By: Raheem Kassam
A new McClatchy report has revealed that current White House staffers including John Kelly, Ivanka Trump, and Jared Kushner are pushing the President to continue with amnesty for illegal immigrants in exchange for border wall funding as well as curbs on illegal immigration and the online ‘E-Verify’ system.
If the President accedes, this may be his ‘Merkel moment’ — reflective of the German chancellor who compromised on her nation’s borders and rule of law with her now infamous (and subsequently dropped) ‘We Can Do It’ call to let millions of migrants into Europe.
She didn’t just let them in, her policy encouraged them. One of the greatest ‘pull factors’ in Europe’s migrant crisis was the German leader’s abdication of her duties towards her nation. From failing to consult the German parliament, to claiming that a mass of economic migrants were in fact “Syrian refugees” fit for high-skilled labour, Merkel irrevocably changed the face of her nation in one fell swoop; something candidate Trump seemed to understand.
Far from being the doctors, nurses, or engineers she was claiming to open her arms to, employment and skill sets amongst recent migrants is devastatingly poor.
In July, the German Federal Employment Agency admitted that 74 per cent of new migrants had no qualifications, and would likely only be able to do menial labour jobs.
Just 54 of those recently arrived found jobs with top firms in the country, with 50 of those going to the German post office. That’s not 54 per cent. That’s 54 people.
It’s not like the appetite is there, and the jobs simply aren’t.
Germany has a history — over five decades long — with Turkish inward migration. I use this constituency to give Merkel the benefit of the doubt — no first wave or first generation of migrants, despite her lofty promises, have ever got steady jobs that quickly, nor have they integrated immediately. So let’s look at Germany’s Turkish population, those who have been in the country for over half a century.
Figures published in July 2017 revealed that almost every second Turk of working age in the nation is “economically inactive”. The major German newspaper Die Welt added in its report on the matter: “The vast majority of the [Turks who are] economically inactive declare that — at least for the moment — they are not interested in a job.”
Just this week it became clear that Turkey’s President Recip Erdogan was able to influence millions of voters across Germany, especially with the country’s federal elections on the horizon.
Speaking to a Turkish News Agency last week, Erdogan insisted: “I would say to all compatriots in Germany, do not support [the Christian Democrats]… Not the Christian Democrats, not the SPD [Social Democrats], not the Greens. They are all enemies of Turkey.”
The decision President Trump has to make vis-a-vis DACA — the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — is not a direct parallel. Firstly, obviously, this is about children who have entered the country illegally. Secondly, there are no immediate low-skilled job or electoral implications.
But there are several parallels, the first being the undermining of the rule of law.
Even the most liberal Western leader in the world today, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — discouraged illegal immigration into his country, stating: “If I could directly speak to people seeking asylum, I’d like to remind them there’s no advantage [to crossing into Canada illegally]… Our rules, our principles and our laws apply to everyone.”
What DACA does is nullify such principles, the same as which President Trump made during his political campaign, pre-November 2016.
In a Phoenix speech in August 2016 — almost exactly a year ago from his Phoenix speech of today — candidate Trump stated unequivocally: “We will immediately terminate President Obama’s two illegal executive amnesties, in which he defied federal law and the constitution to give amnesty to approximately 5 million illegal immigrants… In a Trump Administration, all immigration laws will be enforced. As with any law enforcement activity, we will set priorities. But, unlike this Administration, no one will be immune or exempt from enforcement — and ICE and Border Patrol officers will be allowed to do their jobs.”
He went on: “Anyone who has entered the United States illegally is subject to deportation — that is what it means to have laws and to have a country.”
The press release on last year’s speech — like all pre-2017 content — has been removed from the official Donald J. Trump campaign website.
The second parallel to be aware of is the aforementioned “pull factor”.
In 2014, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) admitted of the Obama-era amnesty policies:
Migration pull factors include reunification with family members already in the United States and successful migration attempts; that is, most (98 percent) OTM UCs are issued a Notice to Appear and not immediately removed from the United States. Last year, only 1,700 UCs were repatriated to their home countries.”
The report also stated:
HSI-Intel assesses with high confidence that reunification with family members already in the United States continues to be a pull factor for UCs from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
Furthermore, while they noted “No single factor causes OTM UC migration to the United States”, they did admit: “several factors combine to cause this, including poor economies and violence in home countries, potential employment opportunities in the United States, family reunification, and success at not being immediately repatriated drive OTM UC migration to the United States.”
Even the most ardent of establishment European politicians has admitted similar.
Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, said in 2015 that “The exceptionally easy access to Europe is one of the main pull factors”.
With a renewed pull factor — as the DHS report stated — in the form of “success at not being immediately repatriated”, we can expect border crossing attempts to rise if the Trump administration fails to rescind DACA.
In a sense, the latter part of this year and the West Wing’s approach to DACA therefore represents a Merkel moment for President Trump.
Given his propensity to slam the German Chancellor on immigration, but at the same time laud her as his favorite world leader, the President’s electoral base would to well to place increased scrutiny on this policy position.