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Biden can win on immigration The Democrats can outflank the GOP on the border crisis

Will Biden build a wall? (HERIKA MARTINEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

Will Biden build a wall? (HERIKA MARTINEZ/AFP via Getty Images)


December 1, 2022   6 mins

Inflation, crime, and immigration were the three big issues that were supposed to power a Republican “red wave” in the midterms. That didn’t happen, but these problems remain as real and as urgent as ever. Should they remain unresolved, they could easily power a Republican victory in 2024.

Yet there is not much President Biden and the Democrats can do about two of these issues. Inflation stems from endemic problems in the supply-side capacities of the economy that will likely take a long time to fix. Crime, meanwhile, is heavily dependent on the actions of state and local governments.

That leaves immigration. This might seem an odd choice: with talk of an ongoing border crisis, immigration is the one issue that Republicans own and Democrats struggle with. But a defining feature of the Biden administration has been its ability to “flip the script” on critics on either side of the political spectrum.

Where the Left wing of the Democratic Party once derided Biden as an out-of-touch “neoliberal” dinosaur, he ended up passing the most far-reaching progressive economic reforms in years. Where Republicans tried to depict him as a hostage to his party’s activist base, he has repudiated that base’s extremist slogans and refused to be tarred as a radical “socialist”. Indeed, when the president withdrew from Afghanistan in August last year, he ended up flipping the script on the anti-interventionist Right. At least one conservative was honest enough to recognise it at the time: an ecstatic Ann Coulter tweeted: “Thank you, President Biden, for keeping a promise Trump made, but then abandoned when he got to office
 ” She even wondered out loud: “At this rate, maybe he’ll build the wall.”

This begs the question: what if Biden did build the wall? Or, to put it more seriously, given that Biden actually stopped building what little of the wall had actually been commissioned by Trump, what if Biden fixed, or at least seriously improved, US immigration policy? This might not be as hard as it seems. The first thing to note is that his predecessor, Donald Trump, did not achieve much on immigration. The GOP had full control of the US government for Trump’s first two years as president. Yet Republicans failed again and again to pass comprehensive immigration reform when there was nothing stopping them. Exposing this Republican record of posturing would be the ideal place to start a political counteroffensive on immigration now that Trump is officially a candidate for president again.

There were proposals floated in Trump’s time such as the 2017 RAISE Act, which would have ended family reunification as the basis of US immigration policy, and the two Goodlatte bills of 2018, which authorised generous funding for the wall and other more serious policies. But these came to nothing: the former was not even voted on while the latter bills met with only erratic support from the White House and were defeated by Republicans themselves.

The one policy that could conceivably fix the US immigration system is “Mandatory E-Verify” (included in one of the Goodlatte bills), which would require employers to use the E-Verify system to ensure that new hires are in the country legally. Enshrining this requirement in federal law and imposing fines on employers found in violation would radically shift the emphasis of enforcement from the supply to the demand side, killing the incentive structure that fuels much illegal immigration.

What is shocking (but not surprising) is that Mandatory E-Verify was effectively opposed by Trump and most GOP lawmakers. Asked point blank on Fox News if he supported the idea, Trump was blunt: “It’s a very tough thing to ask [employers] to go through that. So, in a certain way, I speak against myself, but you also have to have a world of some practicality.”

The reason Trump prefers instead to talk about a border wall is because it is a mostly symbolic rather than systemic resolution to illegal immigration. Consider that in recent years more than half of illegal immigrants to the US have come through legal visa overstays instead of crossing the southern border, something that will not be fixed by a wall. (Interestingly, the man who attacked Paul Pelosi with a hammer, David DePape, is a visa overstay from Canada.) Too many in the American business class, in red states as well as blue, suffer from an addiction to cheap, precarious migrant labour. Trump himself regularly and prodigiously employed undocumented workers in his various properties right up until the middle of his presidency.

Ron DeSantis is no different. He merely copied Trump’s theatrical approach to the immigration issue, which privileges attention-grabbing stunts — such as flying migrants to Martha’s Vineyard — over substantive policy. As Florida Governor, DeSantis signed an E-Verify bill that was widely seen as toothless. One disgruntled state senator described it as “fake E-Verify… optional E-Verify.”

Even those Trump-era policies worth preserving originally came with caveats and qualifications. For instance, while Trump imposed restrictions like Title 42 during the pandemic — expelling those who have recently been in a country where Covid was present — he did so while looking to make exceptions for low-skill migrant workers and high-net worth immigrant investors. Yes, Trump established “Remain in Mexico”, formally the Migrant Protection Protocols. But its promise was bungled by sloppy execution, since it failed to actually protect migrants from gangs, leaving one to wonder just how tenable such a chaotic scheme would have been as a long-term fix if, for instance, Trump won a second term.

Biden cancelled it, but there is no good reason why he cannot ultimately retain its premise, bring it back in new form, and improve on its execution. Admittedly, this would be a challenge. Both the expansive application of Title 42 and the “Remain in Mexico” programme were discretionary policies borne of executive prerogative and, as such, are especially vulnerable to being overturned by the courts. With that in mind, Biden would need to integrate border security measures into a comprehensive immigration reform law — something Trump and the Republican congressional leadership have shown themselves uninterested in passing.

In retrospect, it should now be clear that governing was the last thing conservatives cared about. Trump relished the media spectacle of a perpetual migrant crisis: an endless state of siege that he could exploit but never truly had to resolve. What better way, then, for Biden to asphyxiate the Trumpian Right than by actually resolving the issue? The way to do it would be to incorporate Mandatory E-Verify into the stalled Biden immigration bill that sits in Congress, and to make that measure the centerpiece of the administration’s messaging. The Democrats, in other words, can call the GOP’s bluff on immigration by presenting a bill that goes even further than what they were willing to entertain under Trump, whose presidential campaign they could kneecap.

Such a pivot would be politically difficult. It would involve the administration going over the heads of the bleeding hearts — and organised NGOs and lobbying groups — in their own base, who will accuse the president of being Trumpier than Trump. But Biden can always turn to centre-Left parties in Canada, New Zealand and Denmark for advice on how to craft distinctly progressive rationales for regulating immigration, which in those countries has worked to deflate the electoral prospects of Right-wing parties. It should be noted, for instance, that Justin Trudeau’s Canada has its own wall and its own version of Mandatory E-Verify.

Or closer to home, he could enlist the likes of Bernie Sanders on the Left and border Democrats like Representative Vicente Gonzalez in the centre, who have argued in favour of taking sensible stands against both Trumpian xenophobia and open-borders utopianism. The administration might even call it “the Sanders-Gonzalez immigration bill” and watch the activist Left accuse it of being racist.

Even better, Democrats could join firm immigration enforcement at home with generous humanitarian aid in Central America and reframe the policy as a “New Alliance for Progress” in the vein of JFK, thereby converting immigration from a conservative-owned issue into an authentically progressive policy landmark.

Democratic Senator Chris Murphy recently wrote an op-ed advising his party to “to outflank the fake, anti-neoliberal populism of the Right” by countering globalisation with a progressive “economic nationalism”. And while Democrats have had no problems restraining the cross-border flows of capital and goods that constitute globalisation, they have hesitated to do the same for cross-border flows of labour. Flipping the script on immigration would allow them to do just that — and clear all confusion as to which party can best govern in a post-globalised era.

Settling the immigration issue would embarrass Republicans and grant Biden the political capital he could then expend on trying to resolve the other big issues such as inflation and the economy or even crime. Political greatness comes to those leaders who can transcend ideological boundaries in creative and ambitious ways. Just as it was Nixon who went to China and Bismarck who founded the first welfare state, it might just fall on “Brandon” to control the southern border.


Michael Cuenco is a writer on policy and politics. He is Associate Editor at American Affairs.

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Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
1 year ago

Let me get this strait. No border crisis under Trump, but massive border crisis under Biden (which Trump gets no credit for and Biden gets no blame for), and all Biden needs to do is a complete change of course on a glaring problem he refuses to even acknowledge exists. Somehow we are also supposed to ignore repeated Democrat efforts to sabotage border enforcement efforts. Not to mention calling everyone who even tries to do so a racist. What am I even reading!? Yeah, if you completely rewrite reality you can do anything!
Edit: One more thing to add. With Biden’s actions so far and the fact that we are already over halfway into his first term, if he does change course it will not be seen as “winning”. It will be seen as caving to public pressure.

Last edited 1 year ago by Matt Hindman
Thomas Wagner
Thomas Wagner
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Preach it, brother. The author’s proposals sound even sillier in the face of the last couple of Biden actions
First, quietly, very quietly setting up a process where select immigrants are signed up in Mexico, brought across the border fifteen or twenty at a time and turned loose upon their promise to report to immigration authorities at some (undefined) future time: This undercuts the mob by doing for free what they used to charge for.
Second, installing as chief of the southern Border Patrol districts a man who was on record as despising the Border Patrol and all it stood for. That person is now being forced to resign after a major stink in which many Border Patrolmen threatened to quit. The first policy remains in force.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

For starters, Biden hasn’t done anything. His Progressive handlers – Ron Klain, Susan Rice etc are doing his bidding…

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

The politicization of things like immigration destroys culture. Its indicative when border states start shipping the problem to woke metro jurisdictions that federal politics has failed.

Thomas Wagner
Thomas Wagner
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Preach it, brother. The author’s proposals sound even sillier in the face of the last couple of Biden actions
First, quietly, very quietly setting up a process where select immigrants are signed up in Mexico, brought across the border fifteen or twenty at a time and turned loose upon their promise to report to immigration authorities at some (undefined) future time: This undercuts the mob by doing for free what they used to charge for.
Second, installing as chief of the southern Border Patrol districts a man who was on record as despising the Border Patrol and all it stood for. That person is now being forced to resign after a major stink in which many Border Patrolmen threatened to quit. The first policy remains in force.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

For starters, Biden hasn’t done anything. His Progressive handlers – Ron Klain, Susan Rice etc are doing his bidding…

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

The politicization of things like immigration destroys culture. Its indicative when border states start shipping the problem to woke metro jurisdictions that federal politics has failed.

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
1 year ago

Let me get this strait. No border crisis under Trump, but massive border crisis under Biden (which Trump gets no credit for and Biden gets no blame for), and all Biden needs to do is a complete change of course on a glaring problem he refuses to even acknowledge exists. Somehow we are also supposed to ignore repeated Democrat efforts to sabotage border enforcement efforts. Not to mention calling everyone who even tries to do so a racist. What am I even reading!? Yeah, if you completely rewrite reality you can do anything!
Edit: One more thing to add. With Biden’s actions so far and the fact that we are already over halfway into his first term, if he does change course it will not be seen as “winning”. It will be seen as caving to public pressure.

Last edited 1 year ago by Matt Hindman
Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
1 year ago

Wow. This author sure knows how to ramble, on and on and on, without ever saying much. I think he woke up feeling ornery and decided to do some writin’. No need to add that he gave no support to any of the claims he made in his unexceptional piece. ï»żBasically, Trump bad, Biden good. His article in four words. Unherd, and its long-suffering readers deserve better than this.

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
1 year ago

Wow. This author sure knows how to ramble, on and on and on, without ever saying much. I think he woke up feeling ornery and decided to do some writin’. No need to add that he gave no support to any of the claims he made in his unexceptional piece. ï»żBasically, Trump bad, Biden good. His article in four words. Unherd, and its long-suffering readers deserve better than this.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago

This article completely ignores the fact that the Democrats and their Wall Street backers actually want more immigration. That’s been the entire point of Mayorka’s policies (or lack of policies).

Jim McDonnell
Jim McDonnell
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Many of the people who could solve the problem of illegal immigration don’t regard it as a problem. They want the immigrants here but they want them here illegally so they won’t dare complain if they’re underpaid, overworked, housed for exorbitant rent in places not really fit for human habitation.

Jim McDonnell
Jim McDonnell
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Many of the people who could solve the problem of illegal immigration don’t regard it as a problem. They want the immigrants here but they want them here illegally so they won’t dare complain if they’re underpaid, overworked, housed for exorbitant rent in places not really fit for human habitation.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago

This article completely ignores the fact that the Democrats and their Wall Street backers actually want more immigration. That’s been the entire point of Mayorka’s policies (or lack of policies).

Terry M
Terry M
1 year ago

Inflation stems from endemic problems in the supply-side capacities of the economy that will likely take a long time to fix.
This is just one of numerous deranged and erroneous statements by the author. Inflation comes from monetary policy and spending. Ignore this fool.

Last edited 1 year ago by Terry M
Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Terry M

Perhaps English is not his first language?

Thomas Wagner
Thomas Wagner
1 year ago

Economics is certainly not his discipline.

Michael Cuenco
Michael Cuenco
1 year ago
Reply to  Thomas Wagner

Looks like “discharging bull’s excrement through the mouth” is the name of your special discipline, Thomas. You’re certainly the best one at that here.

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Cuenco

Can someone please get rid of this “author”? He’s abusing readers, name-calling, mudslinging, and generally bringing down the tone of Unherd to the level of a pigsty. I appreciate hearing from all levels of society, but this fellow isn’t even trying to engage on a respectful and factual level.

Michael Cuenco
Michael Cuenco
1 year ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

Miss Karen at the critic’s corner over here can’t handle a little free speech and goes complaining to the manager, demanding to cancel someone she doesn’t like…
So let me get this straight, Terry is allowed to call me a “fool” with “deranged” ideas, and I say the same thing to him–but I’m the one that’s name-calling and bringing things to the level of a pigsty?? Terry’s a gentleman, but I’m a scoundrel? How does that bloody work? A man has the right to defend himself, does he not?! Same with Thomas and Allison, whose comments ooze with contempt and condescension… I’ve just returned the favour tenfold to these wonderful human beings, who frankly probably deserve a lot more than that.
Really, the level of collective delusion and hypocrisy and sanctimonious groupthink among you is truly astounding. You certainly don’t need me to debase the quality of discourse. It was already very much a pigsty before I found it … but even to call the kind of commentary you’ve produced a “pigsty” is an insult… to the pigs, who are actually very intelligent animals! I’m sure if they could talk and offer opinions, they’d put you all to shame.

Michael Cuenco
Michael Cuenco
1 year ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

Miss Karen at the critic’s corner over here can’t handle a little free speech and goes complaining to the manager, demanding to cancel someone she doesn’t like…
So let me get this straight, Terry is allowed to call me a “fool” with “deranged” ideas, and I say the same thing to him–but I’m the one that’s name-calling and bringing things to the level of a pigsty?? Terry’s a gentleman, but I’m a scoundrel? How does that bloody work? A man has the right to defend himself, does he not?! Same with Thomas and Allison, whose comments ooze with contempt and condescension… I’ve just returned the favour tenfold to these wonderful human beings, who frankly probably deserve a lot more than that.
Really, the level of collective delusion and hypocrisy and sanctimonious groupthink among you is truly astounding. You certainly don’t need me to debase the quality of discourse. It was already very much a pigsty before I found it … but even to call the kind of commentary you’ve produced a “pigsty” is an insult… to the pigs, who are actually very intelligent animals! I’m sure if they could talk and offer opinions, they’d put you all to shame.

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Cuenco

Can someone please get rid of this “author”? He’s abusing readers, name-calling, mudslinging, and generally bringing down the tone of Unherd to the level of a pigsty. I appreciate hearing from all levels of society, but this fellow isn’t even trying to engage on a respectful and factual level.

Michael Cuenco
Michael Cuenco
1 year ago
Reply to  Thomas Wagner

Looks like “discharging bull’s excrement through the mouth” is the name of your special discipline, Thomas. You’re certainly the best one at that here.

Michael Cuenco
Michael Cuenco
1 year ago

My dachshund’s nocturnal flatulence sounds far more intelligent and eloquent than you’ll ever be in your whole life, so don’t even try, dear … ditto for the rest of you dunderheads on here…

Andy O'Gorman
Andy O'Gorman
1 year ago

That is why I never comment in Spanish, French, German or any other language than the one I am capable of writing in! English.

Agueda Kahabagan
Agueda Kahabagan
1 year ago

Well, your argument is ad hominem. You gotta stick to the issue, not alluding to racial or ethnic profile. It’s called racism and absolutely has no place in a decent discourse. So what’s wrong if English is not the author’s first language? I’m African and I don’t see any problem with that. And if you do a bit of research on the author, he is a policy analyst with a doctorate degree from a top Canadian university. What about you Allison, what are your credentials?? Just saying that people have to be level-headed in discourse, if not fair.

Last edited 1 year ago by Agueda Kahabagan
Thomas Wagner
Thomas Wagner
1 year ago

Economics is certainly not his discipline.

Michael Cuenco
Michael Cuenco
1 year ago

My dachshund’s nocturnal flatulence sounds far more intelligent and eloquent than you’ll ever be in your whole life, so don’t even try, dear … ditto for the rest of you dunderheads on here…

Andy O'Gorman
Andy O'Gorman
1 year ago

That is why I never comment in Spanish, French, German or any other language than the one I am capable of writing in! English.

Agueda Kahabagan
Agueda Kahabagan
1 year ago

Well, your argument is ad hominem. You gotta stick to the issue, not alluding to racial or ethnic profile. It’s called racism and absolutely has no place in a decent discourse. So what’s wrong if English is not the author’s first language? I’m African and I don’t see any problem with that. And if you do a bit of research on the author, he is a policy analyst with a doctorate degree from a top Canadian university. What about you Allison, what are your credentials?? Just saying that people have to be level-headed in discourse, if not fair.

Last edited 1 year ago by Agueda Kahabagan
Michael Cuenco
Michael Cuenco
1 year ago
Reply to  Terry M

Hey Terry, Mrs. Thatcher’s rancid, rotting corpse just called. Said she was calling on behalf of herself and the no less rancid, no less rotting corpses of her two best mates, Milton Friedman and General Pinochet… They said they wanted their ludicrously outdated and one-dimensional monetarist orthodoxies from 1983 back… seems like you’ve been chewing on it for a little too long, Terry, you darned, deranged fool…

Last edited 1 year ago by Michael Cuenco
Agueda Kahabagan
Agueda Kahabagan
1 year ago
Reply to  Terry M

‘Ignore this fool’ doesn’t make you the intelligent one. I’ve followed this author’s essays and he has written a lot for prestigious journals, and I can tell you that his works are all evidence-based and insightful. I’m a researcher myself for an African NGO and I cite the author’s essays quite extensively, particularly on policy issues like immigration. He has a doctorate degree in policy and politics from a top Canadian university. But what about you Terry, what are your credentials?? Just saying, so people here re-think before they open their mouth.

Last edited 1 year ago by Agueda Kahabagan
Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Terry M

Perhaps English is not his first language?

Michael Cuenco
Michael Cuenco
1 year ago
Reply to  Terry M

Hey Terry, Mrs. Thatcher’s rancid, rotting corpse just called. Said she was calling on behalf of herself and the no less rancid, no less rotting corpses of her two best mates, Milton Friedman and General Pinochet… They said they wanted their ludicrously outdated and one-dimensional monetarist orthodoxies from 1983 back… seems like you’ve been chewing on it for a little too long, Terry, you darned, deranged fool…

Last edited 1 year ago by Michael Cuenco
Agueda Kahabagan
Agueda Kahabagan
1 year ago
Reply to  Terry M

‘Ignore this fool’ doesn’t make you the intelligent one. I’ve followed this author’s essays and he has written a lot for prestigious journals, and I can tell you that his works are all evidence-based and insightful. I’m a researcher myself for an African NGO and I cite the author’s essays quite extensively, particularly on policy issues like immigration. He has a doctorate degree in policy and politics from a top Canadian university. But what about you Terry, what are your credentials?? Just saying, so people here re-think before they open their mouth.

Last edited 1 year ago by Agueda Kahabagan
Terry M
Terry M
1 year ago

Inflation stems from endemic problems in the supply-side capacities of the economy that will likely take a long time to fix.
This is just one of numerous deranged and erroneous statements by the author. Inflation comes from monetary policy and spending. Ignore this fool.

Last edited 1 year ago by Terry M
Buena Vista
Buena Vista
1 year ago

With all due respect, Mr. Cuenco, do you keep your head where the sun doesn’t shine?
Your essay flatly ignores the widely-reported news about America’s porous southern border, which more than two million undocumented immgrants crossed in FY 2022, this being but a fraction of the total occurring on Biden’s watch.

Buena Vista
Buena Vista
1 year ago

With all due respect, Mr. Cuenco, do you keep your head where the sun doesn’t shine?
Your essay flatly ignores the widely-reported news about America’s porous southern border, which more than two million undocumented immgrants crossed in FY 2022, this being but a fraction of the total occurring on Biden’s watch.

D.C. Harris
D.C. Harris
1 year ago

Yes, please Joe, do outflank the Republicans and solve the border problem. As a Republican I beg you.

D.C. Harris
D.C. Harris
1 year ago

Yes, please Joe, do outflank the Republicans and solve the border problem. As a Republican I beg you.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago

“Mandatory E-Verify” 
 which would require employers to use the E-Verify system to ensure that new hires are in the country legally.”
Every time government passes the buck onto the private sector the private sector then passes that cost onto the public, either in prices or wages.

Last edited 1 year ago by Brett H
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

So you don’t believe businesses should ensure those they employ are legally allowed to work in the country?

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Do they have to check every application or just “foreigners”?

Last edited 1 year ago by Brett H
Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

I don’t know if it’s like the UK system, but over here the employer checks everyone including those currently employed.
Happened to me, and I didn’t have the require ID because my only photo ID was my passport, which was out of date.

Thomas Wagner
Thomas Wagner
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Dalton

And obviously your identity and your citizenship expired along with your passport.
Ah, the wonders of bureaucracy.

Thomas Wagner
Thomas Wagner
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Dalton

And obviously your identity and your citizenship expired along with your passport.
Ah, the wonders of bureaucracy.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

Presumably it is a check for visa holders. Having a valid SS# would probably eliminate the need for a check. Possibly this could be used as a loophole. I don’t know enough about how closely such things are monitored and/or whether the IRS could easily discover anyone trying to exploit such a loophole. So realistically, it would be better to check everyone.

J. Hale
J. Hale
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Ilegal immigrants can easily get a fake SS card. They all have them. Also some U.S. citizens willingly let illegals use their SSN so they can earn more social security credits for retirement purposes.

Last edited 1 year ago by J. Hale
Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
1 year ago
Reply to  J. Hale

They have been doing that my entire life.

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  J. Hale

Wow I didn’t know that


Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
1 year ago
Reply to  J. Hale

They have been doing that my entire life.

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  J. Hale

Wow I didn’t know that


J. Hale
J. Hale
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Ilegal immigrants can easily get a fake SS card. They all have them. Also some U.S. citizens willingly let illegals use their SSN so they can earn more social security credits for retirement purposes.

Last edited 1 year ago by J. Hale
J. Hale
J. Hale
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

Employers using E-verify have to check all employees.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

Not every application, merely those they offer the job to. I live in NZ but being British I’ve had to show my eligibility to work in the country for every job I’ve had. A quick glance of the work visa or residency status isn’t that onerous

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

I don’t know if it’s like the UK system, but over here the employer checks everyone including those currently employed.
Happened to me, and I didn’t have the require ID because my only photo ID was my passport, which was out of date.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

Presumably it is a check for visa holders. Having a valid SS# would probably eliminate the need for a check. Possibly this could be used as a loophole. I don’t know enough about how closely such things are monitored and/or whether the IRS could easily discover anyone trying to exploit such a loophole. So realistically, it would be better to check everyone.

J. Hale
J. Hale
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

Employers using E-verify have to check all employees.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

Not every application, merely those they offer the job to. I live in NZ but being British I’ve had to show my eligibility to work in the country for every job I’ve had. A quick glance of the work visa or residency status isn’t that onerous

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Do they have to check every application or just “foreigners”?

Last edited 1 year ago by Brett H
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

So you don’t believe businesses should ensure those they employ are legally allowed to work in the country?

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago

“Mandatory E-Verify” 
 which would require employers to use the E-Verify system to ensure that new hires are in the country legally.”
Every time government passes the buck onto the private sector the private sector then passes that cost onto the public, either in prices or wages.

Last edited 1 year ago by Brett H
Pat Rowles
Pat Rowles
1 year ago

“But a defining feature of the Biden administration has been its ability to “flip the scriptmake shit up”.
There – fixed that for you, Michael!

Pat Rowles
Pat Rowles
1 year ago

“But a defining feature of the Biden administration has been its ability to “flip the scriptmake shit up”.
There – fixed that for you, Michael!

Cho Jinn
Cho Jinn
1 year ago

“Yet there is not much President Biden and the Democrats can do about two of these issues.”
Lolwut? Another gem:
“Yes, Trump established “Remain in Mexico”, formally the Migrant Protection Protocols. But its promise was bungled by sloppy execution, since it failed to actually protect migrants from gangs”
Completely upside down, and one wonders if the author doesn’t also believe that “the point” of judicial reform is to have fewer people in prison, rather than lower crime rates. Regardless, I am sure he’s safe from the consequences of any of his political positions.

Cho Jinn
Cho Jinn
1 year ago

“Yet there is not much President Biden and the Democrats can do about two of these issues.”
Lolwut? Another gem:
“Yes, Trump established “Remain in Mexico”, formally the Migrant Protection Protocols. But its promise was bungled by sloppy execution, since it failed to actually protect migrants from gangs”
Completely upside down, and one wonders if the author doesn’t also believe that “the point” of judicial reform is to have fewer people in prison, rather than lower crime rates. Regardless, I am sure he’s safe from the consequences of any of his political positions.

J Bryant
J Bryant
1 year ago

This article raises an interesting possibility which is perhaps not quite as far-fetched as it initially seems. I feel, though, that Biden’s biggest obstacle is putting the onus on employers to verify immigration status. I’ve heard that suggestion, under various administrations, for much of my adult life, and the reason such a policy is never implemented is because it will cost the implementing party votes and donations. Employers will hate it. Nothing has changed in that regard.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

He’d also have to face down the progressive wing of his own party to implement any immigration reform and I genuinely don’t believe he’s capable of doing so

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Unfortunately you’re quite right. It’s also the reason Trump faced such massive resistance to his own immigration efforts. The problem is that there are major factions in both parties that would oppose the common sense policies the author mentions. For Republicans, there are still a fair number of people who oppose any government interference in the private sector, plus small to medium sized business owners who, as in all cases of federal regulation, would find it far more difficult to bear the costs than the megacorporations would. For Democrats, it’s the illegal immigrants themselves, and the urban service industry businesses who probably couldn’t even stay open without illegals. Wall Street will always back immigration on profit principles for the same reason they will always back unrestricted free trade. They look at bottom lines and don’t really care about the human/social/cultural impacts. It’s unlikely either party will ever ‘solve’ this issue because they don’t really want to. Most likely, it will increasingly devolve to the states to limit immigration into their borders and impose limits on employers within the state, which they will do, and the federal government is unlikely to do much about it (see marijuana policy). That will, in turn, geographically skew immigration and deepen the nation’s already deep regional differences. If the author, who seems quite intelligent if rather naive in his faith in government to accomplish things, follows the chain of reasoning to the end, he’ll realize that immigration reform won’t be accomplished without dismantling the current ruling class, and that’s going to take more than just voting in one party or the other. It’s going to be a gradual process of states increasingly acting independently and increasingly ignoring the federal government that gradually moves the US towards a more EU like organization of more or less independent states, possibly aided by conservative court decisions and/or alliances between states or, alternatively, a national revolution led by a Julias Caesar type that harnesses public anger and draws enough public support that no amount of opposition from the elites could or would be able to stop him/her from implementing the popular will. Those are the two viable futures I can see that are or could conceivably be somewhat positive outcomes. I believe them to be the most likely end result of American polarization. .

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

He’d also have to face down the progressive wing of his own party to implement any immigration reform and I genuinely don’t believe he’s capable of doing so

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Unfortunately you’re quite right. It’s also the reason Trump faced such massive resistance to his own immigration efforts. The problem is that there are major factions in both parties that would oppose the common sense policies the author mentions. For Republicans, there are still a fair number of people who oppose any government interference in the private sector, plus small to medium sized business owners who, as in all cases of federal regulation, would find it far more difficult to bear the costs than the megacorporations would. For Democrats, it’s the illegal immigrants themselves, and the urban service industry businesses who probably couldn’t even stay open without illegals. Wall Street will always back immigration on profit principles for the same reason they will always back unrestricted free trade. They look at bottom lines and don’t really care about the human/social/cultural impacts. It’s unlikely either party will ever ‘solve’ this issue because they don’t really want to. Most likely, it will increasingly devolve to the states to limit immigration into their borders and impose limits on employers within the state, which they will do, and the federal government is unlikely to do much about it (see marijuana policy). That will, in turn, geographically skew immigration and deepen the nation’s already deep regional differences. If the author, who seems quite intelligent if rather naive in his faith in government to accomplish things, follows the chain of reasoning to the end, he’ll realize that immigration reform won’t be accomplished without dismantling the current ruling class, and that’s going to take more than just voting in one party or the other. It’s going to be a gradual process of states increasingly acting independently and increasingly ignoring the federal government that gradually moves the US towards a more EU like organization of more or less independent states, possibly aided by conservative court decisions and/or alliances between states or, alternatively, a national revolution led by a Julias Caesar type that harnesses public anger and draws enough public support that no amount of opposition from the elites could or would be able to stop him/her from implementing the popular will. Those are the two viable futures I can see that are or could conceivably be somewhat positive outcomes. I believe them to be the most likely end result of American polarization. .

J Bryant
J Bryant
1 year ago

This article raises an interesting possibility which is perhaps not quite as far-fetched as it initially seems. I feel, though, that Biden’s biggest obstacle is putting the onus on employers to verify immigration status. I’ve heard that suggestion, under various administrations, for much of my adult life, and the reason such a policy is never implemented is because it will cost the implementing party votes and donations. Employers will hate it. Nothing has changed in that regard.

kelly Johnston
kelly Johnston
1 year ago

There is so much wrong with this post; it is hard to know where to start. First, I hope he and his fellow partisan progressive Democrats believe everything he says because it means they will have missed the lessons of the past two elections when they lost some 25 House seats and control of the chamber. Second, he doesn’t understand the cause of inflation – a 40% growth in the money supply, mostly from the misnamed “American Rescue Plan” plus the wasteful infrastructure bill (only 20% is going to infrastructure – it’s a payoff to favored Democratic interests). “Supply chain” issues, driven by labor shortages, are a secondary cause. And third, he doesn’t understand the immigration issue (neither do the people he quotes). Worse, he doesn’t want a bipartisan fix; he wants a partisan slam-down that never works. Republicans have come closer to resolving the issue in the past, only to be torpedoed by mostly Democrats (and a few on the right). Republicans are better poised to craft a bipartisan solution, but Democrats are uninterested in genuine bipartisanship. I’m embarrassed that Unherd ran this drivel.

Agueda Kahabagan
Agueda Kahabagan
1 year ago
Reply to  kelly Johnston

lol

Last edited 1 year ago by Agueda Kahabagan
Agueda Kahabagan
Agueda Kahabagan
1 year ago
Reply to  kelly Johnston

Well, Kelly should attempt to write and submit a rebuttal article to the editorial team of Unherd; let’s see if he gets lucky enough to be published. He’s trying to come across as an expert in economics. So many pseudo-analysts nowadays posturing as the smart ones. Pitiful.

Agueda Kahabagan
Agueda Kahabagan
1 year ago
Reply to  kelly Johnston

lol

Last edited 1 year ago by Agueda Kahabagan
Agueda Kahabagan
Agueda Kahabagan
1 year ago
Reply to  kelly Johnston

Well, Kelly should attempt to write and submit a rebuttal article to the editorial team of Unherd; let’s see if he gets lucky enough to be published. He’s trying to come across as an expert in economics. So many pseudo-analysts nowadays posturing as the smart ones. Pitiful.

kelly Johnston
kelly Johnston
1 year ago

There is so much wrong with this post; it is hard to know where to start. First, I hope he and his fellow partisan progressive Democrats believe everything he says because it means they will have missed the lessons of the past two elections when they lost some 25 House seats and control of the chamber. Second, he doesn’t understand the cause of inflation – a 40% growth in the money supply, mostly from the misnamed “American Rescue Plan” plus the wasteful infrastructure bill (only 20% is going to infrastructure – it’s a payoff to favored Democratic interests). “Supply chain” issues, driven by labor shortages, are a secondary cause. And third, he doesn’t understand the immigration issue (neither do the people he quotes). Worse, he doesn’t want a bipartisan fix; he wants a partisan slam-down that never works. Republicans have come closer to resolving the issue in the past, only to be torpedoed by mostly Democrats (and a few on the right). Republicans are better poised to craft a bipartisan solution, but Democrats are uninterested in genuine bipartisanship. I’m embarrassed that Unherd ran this drivel.

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago

We don’t need immigration reform, we need less immigration. 5 million they let in within the past 2 years is going to accelerate the change of culture in this country. We are seeing an explosion of anti white racism when we are at 60%, what do we think is going to happen when we become less than 50? Most are only here to make money, very few actually care about our ancestors, history or trads. This is a deliberate action taken by this administration to dilute the power of the populace.

Last edited 1 year ago by Kat L
Michael Cuenco
Michael Cuenco
1 year ago
Reply to  Kat L

Reducing immigration presupposes an ability to control immigration and one can only do that by acting on the main factor that sustains immigration, i.e. the demand for immigrant labour on the part of the American business class; that can only be done by strictly regulating the labour market and the most direct and effective way to do that is E-Verify. Sealing the border won’t do as much as you think because outside of crisis periods, like for most years in the last decade, the majority of illegal immigration happens through legal visa overstays, that have nothing to do with the southern land border and which won’t be fixed by a wall.
Mandatory E-Verify (which Trump opposes) will resolve the issue once and for all by embedding detection mechanisms in the everyday workings of the labour market, thus making earning a living extremely difficult, if not impossible, for undocumented migrants–whether they came in from across the border or on a plane–and making hiring them no less extremely difficult, particularly if US employers who violate the policy are punished with steep fines, which would be absolutely imperative at this point.
But you don’t care about the policy or the economics or the actual mechanics and nuances of the issue. Like so many others who claim to be immigration hawks on the right, you only care about the emotional, aesthetic and theatrical dimensions of the immigration issue. This is why you keep getting hoodwinked by the Republicans and their business backers; they sure know how to talk big on the issue but do nothing to change the status quo once they’re in power. Evidently, that’s more than enough for you and most conservatives.

Last edited 1 year ago by Michael Cuenco
Michael Cuenco
Michael Cuenco
1 year ago
Reply to  Kat L

Reducing immigration presupposes an ability to control immigration and one can only do that by acting on the main factor that sustains immigration, i.e. the demand for immigrant labour on the part of the American business class; that can only be done by strictly regulating the labour market and the most direct and effective way to do that is E-Verify. Sealing the border won’t do as much as you think because outside of crisis periods, like for most years in the last decade, the majority of illegal immigration happens through legal visa overstays, that have nothing to do with the southern land border and which won’t be fixed by a wall.
Mandatory E-Verify (which Trump opposes) will resolve the issue once and for all by embedding detection mechanisms in the everyday workings of the labour market, thus making earning a living extremely difficult, if not impossible, for undocumented migrants–whether they came in from across the border or on a plane–and making hiring them no less extremely difficult, particularly if US employers who violate the policy are punished with steep fines, which would be absolutely imperative at this point.
But you don’t care about the policy or the economics or the actual mechanics and nuances of the issue. Like so many others who claim to be immigration hawks on the right, you only care about the emotional, aesthetic and theatrical dimensions of the immigration issue. This is why you keep getting hoodwinked by the Republicans and their business backers; they sure know how to talk big on the issue but do nothing to change the status quo once they’re in power. Evidently, that’s more than enough for you and most conservatives.

Last edited 1 year ago by Michael Cuenco
Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago

We don’t need immigration reform, we need less immigration. 5 million they let in within the past 2 years is going to accelerate the change of culture in this country. We are seeing an explosion of anti white racism when we are at 60%, what do we think is going to happen when we become less than 50? Most are only here to make money, very few actually care about our ancestors, history or trads. This is a deliberate action taken by this administration to dilute the power of the populace.

Last edited 1 year ago by Kat L
Michael Cuenco
Michael Cuenco
1 year ago

Wow! What a marvellous and most interesting comment section we have here! You lot clearly don’t know how to read beyond a first-grade level of comprehension. And judging by your insipid schoolyard insults, low-brow standards of wit, and cringe-inducing Boomer humour, some of you should probably go right back to grade school, put on a big dunce cap, and learn a thing or two about how the world actually bloody works beyond your smug, self-reinforcing pretensions and airtight ideological echo chambers!

My article isn’t saying that Joe Biden is doing a great job on the issue. In fact, I begin by acknowledging “these problems remain as real and as urgent as ever,” and then I link to a BBC article about the ongoing border crisis with stats on border crossings, which you’re all convinced I’m ignoring. I merely then go on to point out that Trump and the GOP aren’t really interested in solving immigration at a systemic level, as evidenced by their utter lack of interest in comprehensive immigration reform when they had full control of Congress in 2017-2018/ their opposition to no-nonsense policies like Mandatory E-Verify–and not to mention, the prodigious and unashamed use of undocumented migrant labour by Donald Trump himself in his various properties… which none of you can seem to process or grapple with for some strange reason…

Therefore, there is a political opening for Biden to outflank the Republicans, as he’s executed similar pivots on other issues in the past, going over the heads of both the right and the left–also linked to in the text. No matter how unlikely or not you lot think it is, it’s a constructive suggestion that’s nonetheless open to the Democrats. And should they take it, it would parallel other center-left parties in places like Denmark, New Zealand, Canada etc. that have gone the same way on immigration.

And for those of you looking for evidence to support these claims, have you noticed these things called “hyperlinks” that are embedded in the underlined portions of the text??? The article is chock full of them! Try clicking on those and they’ll lead you to all the news reports, stats, quotes you’ll need–that is if you can figure out how to read! Here’s a few points worthy of your attention:

1) https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/27/politics/house-immigration-bill-vote/index.html
“House Republicans abandoned a GOP leadership-backed immigration bill Wednesday, the latest setback in the years-long intraparty war between Republicans on the polarizing issue. The bill, which was never expected to pass, failed by an even wider margin than expected – 121-301 – and had far less Republican support than a more conservative bill that failed last week.”

2) https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/in-fox-news-interview-trump-expresses-concern-about-e-verify/2019/05/19/3495ef74-7aa8-11e9-a66c-d36e482aa873_story.html

“The president’s comments about E-Verify draw attention back to the hiring practices of the Trump Organization, which has employed undocumented immigrants as waiters, groundskeepers and housekeepers even as Trump made battling undocumented immigration a signature issue.” 

3) https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/03/02/how-border-apprehensions-ice-arrests-and-deportations-have-changed-under-trump/

Research found that ICE arrests under Trump “remain[ed] far lower than during President Barack Obama’s first term in office,” while deportations of unauthorized immigrants, which stood at 337,287 according to the most recent available full year data “remained below the levels recorded during much of the Obama administration, including a three‑year period between fiscal 2012 and 2014 when there were more than 400,000 per year.”

4) https://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/columnists/tomlinson/article/Trump-promised-action-on-immigration-and-15595224.php?fbclid=IwAR04d9WlPTMF_9fFvds8pilfoi3lCEsbaRQklW2w498jPbbeMNQDODTZKOs

“Barrack Obama’s ICE arrested and deported more than twice as many people during his first term in office.”

5) https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-08-23/e-verify-laws-across-southern-red-states-are-barely-enforced#xj4y7vzkg

“E-Verify Laws Across Southern Red States Are Barely Enforced Even the most anti-immigration states don’t like cracking down on business.”

6) https://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2019/jul/31/senator-touts-bill-on-influx-20190731-1/

“You have something of a silent conspiracy between the left and Republicans who kind of reflexively favor the interests of Big Business,” Cotton told an audience at the National Press Building in Washington, D.C.

7) https://twitter.com/anthonysabatini/status/1278119558566592512

“This is fake E-Verify. People expected mandatory E-Verify; this is the opposite—optional E-Verify,” Rep. Anthony Sabatini, R-Howey-in-the-Hills, told the News Service in March.”

8) https://www.politico.com/news/2020/04/21/trump-immigration-green-card-coronavirus-198498

“Trump’s proclaimed immigration ban will exempt temporary foreign workers, the biggest source of immigration at the moment.”

9) https://www.politico.com/news/2020/03/18/trump-considers-visas-foreign-investors-135985

“The Trump administration is considering a controversial proposal to boost the number of visas offered to wealthy immigrants who invest money in the United States”

10) https://www.npr.org/2019/01/16/686056668/for-seventh-consecutive-year-visa-overstays-exceeded-illegal-border-crossings

“For 7th Consecutive Year, Visa Overstays Exceeded Illegal Border Crossings. As the Trump administration demands funding for a border wall to stop illegal immigration, a new study finds that for the seventh consecutive year, visa overstays far exceeded unauthorized border crossings.”

11) https://en.as.com/latest_news/2022-midterm-elections-immigration-is-a-key-issue-for-border-states-businesses-and-farmers-n/

“The American Farm Bureau Federation, whose members have donated to Republicans at much higher rates than Democrats, believe that the government should avoid taking an “enforcement only approach to immigration” because cracking down on illegal entry, risks the availability of “undocumented workers,””

12) https://time.com/6215753/house-republicans-immigration-plan/

“Though McCarthy’s plan echoes language used by the Republican governors—calls to “secure America’s border,” for example—it offers only vague policy solutions, a move that Brendan Buck, who was an aide to former Republican House Speakers Paul Ryan and John Boehner, says is intentional. The plan is intended to unite Republicans on messaging and differentiate themselves from Democrats, but to keep the language imprecise enough that they would not be beholden to specific policy expectations if they come into power, says Buck, who helped devise similar plans in 2010 and 2016.”

But I’m guessing none of this will make so much as a slight dent on your thick bone-filled craniums. Because all the evidence indicates that scarcely any of you can handle the slightest criticism of your beloved god-king-overlord Trump or conversely any piece of commentary that doesn’t automatically parrot your fanatical “F*ck Brandon/F*ck the Libs/F*ck the Dems” line. Methinks you folks don’t really seek out articles on this site to learn about issues or think critically about anything–you just need writers to constantly stroke your fragile partisan egos and reaffirm what you already know and believe to be the one true right-of-centre orthodoxy on any given subject. Thus, the hostile, unbelieving, and grasping reactions when one strand of contrary information comes you way.

And this is supposed to be the courageous, “free-thinking” crowd that’s gonna save Western civilization from the woke hordes? I hate to break it to you snowflakes but you’re not at all different from the woke progressives you all love to hate. Just look in the mirror, my puerile friends… If you sad, sorry, pathetic lot are Western civilization’s last line of defence, then may God help us all…But don’t ever let me stop you. At the end of the day, I’m just concerned about the state of your hands and arms… must be absolutely exhausting to be part of a non-stop 24/7 ideological circle jerk … but then again, you must all be super-used to it by now… Carry on!

Last edited 1 year ago by Michael Cuenco
Gaz Farnell
Gaz Farnell
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Cuenco

Progressive projection, crystallised.

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Cuenco

Respectfully, Michael, I think you’re mistaking mudslinging for arguing. This isn’t why most of us came to Unherd. I can stand listening to a leftist, but not a rude leftist. Sorry. That’s just how it is.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

Same here.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

Same here.

Buena Vista
Buena Vista
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Cuenco

Ordinarily, Mr. Cuenco, I’d praise you or any writer that would enter into the comment section and engage with the hoi polloi, but your vitriol as dispensed above has disabused me of that notion.
As to the matter at hand, I criticized you here for ignoring Biden’s responsibility for the current border crisis, and I stick to what I said. Look at the dates on the links posted in your comment: 2018, 2019, 2020, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2020, 2019, and finally 2022. Again, you’ve pretty much ignored Biden’s enormous contribution to the problem, but have repeatedly named Donald Trump, and even tried to smear Ron Desantis.
I would posit that you have intentionally ignored the facts; the one goal of your essay was to denigrate Republicans, but current events don’t support your aims.
I find the commentariat here to be quite intelligent and open-minded, but not at all receptive to outlandish theses such as yours herein. Maybe your style of writing is better suited to the Guardian.

Last edited 1 year ago by Buena Vista
Michael Cuenco
Michael Cuenco
1 year ago
Reply to  Buena Vista

The one goal of my essay–and I should know better because I wrote it–is not to denigrate any party but to advance policy (Mandatory E-Verify in particular and border control/labor market regulation in general). That’s what politics should be about at the end of the day, solving problems and governing well, but all you seem to understand is the language of personality, partisanship and tribalism. The policy and reality of immigration enforcement is far less important to you than getting ahead in the culture war. That’s why you can only interpret my criticism of Trump as a personal offence against you and your tribe/in-group; and that’s also why no issues ever get resolved in America these days… you’re not really interested in fixing problems, just in “owning the libs.”

I actually agree wholeheartedly with circa-2016 Trump that controlling immigration is one of the most important issues facing America today. That is all the more reason for me, then, to criticize post-2016 Trump for betraying the original vision he ran on, selling out to neoliberal establishment Republicans, and doing nothing when he and his party had full control of Congress in 2017-18.

I’m acutely aware of the fact that the leaderships of both parties have let down the American people on immigration for generations, and, like I said, there was a time when I put my faith in the Republicans and conservatives as the best chance to move the nation beyond the failed paradigms of neoliberalism and globalism. But the utter laziness and dishonesty of the Trumpian Right on this matter–claiming to be for strong borders and national sovereignty while opposing E-Verify and letting constructive legislation like the RAISE Act and the Goodlatte bills fall by the wayside–leads me to believe that if there is to be a breakthrough, it would sooner come from the Democrats, who are at least marginally less enthralled to rapacious business lobbies like the American Farm Bureau Federation.

What sets Trump apart is the abject and bald-faced hypocrisy of it all. At the very least, Biden never made border control the centerpiece of his rhetoric in such a flamboyant and extravagant way; at least he never did all that while brazenly employing countless undocumented migrants at hotels and golf courses. Ron DeSantis is no better; he’s a servile agent of the same business interests who sold out his state with fake E-Verify, and you think he’ll be able to fix the border crisis with more stunts? I don’t need to smear DeSantis, as you say, he’s smeared himself by his cowardice and utter lack of conviction on the issue.

Now, I understand it’s currently the longest of long shots with the Democrats, but the political opening is nonetheless there for the Center-Left to reverse course on its present indecision, stare down its bleeding heart activist base, and outflank the Right, as I’ve tried to demonstrate by comparison to what similarly placed progressive parties have already done in other Western countries. The playbook has already been written: the case just has to be made and I am making it here in UnHerd and in other venues. The presence of strong pro-sovereignty, pro-working-class, and anti-open borders Democrats like Sen. Bernie Sanders on the left and Rep. Vicente Gonzalez in the center also counts as a big plus.

But I’m almost certain that none of this will convince you for even just a second. You are so cravenly devoted to the personality cult of Trump that you’d rather elect him a second time and watch as he lies to you again to your face on caring about immigration. You’ll happily abide by a thousand more years of effective open borders and immigration non-enforcement, so long as there’s a Republican in charge of the dysfunctional status quo and not a Democrat. Anything to own the libs, am I right? Someday, the Democrats may very well wake up to the opportunity that’s right in front of them and do what’s right on immigration, and to paraphrase Khrushchev, they’ll pass you by along the way, watch your faces go slack-jawed, and wave “bye-bye”!

Last edited 1 year ago by Michael Cuenco
Michael Cuenco
Michael Cuenco
1 year ago
Reply to  Buena Vista

The one goal of my essay–and I should know better because I wrote it–is not to denigrate any party but to advance policy (Mandatory E-Verify in particular and border control/labor market regulation in general). That’s what politics should be about at the end of the day, solving problems and governing well, but all you seem to understand is the language of personality, partisanship and tribalism. The policy and reality of immigration enforcement is far less important to you than getting ahead in the culture war. That’s why you can only interpret my criticism of Trump as a personal offence against you and your tribe/in-group; and that’s also why no issues ever get resolved in America these days… you’re not really interested in fixing problems, just in “owning the libs.”

I actually agree wholeheartedly with circa-2016 Trump that controlling immigration is one of the most important issues facing America today. That is all the more reason for me, then, to criticize post-2016 Trump for betraying the original vision he ran on, selling out to neoliberal establishment Republicans, and doing nothing when he and his party had full control of Congress in 2017-18.

I’m acutely aware of the fact that the leaderships of both parties have let down the American people on immigration for generations, and, like I said, there was a time when I put my faith in the Republicans and conservatives as the best chance to move the nation beyond the failed paradigms of neoliberalism and globalism. But the utter laziness and dishonesty of the Trumpian Right on this matter–claiming to be for strong borders and national sovereignty while opposing E-Verify and letting constructive legislation like the RAISE Act and the Goodlatte bills fall by the wayside–leads me to believe that if there is to be a breakthrough, it would sooner come from the Democrats, who are at least marginally less enthralled to rapacious business lobbies like the American Farm Bureau Federation.

What sets Trump apart is the abject and bald-faced hypocrisy of it all. At the very least, Biden never made border control the centerpiece of his rhetoric in such a flamboyant and extravagant way; at least he never did all that while brazenly employing countless undocumented migrants at hotels and golf courses. Ron DeSantis is no better; he’s a servile agent of the same business interests who sold out his state with fake E-Verify, and you think he’ll be able to fix the border crisis with more stunts? I don’t need to smear DeSantis, as you say, he’s smeared himself by his cowardice and utter lack of conviction on the issue.

Now, I understand it’s currently the longest of long shots with the Democrats, but the political opening is nonetheless there for the Center-Left to reverse course on its present indecision, stare down its bleeding heart activist base, and outflank the Right, as I’ve tried to demonstrate by comparison to what similarly placed progressive parties have already done in other Western countries. The playbook has already been written: the case just has to be made and I am making it here in UnHerd and in other venues. The presence of strong pro-sovereignty, pro-working-class, and anti-open borders Democrats like Sen. Bernie Sanders on the left and Rep. Vicente Gonzalez in the center also counts as a big plus.

But I’m almost certain that none of this will convince you for even just a second. You are so cravenly devoted to the personality cult of Trump that you’d rather elect him a second time and watch as he lies to you again to your face on caring about immigration. You’ll happily abide by a thousand more years of effective open borders and immigration non-enforcement, so long as there’s a Republican in charge of the dysfunctional status quo and not a Democrat. Anything to own the libs, am I right? Someday, the Democrats may very well wake up to the opportunity that’s right in front of them and do what’s right on immigration, and to paraphrase Khrushchev, they’ll pass you by along the way, watch your faces go slack-jawed, and wave “bye-bye”!

Last edited 1 year ago by Michael Cuenco
Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Cuenco

I don’t know about anyone else here but I don’t ‘worship’ trump; but I do look at his results which did entail the lowest attempts to cross the border in 20+ years. Him not putting up with crossings had a dampening effect on attempts which is actually safer for the migrants. Whereas there are plenty of photos of people wearing tshirts that said ‘Biden please let us in’ right after he took office. They are coming because he opened the door.

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Cuenco

Hi Michael,

I’m not here to comment on your article – fortunately or unfortunately. I do want to commend you for engaging with the commenters here. It’s rare to see an author below the line.

Gaz Farnell
Gaz Farnell
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Cuenco

Progressive projection, crystallised.

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Cuenco

Respectfully, Michael, I think you’re mistaking mudslinging for arguing. This isn’t why most of us came to Unherd. I can stand listening to a leftist, but not a rude leftist. Sorry. That’s just how it is.

Buena Vista
Buena Vista
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Cuenco

Ordinarily, Mr. Cuenco, I’d praise you or any writer that would enter into the comment section and engage with the hoi polloi, but your vitriol as dispensed above has disabused me of that notion.
As to the matter at hand, I criticized you here for ignoring Biden’s responsibility for the current border crisis, and I stick to what I said. Look at the dates on the links posted in your comment: 2018, 2019, 2020, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2020, 2019, and finally 2022. Again, you’ve pretty much ignored Biden’s enormous contribution to the problem, but have repeatedly named Donald Trump, and even tried to smear Ron Desantis.
I would posit that you have intentionally ignored the facts; the one goal of your essay was to denigrate Republicans, but current events don’t support your aims.
I find the commentariat here to be quite intelligent and open-minded, but not at all receptive to outlandish theses such as yours herein. Maybe your style of writing is better suited to the Guardian.

Last edited 1 year ago by Buena Vista
Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Cuenco

I don’t know about anyone else here but I don’t ‘worship’ trump; but I do look at his results which did entail the lowest attempts to cross the border in 20+ years. Him not putting up with crossings had a dampening effect on attempts which is actually safer for the migrants. Whereas there are plenty of photos of people wearing tshirts that said ‘Biden please let us in’ right after he took office. They are coming because he opened the door.

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Cuenco

Hi Michael,

I’m not here to comment on your article – fortunately or unfortunately. I do want to commend you for engaging with the commenters here. It’s rare to see an author below the line.

Michael Cuenco
Michael Cuenco
1 year ago

Wow! What a marvellous and most interesting comment section we have here! You lot clearly don’t know how to read beyond a first-grade level of comprehension. And judging by your insipid schoolyard insults, low-brow standards of wit, and cringe-inducing Boomer humour, some of you should probably go right back to grade school, put on a big dunce cap, and learn a thing or two about how the world actually bloody works beyond your smug, self-reinforcing pretensions and airtight ideological echo chambers!

My article isn’t saying that Joe Biden is doing a great job on the issue. In fact, I begin by acknowledging “these problems remain as real and as urgent as ever,” and then I link to a BBC article about the ongoing border crisis with stats on border crossings, which you’re all convinced I’m ignoring. I merely then go on to point out that Trump and the GOP aren’t really interested in solving immigration at a systemic level, as evidenced by their utter lack of interest in comprehensive immigration reform when they had full control of Congress in 2017-2018/ their opposition to no-nonsense policies like Mandatory E-Verify–and not to mention, the prodigious and unashamed use of undocumented migrant labour by Donald Trump himself in his various properties… which none of you can seem to process or grapple with for some strange reason…

Therefore, there is a political opening for Biden to outflank the Republicans, as he’s executed similar pivots on other issues in the past, going over the heads of both the right and the left–also linked to in the text. No matter how unlikely or not you lot think it is, it’s a constructive suggestion that’s nonetheless open to the Democrats. And should they take it, it would parallel other center-left parties in places like Denmark, New Zealand, Canada etc. that have gone the same way on immigration.

And for those of you looking for evidence to support these claims, have you noticed these things called “hyperlinks” that are embedded in the underlined portions of the text??? The article is chock full of them! Try clicking on those and they’ll lead you to all the news reports, stats, quotes you’ll need–that is if you can figure out how to read! Here’s a few points worthy of your attention:

1) https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/27/politics/house-immigration-bill-vote/index.html
“House Republicans abandoned a GOP leadership-backed immigration bill Wednesday, the latest setback in the years-long intraparty war between Republicans on the polarizing issue. The bill, which was never expected to pass, failed by an even wider margin than expected – 121-301 – and had far less Republican support than a more conservative bill that failed last week.”

2) https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/in-fox-news-interview-trump-expresses-concern-about-e-verify/2019/05/19/3495ef74-7aa8-11e9-a66c-d36e482aa873_story.html

“The president’s comments about E-Verify draw attention back to the hiring practices of the Trump Organization, which has employed undocumented immigrants as waiters, groundskeepers and housekeepers even as Trump made battling undocumented immigration a signature issue.” 

3) https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/03/02/how-border-apprehensions-ice-arrests-and-deportations-have-changed-under-trump/

Research found that ICE arrests under Trump “remain[ed] far lower than during President Barack Obama’s first term in office,” while deportations of unauthorized immigrants, which stood at 337,287 according to the most recent available full year data “remained below the levels recorded during much of the Obama administration, including a three‑year period between fiscal 2012 and 2014 when there were more than 400,000 per year.”

4) https://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/columnists/tomlinson/article/Trump-promised-action-on-immigration-and-15595224.php?fbclid=IwAR04d9WlPTMF_9fFvds8pilfoi3lCEsbaRQklW2w498jPbbeMNQDODTZKOs

“Barrack Obama’s ICE arrested and deported more than twice as many people during his first term in office.”

5) https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-08-23/e-verify-laws-across-southern-red-states-are-barely-enforced#xj4y7vzkg

“E-Verify Laws Across Southern Red States Are Barely Enforced Even the most anti-immigration states don’t like cracking down on business.”

6) https://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2019/jul/31/senator-touts-bill-on-influx-20190731-1/

“You have something of a silent conspiracy between the left and Republicans who kind of reflexively favor the interests of Big Business,” Cotton told an audience at the National Press Building in Washington, D.C.

7) https://twitter.com/anthonysabatini/status/1278119558566592512

“This is fake E-Verify. People expected mandatory E-Verify; this is the opposite—optional E-Verify,” Rep. Anthony Sabatini, R-Howey-in-the-Hills, told the News Service in March.”

8) https://www.politico.com/news/2020/04/21/trump-immigration-green-card-coronavirus-198498

“Trump’s proclaimed immigration ban will exempt temporary foreign workers, the biggest source of immigration at the moment.”

9) https://www.politico.com/news/2020/03/18/trump-considers-visas-foreign-investors-135985

“The Trump administration is considering a controversial proposal to boost the number of visas offered to wealthy immigrants who invest money in the United States”

10) https://www.npr.org/2019/01/16/686056668/for-seventh-consecutive-year-visa-overstays-exceeded-illegal-border-crossings

“For 7th Consecutive Year, Visa Overstays Exceeded Illegal Border Crossings. As the Trump administration demands funding for a border wall to stop illegal immigration, a new study finds that for the seventh consecutive year, visa overstays far exceeded unauthorized border crossings.”

11) https://en.as.com/latest_news/2022-midterm-elections-immigration-is-a-key-issue-for-border-states-businesses-and-farmers-n/

“The American Farm Bureau Federation, whose members have donated to Republicans at much higher rates than Democrats, believe that the government should avoid taking an “enforcement only approach to immigration” because cracking down on illegal entry, risks the availability of “undocumented workers,””

12) https://time.com/6215753/house-republicans-immigration-plan/

“Though McCarthy’s plan echoes language used by the Republican governors—calls to “secure America’s border,” for example—it offers only vague policy solutions, a move that Brendan Buck, who was an aide to former Republican House Speakers Paul Ryan and John Boehner, says is intentional. The plan is intended to unite Republicans on messaging and differentiate themselves from Democrats, but to keep the language imprecise enough that they would not be beholden to specific policy expectations if they come into power, says Buck, who helped devise similar plans in 2010 and 2016.”

But I’m guessing none of this will make so much as a slight dent on your thick bone-filled craniums. Because all the evidence indicates that scarcely any of you can handle the slightest criticism of your beloved god-king-overlord Trump or conversely any piece of commentary that doesn’t automatically parrot your fanatical “F*ck Brandon/F*ck the Libs/F*ck the Dems” line. Methinks you folks don’t really seek out articles on this site to learn about issues or think critically about anything–you just need writers to constantly stroke your fragile partisan egos and reaffirm what you already know and believe to be the one true right-of-centre orthodoxy on any given subject. Thus, the hostile, unbelieving, and grasping reactions when one strand of contrary information comes you way.

And this is supposed to be the courageous, “free-thinking” crowd that’s gonna save Western civilization from the woke hordes? I hate to break it to you snowflakes but you’re not at all different from the woke progressives you all love to hate. Just look in the mirror, my puerile friends… If you sad, sorry, pathetic lot are Western civilization’s last line of defence, then may God help us all…But don’t ever let me stop you. At the end of the day, I’m just concerned about the state of your hands and arms… must be absolutely exhausting to be part of a non-stop 24/7 ideological circle jerk … but then again, you must all be super-used to it by now… Carry on!

Last edited 1 year ago by Michael Cuenco