New Immigration Proposal is All Politics and Bad Policy

New Orleans    There used to be a saying about putting a new proposal in the circular file, meaning of course the trash basket in an office.  The White House equivalent of the circular basket seems to be to assign something to Trump advisor and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.  Once he gets his hands on a policy proposal, the country has nothing to fear but the worse itself.

This time it’s immigration.  The President went to the Rose Garden to present the plan, and it landed like a big shovel of manure on the flower beds.

No “huddled masses” were in this proposal.  Trump said the plan was developed by “our law-enforcement officials,” and that seems even a more dire prospect than saying my son-in-law.

Where presidents from George W. Bush to Barack Obama have tried to craft proposals working with Congress, this proposal’s only similarity to any of the more recent presidential efforts is that it doesn’t reduce the number.  The proposal shifts the emphasis away from reuniting families with existing visa holders and new citizens from the immigrant community to some vaguely defined “merit-based” system.  The “Build America Visa” is going to be for super special foreigners with talent to burn, workers with special skill-based vocations, read that as tech workers, and exceptional students, whatever that might mean.

Maybe you’re asking if this new immigration proposal deals with the ambitions of comprehensive efforts of the past or whether it is as mean-spirited and transactional as it seems, and maybe you’re not?  But if you were, unbelievably this proposal is totally silent on what to do about the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country other than that there continues to be some language about Trump’s Wall Folly.  The proposal is also silent on the Dreamers, where for years there has been an emerging bipartisan consensus that there needs to be path to citizenship and an upgrade and extension on the DACA plan now in effect thanks to Obama, the courts, and the Trump administration’s ineptness in changing it.

Trump claims this latest proposal is in line with other countries, but who knows where that notion comes from since aside from a few authoritarian countries, asylum seekers are still given immigration protection, which is counter to administration’s wishes as well.  Observers also note that the proposal as it stands also pits various interests against each other:  agriculture vs. tech, education against deep pockets, and so forth.

The name alone pretty much ends any guessing game about whether this has any chance of moving forward.  A “Build America Visa” is a campaign plank for Trump’s reelection effort, not a real policy proposal on dealing with immigration or immigrants.  Unsurprisingly, the Democrats saw it for what it was, and it seems to be dead-on-arrival were it to be introduced in Congress.  Not that there’s any such plan.  In the Rose Garden, Trump said he would get this passed after the election when he controls the House, Senate, and is reelected.

Like I said, it’s all politics and no policy.

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Three Pillars of Conservative Power are Teetering

New Orleans        I’ll be honest I’m enjoying reading every line of this.

Page 6 of the Wall Street Journal had another article on the high-life high jinks of Wayne LaPierre, the chief muckety-muck of the National Rifle Association (NRA). Earlier they had reported on some $270,000 worth of clothing that LaPierre had charged to a vendor.  Today, they revealed that the vendor was Ackerman McQueen, the Oklahoma City based public relations and media contractor for decades to the NRA, and a company with whom LaPierre had historically been thick-as-thieves.

The other shoe that dropped was not related to haberdashery, but travel.  A letter was leaked that Ackerman McQueen had sent the NRA board about $240,000 worth of travel expenses that LaPierre had charged to the company’s credit card without adequate documentation.  The junkets included trips to the Bahamas and Italy.  All of this could be grist for the mill in the New York State investigation about the NRA’s tax status of course.  It also indicates the wounds are still bleeding in the internal disputes within the NRA over the falling out between LaPierre and his forces on the board versus the Ackerman McQueen allies.  Hey, LaPierre had their credit card for a reason, and I would bet money that none of these half-million bucks worth of expenditures would have every hit the light of day if they hadn’t fallen out.  Meanwhile LaPierre was being paid $1.4 million a year according to the 2017 IRS 990 filing for the NRA with the IRS.

That’s not all of the good news.  The scourge of workers and people-first policies in the name of business, the Chamber of Commerce, was front page news in their fall from influence, if not grace.  Executive salaries are up of course but lobbying expenditures and corporate donations are down in recent years.  Reportedly Trump wouldn’t shake their lobbyists hand, because they didn’t back him in the 2016 race.  Furthermore, his wild-right roll has made their traditional business-first conservationism passé.  Republican congressmen and senators were routinely quoted saying their emperor has no clothes anymore.  Meanwhile they are having an internal shake up as well, because they were out of step with big corporate power on social issues like gender and sexual discrimination.  They even have had to revise their vote-scoring system to boost the scores of some of the hated Democrats.  Their boss, Thomas Donahue, made $6.6 million in 2017, travels in a chauffeured SUV in DC with a two-man security detail, flies the chamber’s private jet to his Florida vacation home, and brings his doctor along on overseas trips.

Nonprofit DC lobbying is great work if you can get it, or so it seems.

All of this was in the businessman’s daily news source, Rupert Murdoch’s The Wall Street Journal.  The editorial and op-ed pages can still peel paint off a car, but the rest of the book is burning up the track.

Old line conservatives and Republicans of all stripes must be screaming in the middle of the night when central pillars of their house like the Journal, the NRA, and the Chamber of Commerce are showing deep cracks and roof cave-ins, leaving them few of the usual places to hide.

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Please enjoy Kris Kelly’s Birthplace.

Thanks to KABF.

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