Trump’s orders target immigrants, hurt all Americans

Tartan Board Apr 3, 2017

ecently, the drafts of six White House executive orders that outline plans to heavily crack down on the immigrant population in the U.S. have been leaked to Vox. Two of these drafts have already been introduced as executive orders on immigration at the border wall. Another draft has been introduced as the “Muslim ban” that temporarily banned entry from seven countries. The remaining three plans move to end programs that allow immigrants to come and work in the U.S. While the orders have not been confirmed, they align with President Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric.
The first of these unreleased orders moves to rescind President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The DACA protects undocumented people coming to the U.S. who are under 16, are in school, and have no felonies from immediate deportation. While permits issued under DACA are set to begin expiring without renewal, Trump plans not only to make them expire sooner than anticipated, but also to ensure that new permits are not issued. This could cause a mass exodus of young immigrants who have done nothing wrong. It would also force children to pay for a decision they did not even make.

This executive order also aims to put an end to Obama’s attempt to extend the DACA to cover more immigrants. Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) sought to protect the parents of U.S. born children. While DAPA has already been blocked in court, Trump’s executive order would also eliminate the DACA on which it was based, making further efforts to protect immigrant parents even harder to move forward.

The executive order plans to make the metrics for legal immigration even harder to meet. One of the ways legal immigration will be made more difficult is through the reversal of the Optional Practical Training work visa (OPT)xtension added by the Department of Homeland Security. OPT is a time period that allows full time undergraduate and graduate students who have finished or have been pursuing a degree for nine months to work for a year on a student visa to gain practical training in their field. This allows international students to pursue internships and other work experiences related to their field.

The reversal of OPT is something that heavily impacts the Carnegie Mellon community, especially when most companies are only looking to hire full time employees who have internship experience. The purpose of OPT is to enhance international students’ learning experiences by allowing them to also pursue jobs in their fields. Without this aspect their U.S. education is incomplete, with international students being given a back seat to the experience of American students. Limiting international students’ access to internships with U.S. companies almost eliminates their chances at full time careers with these companies. While the executive order states that its purpose is to prioritize “the interests of American workers and — to the maximum degree possible — the jobs, wages, and well-being of those workers,” it also refuses to reward a large portion of the college population that works just as hard, if not harder than American students for their degree.

This order also moves to reverse Obama’s decision to allow spouses of H-1B visa holders access to work visas. The H-1B visa is what allows U.S. employers to temporarily hire foreign employees. By denying spouses access to work visas, it limits a household of at least two people to a single income, making it that much harder for immigrants to achieve the “American Dream.” It’s another barrier that forces the tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to be free to be prisoner to an unfair immigration system.

Another provision in this order plans to get rid of the relief Obama granted for those eligible for green cards, but who are unable to apply because of the three and ten year bars. When an immigrant has been in the U.S. illegally for more than 180 days, they are barred from entering the country for three years and if they are unlawfully here for more than a year, they are barred from the country for ten years. This makes it impossible for those who want to receive citizenship to do so without risking deportation.

As if the aforementioned wasn’t enough for a single executive order, the last big impact that this order would have is to allow the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to conduct site visits at places that employ L-1 visa workers. The goal is for the site visits to eventually expand to all employment-based visa programs. L-1 visas allow foreign workers with specialized knowledge to continue employment in the U.S. with the same employer. It’s clear that the common theme in this executive order is to make the process for immigrants to secure work in the U.S. as hard as possible.

The leaked final executive order also tackles a number of issues. The order specifically uses the term “alien” to refer to both illegal and legal immigrants. The first provision it puts forward is to ensure that sponsors of immigrants reimburse the government for the cost of welfare benefits provided to their immigrants. This is something that will eliminate the incentive for companies and sponsors to endorse immigrants.

The provision also calls for the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Mick Mulvaney, “to compile a report detailing how the federal government will save $100 billion by ensuring that aliens receive only the public benefits that they are eligible to receive.” This report seems to be just another instance of Trump throwing out large numbers to convince Americans that immigrants cost us more than they benefit, despite how much immigrants stimulate our economy and job force.

Another provision outlined by this executive order allows the DHS and State Department to decide on new standards and regulations for immigrants requiring public assistance. The rest of this executive order outlines various reports that would be compiled about the impact of immigrants in the U.S. Though we have not seen what a report of this nature would look like, The Tartan’s guess is that it would not paint immigrants in a flattering light just based on the president’s attitude towards them.

If these executive orders go into effect, which seems likely based on the status of the first three, it could entirely reshape the immigrant population in our country. Trump has brainwashed some Americans into thinking the reason that they aren’t getting jobs is because immigrants are stealing them. He’s failing to acknowledge all the work that immigrants do for Americans, sometimes jobs that American entitlement stops us from pursuing ourselves.

These orders could also make the employment for international students at Carnegie Mellon a lot harder. They come here to receive one of the best educations in the world, and Trump wants to make it even harder for them to use that knowledge in the American workforce. Immigrants are the backbone of this country and without their knowledge, creativity, passion, and ingenuity, America would not advance. What Trump needs to realize is that these orders not only hurt immigrants, but they hurt Americans, too.