- By John Krull
INDIANAPOLIS – President Donald Trump has a spectacular set of gifts.
He is the master, bar none, of “solving” problems that don’t exist and making the ones that do exist even worse.
John Krull, publisher, TheStatehouseFile.com
Trump’s decision to end former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – DACA – is a perfect example of this president’s expertise at making almost any situation worse.
DACA provides – well, soon we’ll have to use the past tense and go with “provided” – young people known as “Dreamers” with some security. The “Dreamers” are young folks who came to this country as small children, even babies. For many or most of them, this is the only country they ever have known.
President Trump’s arguments for ending DACA are transparent nonsense. He says the United States is being overwhelmed by an ever-increasing flood of “illegal” – actually, the proper term is “undocumented” – immigrants who are little more than parasites who drain our resources and contribute nothing in return. He’s even proposed slicing legal immigration in half so that America can get more “good” immigrants who will help us prosper.
He’s wrong on every point.
The truth is that the rate of immigration – documented or undocumented – has been slowing steadily over the past decade. This is particularly true regarding Mexico, along whose border Trump wants to build an expensive and pointless wall.
The reason for this downward trend is obvious to all those who care about facts, a group that does not include this president among its members.
Many people came north from Mexico when that country’s economy was a shambles and jobs were scarce.
Mexico’s unemployment rate in July – the most recent month for which information is available – was 3.4 percent. That’s close to economists’ definition of full employment.
That’s why many undocumented immigrants had started returning home even before Donald Trump started shaking his fist in their direction. They came here because they couldn’t find jobs at home. Once they could find jobs at home, many of them went home.
But they didn’t leave before they helped us.
Virtually every reputable study of the subject has produced the same results – undocumented immigrants pay at least twice as much in taxes as they consume in government services.
Thus, they help to fund the tax cuts for the wealthiest U.S. citizens that the president and his Republican allies say are essential for our continued economic success. Making it harder for these hard-working, taxpaying immigrants to subsidize many U.S. services they can’t even use themselves is a textbook instance of cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face.
Even the contention that we’re only getting uneducated, poorly skilled workers is false. The percentages of college graduates immigrating to the United States has increased steadily. It now sits at 48 percent – quite respectable, given that three of five native-born Americans don’t have college degrees.
Trump’s war on immigrants has prompted many critics to call him mean and heartless.
The criticism is valid, but limiting.
A more valid charge would be that what he’s doing is just plain stupid.
At this moment, we Americans face a serious threat from North Korea, perhaps the only nation on earth with a leader more irrational than our own. The North Korean government has been egged on in its aggressive actions – which have included testing particularly nasty nuclear weapons – by Russia.
In the face of grave external danger, America’s great presidents – think Washington, Lincoln, both Roosevelts, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy and Reagan – have sought to bring us together to face the common threat.
Not Donald Trump.
Intimidated, for whatever reason, by the strong man who leads Russia, our divider-in-chief and his administration send mixed messages to the deluded figure leading North Korea and instead focus on making war on children who wanted nothing more of America than the chance to work hard, pay taxes and build good lives.
Donald Trump, who loves to boast about how “tough” he is, can’t find the nerve to confront Vladimir Putin or the discipline to check his facts before he speaks.
But this president can pick fights with children, many of whom can’t even fight back.
Some tough guy.
John Krull is director of Franklin College’s Pulliam School of Journalism, host of “No Limits” WFYI 90.1 Indianapolis and publisher of TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.