we refer to them, and they are expecting to get employment authorization.”
With parole, these illegal immigrants would be able to qualify for welfare benefits within a year. Without parole, they couldn’t get work permits or welfare benefits until they got asylum, a process that could take years, especially with the current crush of illegal border crossers.
“The date they are being given for their asylum hearings … it’s not one year, it’s not six months, it’s five to six years down the road, so we’re turning them loose saying, ‘Come back in six years,’” Kobach said. “That’s not how we should be doing this. We should be having these people [getting hearings] while they are still there and process their asylum claim right there” at the border.
The fact that the American Civil Liberties Union and other immigration rights groups are pushing back against Kobach and Barr gives away the game: These left-wing advocates for unlimited immigration are following a decades-old game plan to overwhelm the federal government’s welfare system and thus force a re-invention of America as a socialist society (think Green New Deal).
The plan is best represented by a 1966 article in The Nation magazine titled “The Weight of the Poor: A Strategy to End Poverty.” Written by the husband and wife team of Frances Fox Piven and Richard Cloward, the article proposed a method to force income redistribution in the United States by means of creating a political crisis that would leave the government with no alternative other than surrendering to economic blackmail.
Essentially, Cloward and Piven said that American society’s urge to take care of its most vulnerable members could be used by an “organized” welfare class to leverage a “guaranteed annual income and thus an end to poverty.”
The method of this revolution (or transformation) would be through bringing more and more people onto the rolls of the welfare state, thus redistributing wealth from the rich to the poor and eventually collapsing the system so that something “better” could take its place. The more people who were getting financial assistance from the government, the more power those people would have as a group, in order to force even larger benefits.
Almost all social policy innovations since the 1960s have been incremental steps in the Cloward-Piven plan to bankrupt America by creating “entitlements” that a fair and just tax system could never support. Eventually when the government could no longer meet its payments, the poor would rise up and demand change, whether through violence or the vote, in what Cloward and Piven described as “a profound financial and political crisis.”
It is easy to see how the organized influx of illegal immigrants through caravans is an overt attempt to overwhelm the U.S. safety net and force massive changes in social policy, including the long-desired “universal basic income.”
It is also easy to see that President Trump is gearing up for a full-scale counterattack that will likely be the centerpiece of his re-election effort. In addition to the policy change announced by Barr, Trump last week ordered a crackdown on “visa overstays,” which traditionally have accounted for even more illegal immigrants than the border crossers. The week before, his administration signaled that new rules are coming soon to ensure that federal housing assistance goes only to citizens and legal residents. At a time when homelessness is surging to crisis levels in many U.S. cities, this will help to steer limited resources to those who need them most — low-income Americans.
This is a strong start, but if President Trump pulls the trigger and appoints Kobach as his immigration czar, then Cloward and Piven may have met their match. Next on the agenda: changes in regulations so that U.S. immigration authorities are no longer forced to release illegal immigrants into the general population. It can be done without Congress, and it will give the president just the issue he needs to get re-elected.
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