The Trump Era: what about the American Dream?

43 millions of immigrants, 15% of the US population, live with the fear of being deported due to the severe measures of president Trump

The American dream is apparently about to be crushed by Trump and his new immigration reforms, which can be considered extreme. Besides of his already evident demonization of foreign people, president Trump has been implementing new laws that restrain the entrance of new immigrants and affects those who are already in the US, including those who were not in danger of being deported.

The United States immigration system, which has been advocating family reunification since 1965, is for Trump a “national security threat", because in a short period of time the members of immigrant families become a full citizens, with right to vote, access to social benefits and a part of the federal health system, becoming a public dead weight. "According to the White House data, nowadays 65 percent of residency permits that are given each year in the United States obey to the existence of family bonds, which in the last decade has signified the arrival of 9,3 million people by this method", points out a BBC World report.

For Trump, chain migration is a policy in which the “wrong people” are being admitted and the “highly skilled” immigrant workers are left aside, he manifested on a National Security System (NSS) release. This change of speech from one completely racist to another that seems to give new opportunities to a more qualified immigrants causes suspicion among the foreign communities, because his actions does not match his words. In less than a year of presidency, Trump has taken many strict measures that includes:

  • Visa Restriction: 226 thousand immigrants benefit of the "visa lottery" system that the government gives to the family members of American immigrants with a green card. These 226 thousand benefiters, could eventually make the same procedure for their family nucleus. That is known as chain or net migration. Trump restricted these visas only for spouses and underage children. He also reduced the number of refugee visas from 110.000 to 45.000 a year.
  • Suspension of DACA: Trump cancelled the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protected the children of undocumented parents that arrived to the US during their infant years. More than 750.000 immigrants, called Dreamers, were covered under this Obama program. Now these young people, who were not at risk of being deported before, are waiting for new legal measures to regularize their situation.
  • Reduction of Green Cards: Trump authorized a legislative plan to cut from a million to a half-million the annual concession of Green Cards, which is the document of permanent residency for immigrants. Green Cards will be limited by a "merit system", which will contemplate English language skills and formal education level.

Beyond the new restriction measures, Trump has prioritize deportations through the investment on new detention facilities near Mexico's boarder and has hired 15 thousand immigration agents. A New York Times article affirms that "under the Obama administration, the program, known as 'expedited removal', was used only when an immigrant was arrested within 100 miles of the border and had been in the country no more than 14 days. Now it will include all those who have been in the country for up to two years, no matter where they are caught".

"President Trump and the Republicans can use calmer rhetoric and appear moderate, but we know that the wind blows words away. Actions are what matter" manifested Astrid Silva, immigrant Dreamer and Democrat activist, who spoke in against Trump's speech in the Congress. In the same way, the Hispanic Senator from Nevada, Catherine Cortez-Masto, affirms that "deporting and separating families is not the way to fix our broken immigration system".


Latin American Post | María de los Ángeles Rubio

Copy edited by Laura Rocha Rueda


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