June 19, 2018


What Is Really Behind Trump's Controversial Immigration Policies? (Perry Bacon Jr.. 6/19/18, 538)

I don't think it's a secret that immigration policy is an issue that hits on identity, or that Team Trump is not wild about immigrants. But understanding Trump's immigration policies as a full-scale revolt against rising numbers of foreign-born Americans helps explain what is happening: Controversial immigration policies that would limit both legal and illegal immigration, often combined with rhetoric designed to cast immigrants, usually falsely, as a criminal or national security threat.

America is in the midst of an immigrant boom, by historical standards. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that 14 percent of Americans, about 44 million people, are foreign-born. Those numbers are up from 2000, when about 11 percent of the population (31 million Americans) were foreign-born. The foreign-born population had hit almost 15 percent at its peak around 1890, but it dipped below 5 percent by the 1970s. So it is quite high now (compared to the past 50 years), and the Census Bureau estimates it will hit 15 percent again over the next decade.

If you think of stopping the growth in the foreign-born population as the unifying goal -- rather than strengthening national security or promoting law enforcement -- then Trump's immigration agenda hangs together more clearly. 

Posted by at June 19, 2018 4:38 AM