Since Donald Trump made his now notorious immigration comments during his announcement speech last month, several writers here at The Pulse, including myself, have been quite open in our criticism of his rhetoric. As I pointed out last week, Trump’s generalizations of illegal immigrants have been wrongheaded and offensive, and his proposals to address the issue of border security have been overly simplistic and largely unworkable.
I expected to hear much of the same from Trump’s speech Saturday in Phoenix and for the most part was correct in that assumption. However, I was taken aback by one particular line from his remarks which seemed out of place as compared to the rest of his recent immigration talk:
Trump also said that he supports legal immigrants. “They flow in like water, and I love legal immigration. I love it,” he said. “We should make it easier, and faster.”
Welcome to the club, Mr. Trump! While nearly all of the Republican candidates have lectured us on the serious problem of illegal immigration and the legitimate need for improved border security, very few have connected these issues to legal immigration.
In fact, however, increasing the opportunities for legal immigration through, for example, a dynamic guest worker program would be an absolute necessity in solving our current border crisis. APIA’s Alfonso Aguilar, a frequent contributor to The Pulse, explained why in his 5 point immigration plan:
A great number of U.S. businesses cannot find American workers for certain types of jobs, usually in the extreme poles of the labor market: high-tech jobs that require advanced degrees, on one end, and labor-intensive manual jobs on the other. Americans are simply not going for these jobs or in many cases there are no Americans of working age to do them. Either way, filling these jobs is vital for companies to grow and create good paying jobs for working Americans.
Yet, despite this demand, we do not have enough work visas to bring in the foreign professionals and workers we need, and the guest worker programs currently in existence are so over-regulated and costly that employers simply do not use them. This is the reason why unskilled migrant workers come to the U.S. illegally. They do not have a legal route to enter legally, while they are pulled here by the magnetic forces of the U.S. economy and labor market.
Given Donald Trump’s apparently ardent love for legal immigration, would he support an improved guest worker program as part of a larger immigration plan? If so, perhaps he should take his own advice and, instead of focusing on the negative acts of a few violent criminals, promote the positive benefits so many immigrants bring to the United States and put forth practical proposals for real immigration reform.
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Now that would really make some heads turn.
Paul Dupont is a legislative assistant for American Principles in Action.