Rep. Drew Ferguson has introduced HR 6415, which among other things, legislates billions of dollars for a border wall with Mexico.
I suppose he is doing this to curry favor with Trump supporters (41 percent of Americans, per Gallup).
But, President Trump is faced with a real dilemma on immigration. Separating families at the border is very unpopular. And, his efforts to reunite the families have been unsuccessful. Further, Obama’s DACA Executive Order protecting the Dreamers was widely popular. The Dreamers, illegals who were brought over as children, are generally productive individuals with no criminal record. Americans want them to remain here. However, Trump abolished Obama’s Executive Order, getting credit with his base and a black eye with the rest of America.
President Trump has also stated repeatedly that he wants to build a wall. He has lied to us countless times, saying Mexico will pay for it. He even says that he wants government shut down if it is not built.
But, that is not what most Americans think. Per a 2-6-18 Quinnipiac poll, the public is 2-1 against closing government over the wall. Further, 59 percent of Americans do not want a wall at all. Clearly, most of the public believes that building the wall is just another of Trump’s wild notions with no basis in reality. And, it is not just Democrats; only Trump’s base supports him on the issue. Accordingly, only 33 percent of Americans believe that undocumented workers take American workers jobs.
Much of the opposition is based on pragmatism. As Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano so aptly put it: “Show me a 50-foot wall and I'll show you a 51-foot ladder.’’
The percentage of Americans seeing immigration as “good” is an amazing 72 percent, up from 62 percent in 2001. So much for the Fox News frenzy touting the groundswell against immigration. It’s only their viewers composing the groundswell.
Why do Americans view immigration positively? Certainly, the fact that we are a nation of immigrants has something to do with it.
My grandparents and father were immigrants – originally, illegals. I am a retired SVP with a publicly held firm. Two of my children are physicians, and the other is a successful Georgia small business owner. Certainly, immigrants are what has made this nation what it is today. But, what about illegal immigration?
With the Trump Presidency, illegal immigration has become a very visible issue. Based on Fox News coverage, one would think that the American public was up in arms about waves of Mexicans taking jobs from hard working citizens. Build that wall, deport them.
But, if you thought that, you would be dead wrong. The illegal issue is not as clear cut as some politicians would have us believe. A surprising 66 percent of Americans do not want either deportations or a wall (Gallup, 7-16).
The vast majority of Americans, 84 percent, support allowing illegals to become U.S. citizens over time. Even 76 percent of Republicans agree.
Children of the ’60s will remember these lyrics to a popular Bob Dylan song: “Ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more.”
With Donald Trump getting elected and Bob Dylan getting a Nobel Prize, let’s consider a reinterpretation of the words to Maggie’s farm.
Who works on that farm when Americans refuse to do so? The real-life answer is undocumented immigrants.
We can build all the walls we want to, but so long as there are jobs here that do not pay enough to attract American citizens, illegal immigrants will come here and take them. And, even if this were not the case, the instability and violence in Central America would cause us to receive refugees.
In his 2007 State of the Union address, President George W. Bush outlined a comprehensive strategy, including securing borders and assimilating illegals. It is sad that his party – and mine and Ferguson’s – did not support his very reasonable solution to the immigration crisis, which has just gotten worse due to congressional inaction.It is even sadder that Ferguson, GOP elites and Trump continue to believe that the solution is building a wall.
Jack Bernard of Fayette County, a retired corporate executive, was a two-term county commissioner and former county Republican Party chairman in Jasper County.