[lg policy] Linguistic hygiene: Trump explicitly questions U.S. immigration policy

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Fri Jan 12 10:17:27 EST 2018

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*The Associated Press* | President Trump looks to Brooke Rollins, president
and CEO of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, as she speaks during a
prison reform roundtable in the Roosevelt Room on Thursday.
Trump explicitly questions U.S. immigration policy
Thursday January 11, 2018 06:00 PM
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump used vulgar language when questioning
Thursday why the U.S. should permit more immigrants from certain countries
after senators discussed revamping rules affecting entrants from Africa and
Haiti, according to three people briefed on the conversation.

Trump made the remark in the Oval Office as two lawmakers described details
to him of a bipartisan compromise among six senators that would extend
protections against deportation for hundreds of thousands of young
immigrants and strengthen border protections.

The senators had hoped Trump would back their accord, ending a months-long,
bitter dispute over protecting “Dreamers.” But the White House later
rejected their proposed agreement, plunging the issue back into uncertainty
just eight days before a deadline that threatens a government shutdown.

During their conversation, Dick Durbin of Illinois, the chamber's No. 2
Senate Democratic leader, was explaining that as part of that deal, a
lottery for visas that has benefited people from Africa and other nations
would be ended, the sources said, though there could be some other way for
them to apply. Durbin said people would be allowed to stay in the U.S. who
fled here after disasters hit their homes in places including El Salvador,
Guatemala and Haiti.

Trump specifically questioned why the U.S. would want to admit more people
from Haiti. The president suggested that instead, the U.S. should allow
more entrants from countries like Norway. Trump met this week with
Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg.

Asked about the remarks, White House spokesman Raj Shah did not deny them.

“Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but
President Trump will always fight for the American people,” he said.

Trump's remarks were remarkable even by the standards of a president who
has been accused by his foes of racist attitudes and has routinely smashed
through public decorum that his modern predecessors have generally embraced.

The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized
to publicly describe the conversation.

The Trump administration announced late last year that it would end a
temporary residency permit program that allowed nearly 60,000 citizens from
Haiti to live and work in the United States following a devastating 2010

Trump has spoken positively about Haitians in public. During a 2016
campaign event in Miami, he said “the Haitian people deserve better” and
told the audience of Haitian-Americans he wanted to “be your greatest
champion, and I will be your champion.”

The agreement that Durbin and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., described to
Trump also includes his $1.6 billion request for a first installment on his
long-sought border wall, aides familiar with the agreement said. They
required anonymity because the agreement is not yet public.

Trump's request covers 74 miles of border wall as part of a 10-year, $18
billion proposal.

Democrats including Durbin had long vowed they would not fund the wall but
are accepting the opening request as part of a broader plan that protects
from deportation about 800,000 younger immigrants brought to the country as
children and now here illegally.

The deal also includes restrictions on rules allowing immigrants to bring
some relatives to the U.S.

In an afternoon of drama and confusing developments, three other GOP
lawmakers — including two hardliners on immigration — were also in Trump's
office for Thursday's meeting, a development sources said Durbin and Graham
did not expect. It was unclear why the three Republicans were there, and
the session did not produce the results the two senators were hoping for.

“There has not been a deal reached yet,” said White House spokeswoman Sarah
Huckabee Sanders. But she added, “We haven't quite gotten there, but we
feel like we're close.”

Underscoring the pitfalls facing the effort, other Republicans also
undercut the significance of the deal the half-dozen senators hoped to sell
to Trump.

“How do six people bind the other 94 in the Senate? I don't get that,” said
No. 2 Senate Republican John Cornyn of Texas.

Cornyn said the six lawmakers were hoping for a deal and “everyone would
fall in line. The president made it clear to me on the phone less than an
hour ago that he wasn't going to do that.”

The six senators have been meeting for months to find a way to revive
protections for young immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children and
are here illegally. Trump ended the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood
Arrivals program last year but has given Congress until March 5 to find a
way to keep it alive.

Federal agencies will run out of money and have to shut down if lawmakers
don't pass legislation extending their financing by Jan. 19. Some Democrats
are threatening to withhold their votes — which Republicans will need to
push that legislation through Congress — unless an immigration accord is

Cornyn said the real work for a bipartisan immigration deal will be
achieved by a group of four leading lawmakers — the No. 2 Republicans and
Democrats in both the House and Senate. That group met for the first time
this week.

The immigration effort seemed to receive a boost Tuesday when Trump met
with two dozen lawmakers and agreed to seek a bipartisan way to resuscitate
the program. The group agreed to also include provisions strengthening
security — which for Trump means building parts of a wall along the border
with Mexico — curbing immigrants' relatives from coming here and
restricting the visa lottery.

Also in Thursday's Oval Office meeting were House Majority Leader Kevin
McCarthy, R-Calif., and two conservative lawmakers who've taken a hard line
on immigration: Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and House Judiciary Committee
Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va.

A Republican with knowledge of Thursday's meeting said the White House
hastily invited Cotton to join the immigration discussion.

“The American people don't want that style of immigration reform,” Cotton
told reporters about the bipartisan senators' offer. “They certainly don't
want this pine needle of a proposal that was on the table today.”

Any immigration deal would face hurdles winning congressional approval.

Many Democrats would oppose providing substantial sums for Trump's campaign
promise to build a wall along the border with Mexico. Many Hispanic and
liberal members of the party oppose steps toward curtailing immigration
such as ending the visa lottery and restricting the relatives that legal
immigrants could bring to the U.S.

Among Republicans, some conservatives are insisting on going further than
the steps that Trump has suggested. They want to reduce legal immigration,
require employers to verify workers' citizenship and block federal grants
to so-called sanctuary cities that hinder federal anti-immigrant efforts.


 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com

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