By PERRY DIAZ
Since Donald J. Trump was elected President, legal and illegal immigrants are no longer safe from deportation even when they follow the law to a tee. According to news reports, the Trump administration is “expected to issue a proposal in coming weeks that would make it harder for legal immigrants and illegal immigrants to become citizens.” Other reports said that Trump’s plan to deport them, which doesn’t need congressional approval, was part of White House senior adviser Stephen Miller’s plan to limit the number of immigrants who could obtain legal status in the U.S. each year. His goal is to cut legal immigration in half and get rid of all illegal immigrants.
Who is Stephen Miller?
Stephen Miller is Trump’s 32-year old senior policy advisor, speechwriter, anti-immigration policy chief, and right-hand troll. A known provocateur, Miller is a white nationalist who supports rightwing, white supremacist, and alt-right causes. An observer once described him as someone who “likes getting s rise out of people in a very sociopathic way.”
In his job in the White House, Miller developed policies such as the barring of individuals from Muslim majority countries, cuts to legal immigration, family separation, and the rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). He used his influence in the White House to subvert bipartisan legislation that would have provided permanent protections for “Dreamers.” Dreamers are the young people – mostly Hispanic – who benefitted from former President Barack Obama’s DACA executive order when the DREAM Act — Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors — failed to pass in Congress several times. In September 2017, Trump rescinded DACA that has kept nearly 800,000 young immigrants from deportation since 2012. Recently, he fashioned Trump’s controversial “Zero Tolerance Policy” that forcibly separated migrant children from their parents at the US-Mexico border. And now, Miller’s ultimate dream of ridding the country of immigrants is about to become a reality.
But Miller seems to be running away from reality in regard to his family roots. His uncle David Glosser, a retired neuropsychologist and Miller’s uncle on his mother’s side, said that Miller’s great-great-grandfather Wolf-Leib Glosser left the village of Antopol in what is now Belarus amid “violent anti-Jewish pogroms” there and came to the US. He landed on Ellis Island in 1903 and within a few years was able to bring over the rest of his family.
“I have watched with dismay and increasing horror as my nephew, who is an educated man and well aware of his heritage, has become the architect of immigration policies that repudiate the very foundation of our family’s life in this country,” Glosser wrote.
Miller’s master plan is to deport immigrants – legal and illegal – based on what he believed are “violations” of immigration laws. His rulemaking proposal targets legal immigrants (green card holders) in the U.S. who have used or whose household members have used the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Food Stamp and other social programs, including the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for the aged. For participating in these social programs, illegal immigrants could be hindered from obtaining legal status, while legal immigrants’ application for citizenship could be imperiled. In both cases, “violators” could be deported. Those hardest hit are immigrants, mostly people of color, who are working in low-paying jobs that are not enough to support their families.
The crux of the matter is in a document called “affidavit of support,” which is required of all sponsors to execute. Basically, it is a document an individual (sponsor) signs to accept financial responsibility for another person (new immigrant), usually a relative, who is coming to the United States to live permanently. An affidavit of support is legally enforceable; the sponsor’s responsibility usually lasts until the family member or other individual either becomes a U.S. citizen, or can be credited with 40 quarters of work (usually 10 years). [Source: US Citizenship and Immigration Services]
The anti-immigrant blueprint designed by Miller and his white nationalist cohorts in the Trump administration first came to fruition in the early months of the Trump presidency. The White House is currently reviewing the draft and once Trump approves it, it will be published in the Federal Register; thus, making it a law of the land.
One of the groups that would be hardest hit by Miller’s anti-immigration initiative are elderly immigrants who were sponsored by their children under the Family Reunification law, which Trump refers to as “chain migration.” Since a majority of them were admitted to the U.S. in their senior years, they don’t have Social Security benefits and therefore don’t have any earnings or income. As such, they would qualify to receive SSI benefits. In addition, SSI is also used to help blind and disabled people, who have little or no income. It also provides cash to meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter.
The Family Reunification law allows the immigration of “immediate relatives” of US citizens, which is not subject to any annual visa numerical limits. Immediate relatives are: (1) Spouses and unmarried children of US citizens; (2) Parents of US citizens; and (3) Widows, widowers, and children of deceased US citizens.
Another anti-immigration policy that Miller has been working on is “chain migration.” On January 8, 2018, The Hill reported: “Miller pushed the White House message on immigration reform, calling for a border wall and an end to ‘chain’ migration, the process by which an immigrant can petition to bring family members to the United States, as well as the adjustment of the country’s visa lottery system.” But didn’t Miller realize that it was chain migration that made it possible for his family to enter the U.S. beginning in 1903?
It is interesting to note New York Times’ headline on August 9, 2018 that says: “Melania Trump’s Parents Become U.S. Citizens, Using ‘Chain Migration’ Trump Hates.” The report said that Trump’s Slovenian in-laws, Viktor and Amalija Knavs, became US citizens by taking advantage of the Family Reunification program. When their lawyer, Michael Wildes, was asked if the Knavses had obtained citizenship through “chain migration,” which Trump has repeatedly and vehemently denounced, he said, “I suppose. Chain migration is a ‘dirtier’ way of characterizing the bedrock of our immigration process when it comes to family reunification.”
Among the ethnic groups of immigrants that would suffer most under these changes to immigration laws are Filipinos. Filipinos, who are known for their close family ties, are arguably the largest group of citizens and legal immigrants who have sponsored their elderly parents to avail of Family Reunification Laws.
One month into Trump’s administration, a draft executive order under consideration would have widespread chilling effects for legal immigrants including the prospective ones who have been waiting for many years – as much as 20 years — to reunify with their relatives. Trump started attacking the process of sponsoring relatives as “chain immigration” and he vowed to stop it. But it’s not limited to legal immigrants. He also targeted illegal immigrants.
Once implemented, this sinister attempt to punish immigrants could result in mass deportation of an estimated 20 million legal and illegal immigrants — Filipinos and other people of color. At no time in US history had this uprooting of immigrant families had been tried before. However, the large number of Filipinos working in the healthcare industry could have a crippling effect in hospitals, clinics, medical and nursing professions, and the elderly care home industry, which is growing fast due to the 60 million aging “baby boomers.”
If Trump proceeds with the deportation of an estimated 20 million immigrants, the result could be catastrophic to the healthcare, agricultural, hotel and entertainment, sanitation, information technology, and other industries, which would have a crippling effect on the economy for lack of qualified professionals and skilled workers. (firstname.lastname@example.org/PerryDiaz@gmail.com)