Trump sup­port­ers frus­trated by im­mi­gra­tion pol­icy, is­sues at bor­der

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY DAVE BOYER

With Democrats con­trol­ling the House and mi­grants still in­un­dat­ing the south­ern bor­der, it’s clear that Pres­i­dent Trump won’t fix the nation’s im­mi­gra­tion prob­lems in his first term.

It’s less clear whether vot­ers will hold that against him.

The pres­i­dent’s man­age­ment shake-up at the Depart­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity, with the ouster of Sec­re­tary Kirst­jen Nielsen and the ap­point­ment of Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion Com­mis­sioner Kevin McAleenan as act­ing sec­re­tary, is serv­ing as a flash point for peo­ple who care deeply about Mr. Trump’s agenda of bor­der se­cu­rity.

Jane Romines, a Democrat from Mis­souri who voted for Mr. Trump in 2016, said the pres­i­dent’s ac­tions lately are mak­ing her “won­der if he wants to not be re­elected.” But she told The Wash­ing­ton Times in a Face­book mes­sage that she’s more con­cerned about a sprawl­ing con­ser­va­tion bill that Mr. Trump signed last month than his ac­tions on im­mi­gra­tion and bor­der se­cu­rity.

“I think he is do­ing a great job,” she said. “I think we need the wall [and] more se­cu­rity at the bor­der. I will prob­a­bly vote for him again be­cause I don’t want to see the Democrats undo ev­ery­thing he’s done.”

Wanda Herbert of Hart­selle, Alabama, said in a Face­book post that the pres­i­dent can’t fix the bor­der prob­lems all by him­self.

“As long as Democrats, lib­er­als and the me­dia con­tin­ues to spew there is no bor­der prob­lem, the crimes com­mit­ted by il­le­gal im­mi­grants are not re­ported to the pub­lic, crim­i­nal il­le­gal im­mi­grants are pro­tected in sanc­tu­ary cities and states, and Trump doesn’t have full sup­port of Repub­li­cans, he can­not do it alone,” she wrote.

But the Fed­er­a­tion for Amer­i­can Im­mi­gra­tion Re­form, which seeks stricter lim­its on le­gal im­mi­gra­tion, said it’s cru­cial for Mr. Trump to nom­i­nate a new DHS sec­re­tary who is “a strong, re­spected out­sider.”

“We’ve seen what hap­pens when he trusts im­mi­gra­tion neo­phytes or Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion holdovers to im­ple­ment his agenda,” the group tweeted.

Mr. Trump came into of­fice promising to straighten out the im­mi­gra­tion sys­tem and strengthen the bor­der. While a gov­ern­ment shut­down and a threat to close the bor­der haven’t eased the mi­grant cri­sis, Repub­li­can consultant Chris Grant of Big Dog Strate­gies of Buf­falo, New York, and Wash­ing­ton said Trump sup­port­ers believe he’s work­ing hard for them.

“The pres­i­dent has done a tremen­dous job show­ing his vot­ers that he’s will­ing to fight the fight that they want him to fight,” Mr. Grant said in an interview. “Repub­li­can vot­ers in­stinc­tively know what a ma­jor cri­sis the bor­der is. Im­mi­gra­tion didn’t get messed up over the course of half of a pres­i­den­tial term. Peo­ple rec­og­nize that.”

As for the po­lit­i­cal risk for Mr. Trump in 2020 without an im­mi­gra­tion so­lu­tion, Mr. Grant said: “The pres­i­dent fight­ing on im­mi­gra­tion is not a bad place for him to be. [His vot­ers] have an advocate in the White House who is not go­ing to take the D.C. es­tab­lish­ment’s word for it.”

Some im­mi­gra­tion hard-lin­ers say the pres­i­dent is fail­ing them, and they’ll hold him ac­count­able next year.

“Pres­i­dent Trump has al­ready lost many for­mer sup­port­ers like us be­cause of nu­mer­ous bro­ken cam­paign prom­ises on the very im­mi­gra­tion is­sues that elected him,” said Wil­liam Gheen, pres­i­dent of the Amer­i­cans for Le­gal Im­mi­gra­tion PAC in Raleigh, North Carolina. “He kept Obama’s [De­ferred Ac­tion for Child­hood Ar­rivals] amnesty in­stead of end­ing it. He con­tin­ues the dis­as­trous catch-and-re­lease pres­i­den­tial poli­cies that are en­cour­ag­ing more car­a­vans and a new un­prece­dented wave of fake asy­lum-seek­ing il­le­gals.”

Worst of all, he said, “Trump and his sur­ro­gate Jared Kush­ner are en­dors­ing and sup­port­ing leg­isla­tive amnesty bills which en­cour­age more il­le­gals to en­ter and re­main in the U.S. un­law­fully while cost­ing the pres­i­dent many base sup­port­ers.”

If the White House backs the DREAM Act pro­posal in the Se­nate that would cre­ate a path to cit­i­zen­ship for up to 2 mil­lion il­le­gal im­mi­grants brought to the U.S. as chil­dren, he said, “the num­ber of Trump sup­port­ers like us leav­ing the Trump train will more than quadru­ple.”

Trump cam­paign deputy Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Di­rec­tor Erin Per­rine said Mr. Trump “is keep­ing his big­gest cam­paign prom­ise to ev­ery Amer­i­can — he is build­ing the wall at the south­ern bor­der.”

“By the end of his first term in of­fice there is ex­pected to be around 450 miles of wall,” she said. “Mean­while, Democrats sit firmly in cri­sis de­nial mode while Pres­i­dent Obama’s own Sec­re­tary of DHS Jeh John­son ac­knowl­edges the se­cu­rity and hu­man­i­tar­ian cri­sis we face. Democrats have op­posed bor­der se­cu­rity at ev­ery turn and even tried to block the pres­i­dent’s dec­la­ra­tion of a na­tional emer­gency at the bor­der.”

Ms. Per­rine said in a state­ment, “When it comes to bor­der se­cu­rity and fight­ing to curb il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion, Amer­ica knows no big­ger cham­pion than Pres­i­dent Trump. He will con­tinue to fight for the safety and se­cu­rity of ev­ery Amer­i­can.”

Pres­i­dent Trump’s man­age­ment shake-up at the Depart­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity is serv­ing as a flash point for those who care deeply about Mr. Trump’s agenda of bor­der se­cu­rity.

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