Trump Isn’t As Tough On Immigration As He Thinks He Is

Donald Trump wants us to believe he’s tough on immigration, but his enforcement strategies, as outlined in a recent position paper on his website, don’t reflect the boot-in-your-ass bravado he tries so hard to affect.

Trump’s laundry list of bush-league immigration reform tactics includes building a wall financed by Mexico, eliminating tax credit payments to illegal immigrants, and ending birthright citizenship for children of illegal immigrants.

I’m sorry Mr. Trump, but that’s your plan? That’s how you’re going to prevent rapists and murders from invading our peaceful shire?

Sure, building walls, hiring more ICE officers, and expanding E-Verify might shave off a few immigration percentage points, but a man of Trump’s caliber must know there are far more effective ways to combat the problem. If part of “making America great again” means closing it off to outsiders, why is he proposing such puny measures?

An immigration hard-liner who advocates punishing the children of illegal immigrants should have no problem with the following strategies.

Increase The U.S. Murder Rate

According to a study by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, 58 percent of the unaccompanied children attempting to enter the U.S. from Central America are motivated by safety concerns, fearing conditions back home.

Guatemala and El Salvador, the two largest sources of illegal immigrants behind Mexico, have a murder rate more than 800 percent higher than that of the United States, and Honduras, the fourth largest source, has a murder rate close to 1,900 percent higher.

If a Trump administration wanted to discourage immigration at a high level, why not make the safety conditions in our country as terrifying as those many illegals are fleeing from? Reduce the police force, eliminate what little gun control is already in place, and continue to cut funding in public schools. Make immigrating here akin to walking out of the frying pan and into the fire.

After all, we live in The Greatest Country In The World, so it’s no surprise that many people from developing nations come here seeking asylum. But if we turned the U.S. into Just Another Gang-Ravaged, Systematically Corrupt War Zone, 58 percent of those unaccompanied children might think twice before coming here.

Cause Another Recession

The number of illegal immigrants in the U.S. peaked in 2007 at 12.2 million, the same year the financial crisis began. Over the next few years those numbers fell, and by 2010 the population of undocumented migrants was down to 11.3 million. Since 2010, those numbers have started to level off.

A report by the Pew Research Center concluded that the decline in immigration was due from a weak economy.

But Trump is surely aware of the relationship between economic growth and immigration. So why hasn’t he done something about it?

Encourage irresponsible mortgage lending, tell the Fed to lower short-term interest rates, convince investors those rates are stable so they’ll buy longer-dated, higher-yielding securities.

If three years of economic recession reduced the rate of illegal immigration by nearly ten percent, think of what six years of economic recession could accomplish. Or ten years. Or twenty. Hell, after thirty years there won’t be a single unauthorized immigrant left.

And yes, tanking the country’s economy will no doubt cost thousands of jobs, but at least there won’t be any illegals around to take the jobs that survive.

Start Funding Smugglers

As we’ve established, many immigrants are driven my economic incentives. People will come to the U.S., work for higher wages, and send that money back to their families. Then they return home.

However, return migration to Mexico has been declining for decades. In the 1960s, approximately 60 percent of Mexican immigrants returned home within a year. Today, that number is less than 10 percent.

According to Wayne A. Cornelious of The LA Times, “The long-term fiscal impact of this explosion of permanent settlers — larger outlays for education, healthcare, and other services — is conveniently overlooked by politicians who clamor for tighter security.”

One reason for the decline in return migration is the rising cost of migrant smuggling. As demand for “coyotes” increases, so do their fees, which now range from $3,000 to $6,000 per trip. Such high price tags discourage unauthorized immigrants from returning to Mexico, even for a short visit, as the trip back may prove too expensive.

The obvious solution, then, is to fund these smugglers (in secret, of course, lest we send any mixed signals). This will encourage them to lower their fees, making it more affordable for undocumented migrants to return home.

Trump once said, “I like thinking big. If you’re going to be thinking anything, you might as well think big.”

Well, now it’s time to stand by your words. Go big or go home. Or more accurately, go big so immigrants go home. We’re all counting on you.