In the 2018 State of the Union, President Trump rolled out his immigration doctrine using a four-pillars analogy. Even Mark Levin was complementary of the plan, calling the speech “Reaganesque.”
The president’s “Four Pillars of Immigration” included:
- A Path to Citizenship for Dreamers
- A Secure Southern Border
- A Termination of the Visa Lottery
- A Halt to Chain Migration
A nice promise, it may be, but let’s take a look at how the promise has panned out in the year and a half since it was made.
Pillar #1: A Path to Citizenship for Dreamers
What POTUS said:
The first pillar of our framework generously offers a path to citizenship for 1.8 million illegal immigrants who were brought here by their parents at a young age — that covers almost three times more people than the previous administration. Under our plan, those who meet education and work requirements, and show good moral character, will be able to become full citizens of the United States.
Even before the speech, the notion of granting illegal aliens citizenship generated a Twitter storm of accusations that Donald Trump was breaking a key campaign promise. Let me set the record straight: The president is breaking his campaign promise to send so-called “Dreamers” back to their country of origin with the requirement that they apply for re-entry.
The president promised Congress he would put 1.5 million Dreamers on an earned path to citizenship. In exchange, Congress would fix the immigration loopholes and build the wall.
We’ve watched the immigration debacle worsen since 2018. Dreamers are still stuck, and so is America.
Pillar #2: A Secure Southern Border
What POTUS said:
The second pillar fully secures the border. That means building a wall on the Southern border, and it means hiring more heroes like CJ to keep our communities safe. Crucially, our plan closes the terrible loopholes exploited by criminals and terrorists to enter our country — and it finally ends the dangerous practice of “catch and release.
The centerpiece of Trump’s new immigration plan was a wall, closure of immigration loopholes, and an end to “catch and release” practices.
Despite a lot of noise and a government shutdown, the president had to engage the courts for the right to use the defense budget to build his wall. He was forced to cave into the demands of Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi. He got a border stipend — but no wall, fewer beds, and a huge PR embarrassment.
Some replacement wall has been built, and the Supreme Court recently said the president, in his role as Commander and Chief and head of the Executive Branch, has the constitutional authority to use unallocated funds to build his wall.
Pilar #3: A Termination of the Visa Lottery
What POTUS said:
The third pillar ends the visa lottery — a program that randomly hands out green cards without any regard for skill, merit, or the safety of our people. It is time to begin moving towards a merit-based immigration system — one that admits people who are skilled, who want to work, who will contribute to our society, and who will love and respect our country.
Many Americans had no knowledge of the so-called “Visa Lottery” system, which was actually spearheaded years ago by none other than Chuck Schumer.
Essentially, the system is a drawing for the right of a selected foreigner to be fast-tracked into America’s immigration system. The lottery has been wed to chain migration, which allows the relatives of a selected immigrant to be automatically eligible for immigration status.
The Visa Lottery program is rife with abuse and wrong on its face.
The president has failed miserably in his desire to shut down the immigration by lottery. He could have issued an executive order to terminate the program but has not done so.
He promised to replace the lottery with a merit-based program, the “merit” being the ability of immigrants to make contributions to the economy, our values, culture, language, and heritage.
But let’s not blame the failure to eliminate the lottery entirely on the president. When Republicans had control of both the Senate and the House, they failed to end the Visa Lottery program.
Pillar #4: A Halt to Chain Migration
What POTUS Said:
The fourth and final pillar protects the nuclear family by ending chain migration. Under the current broken system, a single immigrant can bring in virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives. Under our plan, we focus on the immediate family by limiting sponsorships to spouses and minor children. This vital reform is necessary, not just for our economy, but for our security, and our future.
Chain migration and Visa overstays account for the majority of our illegal immigration problems. The notion that dozens of family members can enter the country on the coattails of a 2nd or even 3rd generation aunt, uncle or cousin is pure insanity and becoming our slow suicide.
Our immigration laws already address spousal entry, and yes, children should be tied inseparably to their natural parents.
Again, as with Pillar #3, why did the GOP-controlled Congress fail to act to end chain migration? Who can explain this huge failure and neglect on the part of the Republican leadership?
The truth is, if it had the political will, the GOP could have rolled Pillars #2, #3 and #4 into one piece of legislation before the 2018 midterm elections. This would have paved the way for honest, open discussion about Pillar #1, the so-called “Dreamers.” Now, the president’s once heralded plan is a dust.
Even though he does not have unilateral control over the federal government and we cannot ascribe all failure to him, President Trump has failed voters on his key campaign promise to fix immigration. If he fails in his bid for a second term, it will be largely credited to his failure to implement his Four Pillars of Immigration.