Trumpist Populism Mounts a Ferocious Comeback with the Immigration Debate

    Curt Mills

    Politics, North America

    Trump holds a bipartisan meeting with legislators on immigration reform at the White House in Washington

    A senior administration official indicated Tuesday that the president will pursue a hardline immigration agenda, even in the face of government shutdown. 

    “The very issue that we are looking at is: how does a nation select who is admitted in its borders?” a senior administration official told reporters Tuesday. “We have seen countries—across the globe—that have opted to move to a system that promotes their own national interest.”

    “I don’t know that we can generalize the manner of admission or entry of all our forefathers into the United States,” the senior administration official added. “We’re not in the place as a country that we were 100 years ago, 150 years ago, 200 years ago.”

    Still less than a year into the Trump administration, for reporters who covered matters of immigration issues this time last January, the shift from administration to administration couldn’t be starker. Though some critics point out that former president Barack Obama oversaw the deportations of millions, a move Donald Trump has said he is open to doing, as well, the changes in emphasis between the two teams is stark. Obama led off his 2014 address to the nation on immigration by saying: “For more than 200 years, our tradition of welcoming immigrants from around the world has given us a tremendous advantage over other nations.”

    But today, administration officials repeatedly emphasized the need for immigrants to “speak English,” “have a job,” comport with “our way of life” and “love this country”: the administration decried the matriculation of immigrants who arrived in the States only by “sheer luck.” For the Trump White House, the status quo represents “an unacceptable standard.”

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