Big business warns Trump against mass de­por­ta­tion

Em­ploy­ers fear econ­omy will be hurt

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

WASH­ING­TON:

Still grap­pling with Don­ald Trump’s surprise elec­tion, the nation’s business com­mu­nity has be­gun to pres­sure the pres­i­dent-elect to aban­don cam­paign-trail pledges of mass de­por­ta­tion and other hard­line immigration poli­cies that some large em­ploy­ers fear would hurt the econ­omy.

The push, led by an ad­vo­cacy group backed by New York bil­lion­aire Michael Bloomberg and me­dia mogul Ru­pert Mur­doch, is still in its in­fancy as the business world strug­gles to un­der­stand the toughtalking Trump’s true in­ten­tions on an is­sue that de­fined his out­sider cam­paign. Some groups, such as the US Cham­ber of Com­merce, are hold­ing off, doubt­ful that Trump will ac­tu­ally cre­ate a de­por­ta­tion force, as he sug­gested be­fore his elec­tion, to ex­pel those es­ti­mated 11 mil­lion im­mi­grants in the coun­try il­le­gally.

But oth­ers are assem­bling teams of pub­lic of­fi­cials and in­dus­try lead­ers on the ground in key states to en­cour­age Trump to embrace a more for­giv­ing immigration pol­icy - in the name of eco­nomic devel­op­ment, if not hu­man com­pas­sion. “This elec­tion clearly showed that Amer­i­cans are wildly frus­trated with our bro­ken immigration sys­tem,” said Jeremy Rob­bins, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the New Amer­i­can Econ­omy, a group whose board in­cludes Bloomberg, Mur­doch and lead­ers of business giants Mar­riott, Dis­ney and Boe­ing. “But it would be a mis­take to equate their desire for some­one to se­cure the bor­der with sup­port for mass de­por­ta­tion or other hard­line poli­cies that would both dev­as­tate the econ­omy and un­der­mine core Amer­i­can val­ues.”

Rob­bins’ or­ga­ni­za­tion has in re­cent days un­veiled coali­tions of business lead­ers and pub­lic of­fi­cials that op­pose an immigration crack­down - many of them Trump sup­port­ers - across Utah, Cal­i­for­nia, South Carolina, Florida and Colorado with more com­ing in Ari­zona, Idaho, North Carolina, Penn­syl­va­nia and Texas. Backed by its di­rec­tors’ deep pock­ets, the group is work­ing to cre­ate a per­ma­nent in­fras­truc­ture that will pres­sure the new ad­min­is­tra­tion and mem­bers of Congress in key bat­tle­grounds even be­fore the de­bate of­fi­cially be­gins on Capi­tol Hill.

Trump railed against the dan­gers of il­le­gal immigration through­out his cam­paign, sev­eral times shar­ing the stage with par­ents of chil­dren killed by im­mi­grants in the coun­try il­le­gally. He also pledged to build a mas­sive wall across the vast ma­jor­ity of the 2,100-mile bor­der with Mex­ico. And, early in the cam­paign, he promised to cre­ate “a de­por­ta­tion force” to re­move more than 11 mil­lion im­mi­grants, al­though as Elec­tion Day ap­proached, he left open the pos­si­bil­ity for a path­way to le­gal sta­tus for some who en­tered the coun­try il­le­gally.

Softer ap­proach

Trump’s tran­si­tion team de­clined to an­swer ques­tions about his immigration plans this week. He hinted at a softer ap­proach in a Time mag­a­zine in­ter­view pub­lished this week, say­ing he would “work some­thing out” to help im­mi­grants who were brought to the United States il­le­gally as chil­dren and granted work per­mits by Pres­i­dent Barack Obama. On de­por­ta­tion, Trump told “60 Min­utes” shortly af­ter the elec­tion that he would pri­or­i­tize de­port­ing be­tween 2 and 3 mil­lion “peo­ple that are crim­i­nal and have crim­i­nal records - gang mem­bers, drug deal­ers”.

Such a plan would largely be in line with the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s cur­rent pol­icy. The business world was caught flat-footed when Trump won. Business lead­ers had in­vested far more time co­or­di­nat­ing immigration pol­icy with Demo­crat Hil­lary Clin­ton be­fore the elec­tion. None of the ma­jor play­ers have had reg­u­lar con­tact with Trump’s tran­si­tion team since his vic­tory, even though Trump has vowed to make immigration a fo­cus of the early days of his pres­i­dency. — AP

DES MOINES, Iowa: US Pres­i­dent-Elect Don­ald Trump speaks to sup­port­ers dur­ing a rally on Thurs­day. — AP

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