Wednesday, February 1, 2017

And Our Chief Export Is Pain

The Trump administration is considering a plan to weed out would-be immigrants who are likely to require public assistance, as well as to deport — when possible — immigrants already living in the United States who depend on taxpayer help, according to a draft executive order obtained by The Washington Post. 
A second draft order under consideration calls for a substantial shake up in the system through which the United States administers immigrant and nonimmigrant visas overall, with the aim of tightly controlling who enters the country, and who can enter the workforce, and to reduce the social services burden on U.S. taxpayers. 
The drafts are circulating among administration officials, and it is unclear whether President Trump has decided to move forward with them or when he might sign them if he does decide to put them in place. The White House would not confirm or deny the authenticity of the orders, and White House officials did not respond to requests for comment about the drafts on Monday and Tuesday.

If this is true, then bad, bad times are coming.

The administration would be seeking to “deny admission to any alien who is likely to become a public charge” and develop standards for “determining” whether an immigrant can be deported after five years if that person receives a certain amount of public assistance, including Food Stamps, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Medicaid. 
The second order, titled “Executive Order on Protecting American Jobs and Workers by Strengthening the Integrity of Foreign Worker Visa Programs” calls for “eliminating” the “jobs magnet” that is driving illegal immigration to the United States, according to a copy obtained by The Post. The order would rescind any work visa provisions for foreign nationals found not to be in “the national interest” or in violation of U.S. immigration laws.

It weighs how to make America’s immigration program “more merit based,” calls for site visits at companies that employ foreign workers, and tasks the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with producing a report twice a year on the total number of foreign-born people — not just nonimmigrant visa holders — who are authorized to work in the United States.

It also instructs DHS and the State Department to submit a report on “the steps they are taking to combat the birth tourism phenomenon,” meaning instances in which noncitizens come to the United States to have children, who in turn gain citizenship, a popular conservative refrain but one that is dismissed by immigration experts as a relatively minor problem. 
Together, the orders would aim to give U.S. citizens priority in the job market from top to bottom by preventing immigrants from taking jobs and pushing some immigrants out of jobs they currently have. 
“The unlawful employment of aliens has had a devastating impact on the wages and jobs of American workers, especially low-skilled, teenage, and African American and Hispanic workers,” the draft order says.

If that last part sounds creepy, it's because "We have to get rid of them, they're taking your jobs" was used before about, oh, say 80 years ago by an unemployed Austrian painter who went into German politics.

Exit question:  Who exactly would enforce all this with Trump's "freeze" on federal hiring?  Because it sure sounds to me like the regime would need a whole hell of a lot of bodies to crack heads, raid houses, and roll up on businesses.  Think "a national version of Joe Arpaio's deputy posse".  You know, the guy currently facing all kinds of charges for failing to heed civil rights laws in his zeal for rounding up brown people.

And if a screaming populist demagogue who is demonizing a segment of the population for removal and wants legal reasons to create a force with the purpose of removing that segment doesn't get your hackles up, then you're way past gone.  These are actual Brownshirts, guys.  (Not to be confused with Browncoats).

This is moving remarkably quickly.  Understand that this is moving so fast because it's not only a top priority of Trump, but of the actual man running the White House: Steve Bannon, who has long been virulently anti-immigrant.  And again, the difference is Bannon's not just gunning for undocumented folks, he wants to drastically reduce legal immigrants into the country as well.

On a March 2016 episode, Bannon said that restoring sovereignty meant reducing immigration. In his radio shows, he criticized the federal H-1B visa programs that permit U.S. companies to fill technical positions with workers from overseas. 
The “progressive plutocrats in Silicon Valley,” Bannon said, want unlimited ability to go around the world and bring people back to the United States. “Engineering schools,” Bannon said, “are all full of people from South Asia, and East Asia. . . . They’ve come in here to take these jobs.” Meanwhile, Bannon said, American students “can’t get engineering degrees; they can’t get into these graduate schools because they are all foreign students. When they come out, they can’t get a job.” 
Don’t we have a problem with legal immigration?” asked Bannon repeatedly. 
Twenty percent of this country is immigrants. Is that not the beating heart of this problem?” he said, meaning the problem of native-born Americans being unable to find jobs and rising wages. 
In another show, Bannon had complained to Trump that so many Silicon Valley chief executives were South Asian or Asian. This was a rare time when Trump — normally receptive to Bannon’s ideas on-air — pushed back. “I still want people to come in,” Trump said. “But I want them to go through the process.”

There's no reason to believe that Bannon won't get his way on this, either.

America has a long history of letting immigrants in, but also of treating those immigrants like garbage. Scapegoating immigrants has long been the hallmark of America's nationalist movement. History teaches us these movements almost always become violent in the end.  We're entering another such period now, and there's no reason to believe that it will go any better this time around.

In fact, there's every reason to believe that it's going to get very bloody, and quickly.

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