Trump’s latest threats appear to be an attempt by the White House to show that it remains committed to strong anti-immigrant policies even though they could trigger an explosion of unforeseen consequences.
The failure of Republicans and Democrats in the United States to reach an agreement on a comprehensive reform of immigration laws bears out old predictions on the subject like a ticking time bomb that could explode and cause unpredictable damage throughout the country.
The influx of people, primarily from countries south of the border, is a recurring issue in US politics, especially during the election period and even more so now with a government that made the issue a campaign theme and wants to build a wall on the Mexican border to allegedly protect its security.
With the 6 November mid-term elections on the horizon, in which Republicans may lose control of Congress, especially the House of Representatives, President Donald Trump appears ready to impose measures to curb immigration.
In that regard, he now blames Democrats for being supporters of open borders and weak laws that, for example, allow thousands of immigrants coming from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador to arrive at the border, countries to which Trump has threatened to cut aid.
Furthermore, he is threatening military action if Mexico does not stop the “onslaught”, referring to the caravans of Honduran migrants that are travelling north to escape misery, violence and other misfortunes, for which Americans are partly responsible.
For the second time this year, the caravan became the focus of the US president’s anger and created uncertainty about the future of aid sent to Central America to tackle factors that cause emigration, such as poverty and violence.
However, the rise of the issue could be seen as a commotion created by the White House to obtain funding for the wall, a fundamental proposal that Trump has not yet been able to achieve. For years, the Republicans have argued that securing the border is the first step needed to fix the dysfunctional immigration system and, at the same time, are opposed to a comprehensive solution to the problem of nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the shadows.
There have been many unsuccessful attempts since the reform passed in 1986 under the government of Republican Ronald Reagan (1981-1989).
The fact is that administrations such as those of George W. Bush (2001-2009) and Barack Obama (2009-2017) promoted different initiatives that did not end well due to lack of agreement, but never before has the issue been as politicised as it has under Trump’s government, where extremist and xenophobic views prevail.
Now, rather than trying to reform the law, the issue focuses on the White House’s attempts to fully finance the president’s border wall, something that will inevitably depend on the November elections and the expected makeup of the next Congress.
When the House of Representatives returns in November, leadership must immediately abide by the 2019 budget resolution and change the conciliation instructions to supply the president with the 25 billion dollars that he is demanding for his work, despite the fact that Democrats are opposed to it and would only give 1.6 million.
The issue of migration is extremely complex. There are many shortcuts, negotiation possibilities and there is even talk that agreements could be reached on the construction of the wall, as well as a solution favourable to Democrats about the legal status of the so-called Dreamers, who came to the United States as children.
Some press reports suggest that conservatives are becoming increasingly concerned that Trump and Republican Party leaders will reach a reduced immigration agreement during the session if Democrats win back the House in November.
In this labyrinth, the November elections and, in particular, control of the House of Representatives are the decisive factor that could sway government proposals. The White House has outlined four pillars for any immigration agreement: greater security at the borders, including a border wall; a permanent solution regarding Dreamers; new restrictions on family immigration and an end to the visa lottery programme. (PL)
(Translated by Rachel Hatt – Email: email@example.com)