Besides the new Donald Trump with a kinder tone that emerged from Tuesday’s speech before a joint session of congress, there is a new immigration position in the Trump administration. Prior to Tuesday’s speech, the Donald Trump administration and Trump, himself, have been focused on scapegoating immigrants and promising to deport all the undocumented from the country. Trump even argued that there needs to be an immigration pause.

However, on Tuesday night, Donald Trump articulated a new administration position arguing that Trump will start pursuing immigration reform. He asked that both sides of congress work with him to revamp the immigration process.

This is an about face for Trump and may signal that Donald Trump has, either realized that immigration is important to the country, or his major business supporters have pointed out that immigration is important to the U.S. economy. Especially the technology sector that so heavily depends on immigrants to keep the internet running.

Look closely at his words during the Tuesday speech.

Trump argued for immigration reform focused on a merit-based system. Although unclear what he meant by that it is likely that he meant those who would fill voids in the country, likely in the job sector. Interestingly, Donald Trump left open many possibilities about immigration reform by the thing he did not say.

For example, Trump focused on deporting the criminal element but did not mention deporting all undocumented during the speech leaving open the possibility that some type of amnesty may ultimately emerge from immigration reform.

Part of the issue is that immigration reform must include a pathway for those already in the U.S. workforce for economic reasons. Deporting efforts are costly as well as disruptive to certain important economic sectors, like housing. Creating jobs while destroying a job intensive sector, like construction, will result in failure.

But, the Republicans, although secretly hoping for keeping immigrants in the jobs that they are already in, must continue to argue against amnesty to keep their base happy.

Likewise, Trump must look like he is keeping his extreme immigration rhetoric alive while acknowledging that something must be done about the undocumented who fill important jobs in key sectors of the economy.

Is it possible that the new Trump is not only toning down his rhetoric but beginning to bring his base in line with the realities of immigration?

Possibly, but it is still too soon to tell.

Martin Paredes

Reporting on public corruption, border politics, immigration and public policy in El Paso since 2000.

One reply on “Donald Trump Pivots on Immigration”

  1. If you followed the campaign he isn’t pivoting. He promised farm communities agricultural visas, he has talked immigration reform and he has even mentioned in one debate that he could support giving dreamers a path to citizenship through military service. I believe he will reform immigration. But I think the open borders crowd will still be unhappy.

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