In less than a month in the White House and the first time he addresses both houses of Congress, President Trump uttered the magic words when it comes to the most toxic and contentious topic in American politics: "Immigration reform," qualified by the word "compromise." For that reason, I believe Trump will be to immigration what Nixon was to China.
Nixon was able to open the door to the most populous communist country in the world because everyone knew where he stood on communism.
With two anti-immigration executive orders and hundreds of undocumented deported in the first month of his administration — with no let-up in sight — everyone knows that Mr. Trump is categorically and unequivocally anti-illegal immigration.
Since Ronald Reagan — 30 years ago — no president has had the political capital or political will to fix a system that is broken.
In 2001, President George W. Bush and Vicente Fox of Mexico were on the verge of achieving a comprehensive immigration reform law nicknamed "the Whole Enchilada," but then 9/11 happened, and the rest is history.
Another ray of hope came with President Obama’s promises, but in the end he spent his political capital where his heart really was at: Obamacare, not the Hispanics.
President Trump has a flair for the dramatic and being unpredictable.
Nothing would give him more satisfaction than to prove his detractors wrong on one of his most vulnerable issues. Immigration reform could alter dramatically the way he is perceived by the largest minority in the country that now feels maligned by him, and this shift in perception could translate into potentially thousands of new votes in 2020.
With Trump’s victory, coming to America, the way we have known it in the last 50 years is over.
Merit immigration will be the ticket for the foreseeable future.
Immigrants with high-skills (doctors, engineers, scientists) will be welcomed in; low-skilled immigrants not so much.
But in the end, the business owners of America will give the president a reality check; and literally, the facts on the ground will be a further reminder to the White House of something federal laws cannot overlook: working hands.
President Eisenhower deported almost one million Mexicans in 1954, but he complemented the move with a robust guest worker program — the working hands; otherwise, Americans would not have had fruits and vegetables on their tables.
Also, "chain immigration," courtesy of the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, will be a thing of the past.
This law was single-handedly responsible for the ingress of over 50 million immigrants in 50 years.
Today, there is great concern among conservatives that this constant resupply of foreigners has weakened the forces of assimilation, threatening the American cultural identity at its core.
I would only say to them: Have more faith in American Exceptionalism. The United States still has the power to perform the miracle of transubstantiation: transforming the identity of an immigrant into that of an American by the second generation. I am the best proof of that, along with millions of Chinese, Hungarians, and Mexicans.
The president’s critics will seize on his obsession with the Mexican wall and criminal aliens, as evidence that he is rabidly anti-immigrant.
I understand how these themes feed into that narrative, but his critics ignore the fact that Mr. Trump is paving the way to bring to life what has been impossible for both parties for 30 years, including giving the opportunity for close to 11 million with a marginal existence to come out of the shadows.
Mr. Trump controls the House and the Senate. His party and his base will have to live with some type of legal status for the undocumented; and these, for their part, will have to adjust to life without citizenship, at least for now.
The Democrats should not sabotage the project because it would be a blow to one of their most important constituencies — the Hispanics. Neither conservatives nor liberals will be pleased; but that is precisely why politics is the art of the possible.
Besides, they can’t cast stones at Trump because Mr. Obama deported more illegal aliens than any other president in history.
If Mr. Trump pulls this off, it would be a great moment for our country — no more television images of deportations, families separated, and invidious comparisons between immigration agents and Nazi Germany.
For Mr. Trump, it would be such a monumental achievement, and one that will cement his legacy, alongside Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, as a leader who had the courage to cross the Rubicon.
Elvira Salazar is a five-time Emmy award-winning broadcast journalist and news anchor of MEGA TV. Salazar has covered all the major news events in the past 25 years and is the leading expert on Latin American affairs and the U.S. Hispanic community. She has interviewed many dignitaries including Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush and she was the only U.S. Spanish language television journalist to obtain a one-on-one interview with Cuban leader Fidel Castro before his death. Salazar wrote her first book, "If God Be With You, Who Shall Be Against You?" selling out the first edition in three months. She holds a B.A. in Communication from the University of Miami and earned her Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. To read more of her reports — Click Here Now.
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