Why Trump’s Policies May Help Him in the Polls, but Hurt Him in the Pockets
As a liberal-leaning democrat and daughter of an immigrant father, I should be the last to say that I think Donald Trump is an effective politician. But as much as it pains me to say it, he is. Like any “effective” politician, he responds to the polls before the people, to prominent media outlets before his own ideological views. Some may disagree; people will tell me that if anything, Trump has a way of voicing his opinionstoo freely. Those same people will say that his ability to “tell it like it is” might be the only reason he has been doing so well in the Republican polls. But don’t let his objectionable rhetoric and impromptu speaking style fool you: Donald Trump’s “unwavering belief” in his policies is about as fake as his toupé.
Trump has made plenty of off-handed statements about illegal immigration. It seems to be the focal point of his campaign (that, and his real estate). From calling illegal immigrants rapists to accusing them of stealing social security benefits the vast majority of them don’t even qualify for, Trump has been able to appease even the most right-wing conservatives. But now that he has satisfied the far-right, Trump is making moves towards the middle-right and more conservative left.
What differentiates a presidential candidate from the average voter is that they can take active political measures to rectify certain social, economic, and political issues. The ability to put word into law is what makes the President’s position so sacrosanct. The issue with Trump’s campaign is that while he is willing to talk about how much he hates illegal immigration and why it’s so bad for the economy, he seldom makes statements about what measures he will take to fix this so-called problem.
In the beginning of his campaign, he said he wanted to “build a wall along the border and make Mexico pay for it.” Trump also said that “invading Mexico” seemed like a solid countermeasure. But that was then, and amidst his fiery rhetoric, die-hard conservatives have overlooked his under-publicized new policy statements. When recently interviewed by Bill O’Reilly from Fox News, his shift left became increasingly apparent. Trump told O’Reilly, “We have to do something, so whether it’s merit, or whether it’s whatever, but – I’m a believer in the merit system. Somebody’s been outstanding, we ought to try to work something out.”
Trump went from advocating for a Mexican invasion to a merit-based system of immigration. He went from advocating a Great Wall built by a check under Mexico’s name to heightened border security. He went from calling all illegal immigrants criminals to finally acknowledging them as people.+
I don’t have a problem with his newer, more moderate policies. What I do have a problem with, however, is the fact that he is pushing the same policies as President Obama. When I went on the White House’s official website, the three main objectives/measures taken by Obama are almost verbatim the same as those now being pushed by Trump. Those three objectives? To crack down on illegal immigration at the border, deport felons (not families), and hold immigrants accountable for criminal and financial background checks. Under this light, Trump’s policies are no longer avant-garde. They are deja-vu. And though his rhetoric about illegal immigrants remains highly contentious and overwhelmingly offensive, his political actions only mirror the status quo.
That’s not the only reason why I think Donald Trump is a hypocrite. I find it repulsive that a man who is running a one-policy platform on illegal immigration hires undocumented workers to build his estates. When building Trump Tower in DC, he hired over 200 undocumented Polish workers to demolish the old Bonwit Teller building. Upon media discovery of this enormous display of hypocrisy, he claimed to have “no knowledge” of their legal status.
But there are laws in place specifically designed to combat these “no knowledge” statements. To have “no knowledge” of their legal status means that Trump has no knowledge of current immigration law, particularly hiring laws (ironic, considering that his primary issue with illegal immigration is that they take away jobs from Americans).
To have “unknowingly” circumvented the law and hired these 200 undocumented demolition workers, Trump would have had to completely disregard the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (an act that Trump has often praised for its objectives). The IRCA requires employers to complete an I-9 documentation process for each employee to verify the legal status of their workers. Trump and his contractors would have had to gather and maintain tendered, genuine, and authentic documentation from each employee. For someone who is so against illegal immigration, Trump should have been the champion of IRCA regulation. But while I will concede that one or two undocumented workers evading the I-9 process could be considered a mistake, to overlook 200 undocumented workers? That screams far more than a mere mistake or coincidence.
The very man who based his platform around immigration law has a blatant disregard for the ones already in place. It’s not that I have a problem with immigrants working – I support any man or woman who comes to the country seeking opportunity. But I have a problem knowing that Trump’s entire platform is solely rhetoric and nothing else. He shifts his policies and positions based on voting numbers, and he says whatever sells. While he only talks about illegal immigration, he fails to follow existing protocol for it.
Trump may be an effective or even enjoyable politician to watch, but if there is anything conservative America hates more than illegal immigration, it’s a hypocrite.