The immigration battle Donald Trump’s already won

Legal immigration has replaced “amnesty” as the core of the debate.

Remember when both parties liked legal immigration? Way back in … 2015?

For over a decade — ever since the Bush administration failed to pass comprehensive immigration reform in 2006 and 2007 — conventional wisdom has said that Congress can’t pass immigration bills because of the “amnesty” problem. Any proposal to legalize some or all of the 11 million unauthorized immigrants living in the US would be toxic to many Republicans; any proposal without any legalization would be toxic to many Democrats.

Rahm Emanuel famously said that “immigration is the third rail of politics,” but he meant unauthorized immigration (or rather, what to do about unauthorized immigrants). Legal immigration was a tricky policy issue that business and labor fought over, but it wasn’t going to cost any votes on the Senate floor or in elections.

That era is over. In the midst of a messy Senate debate over immigration policy, it’s now clear that the most contentious question in Congress is one that’s been dormant in legislative fights for years: whether or not to cut legal immigration.

This is almost entirely the doing of President Donald Trump. Over the course of two and a half years, as a candidate, nominee, and now president, he’s turned a fringe right-wing view into the heart of the current congressional debate over immigration.

Republicans in Congress themselves might still be in denial; they still say they don’t support cutting legal immigration, even as they back bills that do just that. But the earth has shifted under their feet. Trump has taken their party in a populist, restrictionist direction that business interests, “skills-based immigration” champions, and a generation of Republican politicians never thought it would go.

Donald Trump single-handedly changed the Republican Party’s position …read more

Source:: Vox – All

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