Donald Trump and the Republican Party weren’t exactly on the same page when it came to illegal immigration…but they weren’t oceans apart, either. The establishment GOP has been hammering border security for years, and the entire Republican Party was aghast at President Obama’s repeated attempts to override congressional law and proclaim amnesty from the White House. They may not have been crazy about Trump’s talk of deportations and a wall, but conservative voters didn’t have to twist their arm too vigorously.
On the subject of legal immigration, however, there may be an epic battle in the making.
According to a new story in Politico, Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton – a fierce proponent of limiting legal entry into the U.S. – is hoping to work with President Trump to tackle an issue hurting American workers. As the site puts it, “it could provoke a showdown between two competing ends of the GOP: the working-class populists led by Trump and the establishment Chamber of Commerce wing.”
That wing’s still around? After THIS election? Interesting…
Cotton is sponsoring legislation that will cut the number of immigrants who can qualify for green cards and visas annually. Not based on their country of origin or their religion, either. Cotton wants to cut the numbers altogether and restore a sense of balance to the American job market.
“Donald Trump was the only one who saw that most Americans don’t like our current immigration system,” Cotton told Politico. “This is just the area of politics where I think leaders and elites are most disconnected from the people. Not just Republicans but in both parties, in business, in the media, in the academy, culture and so forth.”
It’s not entirely clear how much Trump supports this kind of limitation, but key allies Stephen Miller, Jeff Sessions, and Steve Bannon have all spoken out about the problem of unrestrained legal immigration in recent years. They have all supported policies that would drastically reduce the number of visas – including “high-skilled” worker visas that Silicon Valley tech companies cherish.
But Politico is right – there will be pushback from the economic sector. Big business thrives on hiring high-skilled foreign workers who are willing to work for much less than their American counterparts. They aren’t going to give up this cash cow without a fight.
Then again, a fight is nothing that Trump has ever been afraid of.