On November 1, 2017, Trump tweeted:

“I have just ordered Homeland Security to step up our already Extreme Vetting Program. Being politically correct is fine, but not for this!”

“The terrorist came into our country through what is called the “Diversity Visa Lottery Program,” a Chuck Schumer beauty. I want merit based.”

“We are fighting hard for Merit Based immigration, no more Democrat Lottery Systems. We must get MUCH tougher (and smarter). Fox & Friends”

Here are the assumptions underlying these tweets:

1. My “Extreme Vetting” works. The vetting done before didn’t.

It appears 45 is running out of superlatives. His most recent Muslim Ban (EO-3) called it “enhanced vetting.” EO-3 basically outsourced information sharing to the country. And for certain countries, asking more questions of the visa applicant.

Either way, it’s bad policy. Information-sharing isn’t static: it’s continuously improving. If it cannot be immediately verified by the United States, the applicant won’t get the visa, or will get one after a lengthy delay. Asking an applicant to provide information? News flash: criminals lie. Taking in irrelevant information only reduces the chances that truly dangerous intel is lost.

Never ask a question you don’t already know the answer to. “Extreme vetting” – stepped up or not – is a soundbite, a word of Newspeak.

2. 45 has accepted political correctness in the past.

When has he ever said being PC was fine?

3. The DV Lottery was the reason a terrorist came. If we remove that program, terrorists won’t be able to come anymore.

This same stupidity after San Bernardino when the focus was Tashfeen Malik’s K-1 fiancée visa. It’s not the visa program. It’s the actions of the applicants. No visa program – whether K-1, B-2, H-1B, immigrant, Visa Waiver, or DV – does NOT have a counterterrorism and security check screening. Millions of visas issue every year, and even more entries/exits are administered.

4. The DV Lottery is not merit-based.

Actually, one has to have finished high school in order to qualify for a diversity visa. There are strict reporting requirements for family members. There are robust security checks.

5. Merit-based immigration is good!

This is a blatant attempt to shore up political points for the RAISE Act. They call it immigration reform. But it’s immigration deformed.

The RAISE Act is a nativist dream come true. If you assume immigration is a drain – as nativists do – it makes perfect sense to shut off a family’s ability to immigrate together (what they’re pejoratively calling “chain migration”), slash refugees and diversity immigrants, and only open the door to an elite. Let’s not mince words: the merit based system will allow only those who were privileged enough to earn advanced degrees and mastered English at a young age. All other immigrants are cast as undesirable. If you support this, or think it’s not that bad, know that you are enabling policies that white nationalists find warm and cozy. You believe non-Americans have nothing to offer if they don’t have money. You ignore the jobs they create and cultural contributions they make. You refuse to see the value in family unity. You’re turning your back on the world’s most vulnerable, adding to their anguish. You refuse to see the good in people you might not know. And you’re shooting yourself in the foot: People who would have qualified under the current system would be locked out, and will take their talents and contributions elsewhere. This, 45 reasons, will MAGA us.

6. The DV Lottery is a Democrat system.

Soundbite. Trumpaganda. And false.

7. Extreme vetting, Muslim bans, and rigorous enforcement is the only way to go for immigration.

Rigorous enforcement is what caused Rosamaria Hernandez, a 10 year old with cerebral palsy, to be detained by CBP. It’s how they tried to prevent Jane Doe from exercising her constitutionally protected reproductive freedom. It’s how they deported my client Ella, too traumatized to talk about her persecution even when I was speaking for her.

Trump’s tweetstorm following the horrific scene in New York yesterday was a disgusting and cheap politicization. Don’t tell yourself it’s just Trump being Trump. The assumptions underlying his tweetstorm can be traced back to anti-immigrant organizations who have been calling to ban entire nations, painting entire religions as incompatible with some version of America that never existed, and reduce legal immigration. This tells me he’s being fed all this nonsense for years. He can’t see a positive side to immigration: it’s nothing more than a punching bag to score points with his nativist base. Gubernatorial candidates like Gillespie here in Virginia towing this line is despicable.

Don’t let it become normal. Use your vote, EVERY TIME.

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