A Manchurian Candidate who was secretly trying to alienate Hispanics would be hard pressed to do as much damage to the Republican brand as President Donald Trump.
The administration announced Monday that it will terminate the provisional residency permits of about 200,000 Salvadorans who have lived in the United States since at least 2001, leaving them to face deportation. Trump previously ended what is known as Temporary Protected Status for Nicaraguans and Haitians, and he's expected to cut off Hondurans later this year.
This is part of a strategic, full-court press to make America less hospitable to immigrants, both legal and illegal. Immigration enforcement arrests are up 40 percent, Trump has slashed the number of refugees allowed into the United States to the lowest level since 1980 and the Justice Department has tried to crack down on "sanctuary cities" during his first year.
Most consequentially, Trump created an artificial political crisis by announcing the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which allows about 700,000 undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as children to avoid deportation and obtain work permits.
The president is now trying to use the "dreamers" as bargaining chips to force Congress to pony up $18 billion for his border wall, breaking a campaign promise that Mexico would pay. Congressional Republicans are also offering to negotiate an extension of TPS protections in exchange for scaling back the diversity visa lottery program.
There is a chance of a government shutdown in the next several weeks over the wall and/or DACA.
Immigration is the biggest stumbling block in negotiations about keeping the lights on past Jan. 19, which is next Friday. Republicans say Democrats are holding spending talks hostage to secure a DACA fix, which they'd prefer to consider separately. As he meets with a bipartisan group of lawmakers at the White House later Tuesday, both Trump and Democratic leaders think they have the better hand - a recipe for trouble. The likeliest outcome is another short-term agreement.
Outside Washington, Trump's pardon of Joe Arpaio after he was convicted of contempt of court for ignoring a federal judge's order to stop racially profiling spoke volumes to Hispanics who see the former Arizona sheriff as a boogeyman. The president is also expected to travel later this month to look at prototypes of possible border walls, creating a visual that his base will love but will further galvanize Latinos.
More consequentially, Trump threatened to abandon Puerto Rico's recovery in October if people on the island didn't express more gratitude for his efforts in the wake of Hurricane Maria. He has downplayed the death toll, thrown rolls of paper towels at people who lost everything and personally attacked the mayor of San Juan. Meanwhile, many still don't have power - and electricity might not be fully restored until May. Adding insult to injury, Puerto Rico is one of the biggest losers in the GOP tax bill.
The continuing humanitarian crisis has triggered a massive influx of Puerto Ricans to the mainland, specifically the perennial political battleground of Florida. Unlike those who benefit from TPS, the Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens. So they can easily register to vote. Their collective anger at Trump makes that likely.
-- Trump's nativism may cost Republicans Senate seats this year in Arizona and Nevada, as well as several House seats across the Sunbelt. The party's top recruit for the Florida Senate race, outgoing Gov. Rick Scott, could opt not to run if the political atmospherics continue to be this bad.
But the much bigger issue is the long-term damage that Trump is inflicting on his adopted party. When they look back a century from now, historians will likely write that immigration and health care were the defining issues of our time. Five years after the Republican National Committee's "autopsy" of the 2012 election highlighted the urgency of appealing to Latinos, Trump is driving his party down the same path that Pete Wilson followed in California when he embraced Proposition 187 to get reelected in 1994. He won a Pyrrhic victory. The Golden State GOP can't even field a credible candidate for governor or Senate in California this year.
-- None of this is surprising. Trump literally kicked off his campaign in June 2015 with an attack on Mexican immigrants. "They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists," he said. "And some, I assume, are good people." Trump made dozens of similarly ugly comments before the election, from calling for a "deportation force" to saying that a federal judge who was born in Indiana couldn't fairly adjudicate a fraud case against Trump University because his parents immigrated from Mexico.
-- The latest moves underscore how much juice the hardliners still have in the White House, specifically policy adviser Stephen Miller and Chief of Staff John Kelly. But the ultimate decider is Trump himself.
-- Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Kelly's protégé, said Monday that she determined conditions in El Salvador have improved significantly since earthquakes ravaged the country in 2001, which was the justification for the original program. She is giving an 18-month grace period for people to either leave or get legal residency - and to give Congress a window to change the law.
"Immigrant advocates, Salvadoran government officials and others had implored Nielsen to extend the TPS designation, citing the country's gang violence and the potentially destabilizing effect of so many people being sent home," The Post's Nick Miroff and David Nakamura report. "El Salvador's homicide rate - 108 per 100,000 people in 2015 - was the world's highest for a country not at war, the most recent U.N. data shows . . . The mayors of Houston, Los Angeles and other cities with large numbers of Salvadorans had urged Nielsen to take into account the wider contributions of TPS recipients, a third of whom are U.S. homeowners...
"Others urged Nielsen to consider the approximately 190,000 U.S.-born children of Salvadoran TPS recipients. Their parents must now decide whether to break up their families, take their children back to El Salvador or stay in the United States and risk deportation. Senior DHS officials told reporters Monday that Salvadoran parents would have to make that choice."
-- Meet one of the people hurt by the announcement. From a story by The Post's Maria Sacchetti: "Oscar Cortez feels like he has an ordinary American life. He carries a Costco card. He roots for the Boston Red Sox. And five days a week, he rises before dawn, pulls on four shirts and two pairs of pants, and ventures into the frigid air to work as a plumber, a good job that pays for his Maryland townhouse and his daughters' college fund. At 15th and L streets NW in Washington, Cortez saw the news on his mobile phone while taking a break from laying copper pipe at the construction site of the new Fannie Mae headquarters. 'You feel like you're up in the air,' the silver-haired 46-year-old said. 'I feel bad and offended. They're playing with our stability. . . . I consider this my country.'
"Cortez said he visited his parents in 2016 for the first time since he left and was shocked to see that the house had six locks on every door to ward off burglars. People he knew had left or died. Strangers stared at him on the street. 'I felt like a foreigner in my own land,' he said. 'Everyone is looking at you like you're from outer space.'"
-- Post columnist Petula Dvorak argues that Trump is taking away the American Dream from hundreds of thousands of hard-working people: "Because she didn't know how else to calm her nerves on Monday, Carmen Paz Villas did what she does best. She went to work, cleaning rooms at the hotel. On her day off. 'And now, I cry and cry,' Paz Villas said, in between rooms, when she learned that, no matter how hard she works, the country she's called home for 18 years doesn't want her family anymore. 'Everybody with TPS, all we can do is cry now.' Because, according to our government today, it's not enough to work hard, open a 401(k), buy a home, obey the law, start a business, get a Costco card, become a sports fan, win Employee of the Month and have a family to become an American."
Trump's announcement means Paz Villas's husband can't stay: "He's from El Salvador. She's from Honduras, and the administration announced two months ago that roughly 57,000 Hondurans in the United States with protected status like her may also have to leave soon. So much for their home, their kids, their neighbors and their friends in Gaithersburg (Md.)."
-- The Post's Ishaan Tharoor contrasts the DHS announcement with a speech that Pope Francis delivered this week at the Vatican: "He bemoaned the hostile climate in the West toward refugees and migrants. He decried politicians who demonize foreigners 'for the sake of stirring up primal fears' and urged greater global action to help asylum seekers. 'In the Judeo-Christian tradition, the history of salvation is essentially a history of migration,' said the pontiff. That's a message that clearly doesn't register with President Trump."
With Breanne Deppisch and Joanie Greve.
Source : http://www.lmtonline.com/news/article/The-Daily-202-Trump-systematically-alienates-the-12484010.php1662