Trump’s Immigration Policy: Really That Different?

by David Nussman  •  •  July 5, 2018   

Presidents Clinton and Obama also talked tough on immigration; where were the bishops' protests then?

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DETROIT ( - Amid fierce debate over immigration, some argue that President Donald Trump's immigration policies and proposals differ little from those of past administrations.

On Wednesday, Kristen Tate wrote in an opinion piece for The Hill, "In many ways, Barack Obama and Donald Trump are completely different people. But strip away the rhetoric and you will find successive administrations with far more similarities than the Washington beltway crowd cares to admit."

She continued, "Under the hood, there is not much validity to the millions of polemics found on Twitter, in The Washington Post and at poetry slams. The lefty freak-out, boiled down, is hatred of Trump the man and his style, rather than his substance."

The lefty freak-out, boiled down, is hatred of Trump the man and his style, rather than his substance.

Tate noted that many of the specific things causing outrage actually date to previous administrations:

Trump won in 2016 in large part because he offered something novel: an immigration plan independent of the traditional Republican and Democratic parties. Yet, over the last year and a half, the large bulk of the administration's actions simply continued prior precedent and laws. The temporary holding of immigrant children, for example, stems from a 1997 agreement. A 2008 law passed unanimously required migrant children from outside Canada or Mexico to be held by the Office of Refugee Resettlement or with families in the United States. The purpose? To prevent child trafficking. And photos that recently caused the most outrage — including those of children sleeping in cages — were from 2014.

She humorously commented, "The media and public outcry is centered around minor policy changes. The White House effectively changed deck chairs on the Titanic, and is treated as if it is planning a genocide."

Tate's commentary is reminiscent of a YouTube video posted last year, which offers tough talk on immigration from Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, interspersed with clips of Trump rolling his eyes or nodding in agreement.

The video opens with a clip of Clinton saying, "All Americans ... are rightly disturbed by the large numbers of illegal aliens entering our country."

A similar video was recently published by InfoWars in June. It is several minutes longer and features comments from President George H. W. Bush, in addition to Clinton and Obama, and includes melodramatic background music.

In her opinion piece, Tate went on to make similar points about the Trump administration's policy and practice in other areas besides immigration — such as government spending and foreign policy. In all these areas, Tate argues, Trump stands out for his unique brand of rhetoric, but his policy is indistinguishable from that of other administrations.

"Trump is wildly different than his predecessors in terms of rhetoric," she wrote. "But his bravado can only take policy so far."

Tate warned, "The president's supporters will only have so much patience for a continuation of policies that have let them down for decades."


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