Trump's Emphasis on Enforcing the Law on Visa Abusers

By David North on September 8, 2016

In his recent immigration policy speech, delivered a few hours after his visit with the president of Mexico, Donald Trump said that his emphasis for immigration law enforcement would be on criminal aliens and (presumably secondarily) on visa abusers.

Bearing in mind that the candidate switches his positions from time to time, and the strong possibility that the distinction between visa abusers and those entering without inspection (EWIs) may be fuzzy to him, as it is to most Americans, let's look at his focus on visa abusers.

We are now about to engage in Trumpology, similar to Kremlinology; i.e., figuring out what a powerful force really means in a setting in which ambiguity is common. (You know, who is sitting right next to Stalin at this year's Red Army Parade as compared to who sat there at last year's parade.)

First there is the timing. Mexico is the prime source of EWIs and has relatively few visa abusers in the United States. Did someone mention this variable on Trump's trip south?

Second, there is the hidden politics of such an enforcement emphasis. Whereas illegals speaking Spanish are likely to be EWIs and are the largest, by far, element among illegal aliens, there is no comparable body of ethnic support for the visa abusers, whose origins are much more diverse.

So amidst the bluster, is there a hint of tilting the scales in favor of the Hispanics as a sub-set of the nation's undocumented?

There is also a class issue, which I doubt was on the candidate's mind. Visa abusers are essentially middle-class illegals, as opposed to the working-class illegals among the EWIs.

You need to conquer two big hurdles, and one minor one, to be a visa abuser as opposed to an EWI. To become a visa abuser you have to obtain a visa from an American official, you need to have enough money to pay the airfare, and you have to talk your way through the customs process at an American airport.

Visa abusers, it can be argued, are more likely to take jobs that would be filled by actual U.S. voters, while EWIs tend to compete with resident workers who are less likely to vote.

Or is all of this speculation on a nuance in a campaign in which nuances play only the most minor of roles?