Daily Dispatch 1/17/2020: Authorized immigration continues to decline, Miller is still around

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Daily Dispatch

January 17, 2020

Something discussed much here on the Dispatch is that increasingly the targets of Trump’s immigration war are people seeking legal avenues for entry into the United States. Seeking asylum is legal. Refugee resettlement is legal. Seeking a visa for a family member is legal. What Trump has offered to grapple with unauthorized immigration is a wall, a zero tolerance policy of prosecuting everyone crossing between points of entry (leading to the child separation crisis of 2018), and expanded workplace raids that thus far do not prosecute the business owners. This second set of policies are in the realm of deterrence, and they don’t work very well - never have - in lowering migration. Attacking legal, authorized avenues for immigration, however, has proven effective... precisely because people are following the rules. So refugee resettlement has fallen from 110,000 to 18,000, asylum claims are being denied at a higher rate, and increasingly, not even allowed to be made. Getting a visa for a family member, harder than ever. 

And so, it is no surprise that between 2016 and 2018 authorized migration has fallen off steeply. From the :

Legal immigration to the United States declined by 86,894, or 7.3%, between FY 2016 and FY 2018, according to an analysis of recently released Department of Homeland Security (DHS) data. The DHS data show a larger decline in legal immigration in FY 2018 if refugees who physically arrived in the United States more than a year earlier are excluded from comparisons between FY 2016 and FY 2018. Excluding refugees means 122,412 fewer legal immigrants became lawful permanent residents in FY 2018 than in FY 2016, a decline of 11.5%, based on a National Foundation for American Policy analysis. 

A big part of the reason for this is in the area of family visa requests from U.S. Citizens:

Most of the decline can be traced to lower admissions in the Immediate Relatives of U.S. Citizens category, which includes the spouses, children and parents of Americans, the analysis concludes. Contributing to the lower numbers are processing delays and policy changes that could prevent an individual from obtaining permanent residence, such as a March 6, 2017, presidential directive on “heightened screening and vetting.” If allowed by the courts, administration policies requiring immigrants to possess health insurance and a “public charge” rule could significantly reduce future levels of legal immigration.

The health insurance requirement alone could block hundreds of thousands more immigrants from obtaining visas. The mandate “that new immigrants be denied entry to the United States unless they prove they can obtain eligible health insurance within 30 days of arrival or will have sufficient resources to pay for foreseeable medical costs.” The order, as we discussed when issued, is based on some serious logical missteps, essentially blaming uninsured immigrants for increasing insurance and other costs from unpaid emergency room visits. Which is basically, a lie. However, if implemented, it could block up to for permanent residency. 

Considering the impact of all of these policies, and their targets, e.g. not the elusive “criminal alien” but people seeking authorized avenues to migrate to the United States, it is worth mentioning again that Trump’s principal policy guru on immigration is a confirmed white nationalist, heavily invested in the “great replacement” theory, and all of the crappy policy ideas that come from it. Yes, Stephen Miller is still around - amazing in an administration that loses lead staff and department heads faster than they can be replaced.

This week more emails were delivered to/released by the Southern Poverty Law Center documenting the roots of Miller’s policy proposals in a theory of white replacement - the idea that white people are being replaced by immigrants from non-white countries (shit-hole countries in Trump-speak). This weeks focus on Miller’s opposition to extending Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA):

“Demanding DREAMers be given citizenship because they ‘know no other home.’ That principle is an endorsement of perpetual birthright citizenship for the foreign-born,” Miller wrote in the email, using a term to describe DACA recipients. “Not only will the U.S.-born children of future illegal immigrants and guest workers be made automatic U.S. citizens, but their foreign-born children will too because, as [former Republican House Majority Leader Eric] Cantor said, ‘Our country was founded on the principle.’”

Miller added in the same thread: “Jeb [Bush] has mastered the art of using immigration rhetoric to sound ‘moderate’ while pushing the most extremist policies.” In a follow-up email, Miller referred to Bush’s desire to use “immigration to replace existing demographics.”

That Miller’s policies have a racist impact is clear. I guess it helps to know that he really means it. In any event, no one in the GOP seems to care. Mostly, I’d guess, cuz they agree. At least they believe it makes “good” politics. We can only hope they are proven wrong.