There's nothing Trump can do that won't be forgiven. Except change his immigration policies.
- Ann Coulter, In Trump We Trust
For several weeks now, the media has been atwitter, aghast, and agog with reporting that Donald Trump has done exactly what won't be forgiven - abandoned his ferocious anti-illegal-immigration stance and turned into something more like a normal, marginally-acceptable establishment Republican. The putative damage to Ann Coulter's new Trump-lauding book was merely an added bonus.
But the real target, of course, was The Donald, as the New York Times exultingly trumpeted:
Donald Trump, Wavering on Immigration, Finds Anger in All Corners!!!
Mr. Trump faced anger, confusion and disgust from across the political spectrum on Thursday after indicating that he was open to letting some undocumented immigrants remain in the country legally provided that they paid “back taxes.”
The comments, made at a town-hall-style event broadcast the night before on Fox News, were strikingly similar to the views of former Gov. Jeb Bush and Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, fellow Republicans whom Mr. Trump vanquished in the primaries with slashing attacks that they were soft on immigration.[emphasis added]
One can almost hear the champagne corks popping in newsrooms across the land. At last! The Terrible Trumpster has finally gone too far! Now his base will surely turn on him and tear him to pieces.
Except... it's not true. Or at least, it's not true yet.
This supposed flip-flop apparently stemmed from a town-hall meeting where he talked about a path to citizenship for illegals, something that has been the mantra of the establishment for decades and anathema to the conservative base for just as long.
Then, Trump emphasized the pressing urgency of deporting felonious illegals, which the media also cast as a walkback. Of course, most illegals are not convicted felons, as even Trump himself says, so they all get to stay! Right?
Once again, the media has fallen directly into one of Trump's traps, and has been caught in a transparent falsehood because they simply don't listen to what Trump is actually saying.
Consider a man who is $100,000 in debt and decides to get his financial house in order. He starts working with a financial counselor to stop his lavish spending and pay off his loans. The following month, he comes to his counselor with this news: By reducing spending, he has paid off $1,000 that he owed to a loan shark.
Will the counselor rip him apart? After all, that's merely 1% of his debts; a drop in the bucket.
But of course no sane counselor would do that because everybody knows you can't pay off that much money overnight. You have to start somewhere, and starting with the highest-interest (and most dangerous) loan is wise and prudent.
It's just the same with Trump and the illegals. On Monday, January 23, 2017, a President Trump would have been in office for one full weekend. Yet we can confidently say that our land will still be infested by illegal immigrants who have no right to be here.
Would that mean he'd failed? Of course not: even the media would dare to say so. Big jobs take time.
The art of management, at which Trump's career shows he excels, is figuring out a plan. That involves deciding where to start, what's most important to do first, and how can we build the necessary infrastructure to eventually finish the job.
On that basis, it's perfectly sensible for Mr. Trump to start with deporting violent murders and rapists. Yes, peaceable and hard-working illegals still steal jobs from Americans, but we'd all rather suffer financially than be murdered. Out of between 12 million and 30 million illegal immigrants, it's been estimated that 690,000 have committed serious crimes. Isn't getting rid of them a fantastic place to start?
But Mr. Trump didn't say he would start with felons alone: he said he would prioritize deporting illegal immigrants who came here legally but overstayed their visas, of which there are around 5,000,000.
This may seem an odd priority. Aren't those likely to be wealthier and contribute more than those who just swam the Rio Grande?
Yet for just that reason, visa overstays are low-hanging fruit: they probably have a house with an address rather than sleeping anonymously in a box under a bridge. What's more, we also know exactly who they are and where they came from: they had to provide a passport, home country address, and fingerprints in order to come here in the first place. When we catch them, there's no arguing about where they go. Out the door!
If that is all a President Trump is able to accomplish - removal of felonious immigrants and several million visa overstays - he will have accomplished more on this front than any president since Eisenhower. In reality, though, the deportations are really just the first step.
Because Mr. Trump has also proposed tightening down on employers. Right now, we all know shady American businesses and unpatriotic American citizens who willingly and knowingly hire illegals because they're cheap. Throw a few of these employers in prison and all of a sudden jobs for illegals will dry up. This makes the illegal easier to find and also encourages some of them to move back home of their own accord - the fabled "self-deportation" that happens in economic downturns, yet without needing to make the whole country suffer a recession to accomplish it.
However, Donald Trump is a better negotiator even than that: he offers the self-deporters what they really want, a path to citizenship.
Wait, what? Isn't that what Trump supporters most fear and loathe - a reward for lawbreakers? In a word, "No".
For those here illegally today, who are seeking legal status they will have one route and one route only: To return home and apply for reentry like everybody else, under the rules of the new legal immigration system that I have outlined.
For half a century, America has accepted immigrants from every country in the world who applied for a visa from their home country. No, we don't take them all; there's a years-long wait in many places. The path to U.S. citizenship may be longer and harder than our anti-American elites would prefer, but it is there all the same, and always has been.
So yes, the Donald Trump plan provides a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants: Go home and get in line like everybody else.
Why is this an incentive? Because if you are deported, you will never be allowed an ordinary visa, as you've proven yourself to have no respect for our laws. That, too, has been in the law for years.
If, on the other hand, you deport yourself before the Federales catch you, then, under the law, you were never here in the first place, so you have just as much right to apply for a visa as anyone else in your country. The path to citizenship, albeit narrow and winding, remains open for you.
Naturally, not every last illegal immigrant will try this path. Many will need to be physically rounded up and deported. But anything we can do to encourage people to do the right thing is not only more humane, it's cheaper and more orderly. Again, Mr. Trump is wisely combining approaches to have a huge cumulative effect.
Is the media being willfully blind or actively lying about his plans? It's hard to say, because they hate both the plan they claim he has and the plan he actually does have since either plan will reduce the number of socialist votes for Democrats.
But Mr. Trump has a way of blasting the truth through the media smokescreen, even one so thick that it confused Ann Coulter briefly.
Except - we mustn't forget the low-information voter who's now heard a few weeks of media propaganda that Mr. Trump has moderated on immigration. How many will now feel more comfortable voting for him? Just possibly, the corrupt media is too clever for their own good.
Or perhaps we're too clever for our own good, and Mr. Trump fully intends to betray his promises and his voters after he's safely elected, like every other politician since Noah got off the Ark. For now, though, we can still hope for his good sense, which is more than we can say for Hillary Clinton who is neither good nor in full command of her senses.
Over the past five years, the editors have been secretly working on a book that summarizes the fundamental viewpoints of Scragged.