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Trump: Playing Both Sides Against the Middle

Updated: Jul 2, 2019

The Trump White House the other day announced a new immigration plan, ballyhooed by the president as one that puts America first by allowing well educated and highly skilled immigrants into the U.S. while dramatically decreasing the numbers of those who are permitted to be here based on family ties.

“We are proposing an immigration plan that puts the jobs, wages and safety of American workers first,” Trump said from the White House Rose Garden. “Our proposal is pro-American, pro-immigrant and pro-worker. It’s just common sense.”

While few concrete details were announced, the plan does not reduce the total number of green cards to be issued, drawing sharp criticism from immigration hardliners. It simply reallocates green cards according to education and skill level. It would provide a new "Build America" visa to applicants who gain eligibility based on such factors as age, ability to speak English, job offers and educational background.

The plan makes no attempt to settle the fate of the estimated 11 million immigrants, the "dreamers," who are in the U.S. without legal status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which Trump has repeatedly tried to scuttle only to be thwarted in court. Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said DACA was not included because the issue is too divisive.

Trump immediately was blasted by both Democratic leaders and his right wing fringe supporters for the plan, which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said is dead on arrival on Capitol Hill. In fact, it hasn't even really "arrived," since there is no actual legislation as yet to implement the plan, largely the work of a team led by White House aide Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law.

Conservative commentator Ann Coulter slammed the plan for failing to cut the annual level of more than 1 million green cards issued every year. “NO WALL. KEEPS SAME MASSIVE LEVELS OF LEGAL IMMIGRATION. And this is the rube-bait campaign document, not even a serious bill,” wrote Coulter.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) called it a “despicable abdication of moral authority” and said it would have prevented Blumenthal’s immigrant father from entering the United States.

Having made his Rose Garden announcement, Trump lost no time in resuming his hard line rhetoric about immigration, apparently hoping to molify the right wingers who believe the new plan is too soft.

On Twitter, Trump resorted to his claim that immigrants at the southern border include "bad hombres" that must be stopped. And, he issued this warning:

He also is reported to be intimately involved in designing his beloved wall, even down to specifying its height, material to be used, and the fact that he wants sharp points at the top and painted flat black so it will be too hot in the desert sun to touch, let alone to climb.

All of that is designed as red meat to faithful Trumpers who swallow his rhetoric about the dangers of immigrants and how they are taking everybody's jobs, pushing drugs and raping everybody's wives and daughters -- all while putting forth a weak attempt at convincing voters that he's not really a cruel, white supremacist racist.

Good luck with that, Mr. Trump.

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