Donald Trump has an opportunity to be the “immigration president.”
That may seem ironic, or unlikely, given his staunch opposition to illegal immigration, his proposals to restrict Muslim immigration, and his infamous wall on the Mexican border.
But by enforcing the law, Trump will restore the incentive to choose legal immigration over crossing a border illegally or overstaying a temporary visa. He can also restore the dignity of the legal immigration process, and honor those who obey it.
Legal immigrants are virtually forgotten in the immigration debate. The left deliberately conflates legal immigrants and illegal aliens to make it seem as though conservatives who oppose illegal immigration are xenophobic bigots.
That makes it easier to marginalize conservative immigration policies, and to avoid having to defend liberal immigration policies, which do nothing to discourage future illegal aliens, and do not address the problem of assimilating immigrants from very different cultures.
President Barack Obama’s policies, including 2012’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and 2014’s Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) — the latter suspended by the courts — have made legal immigration much harder.
As Breitbart News reported at the time, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) were so flooded by applicants from illegal aliens under DACA that legal immigrants were often stranded for months or years abroad, leaving families torn.
Legal immigrants, who honor the country’s laws and principles, deserve better.
Trump knows firsthand the kind of commitment it takes to become an American the right way: his wife, Melania, is a legal immigrant.
In his speech on immigration Wednesday, Trump can make the case that we should not only celebrate legal immigration, but make the process easier for skilled people who want to lend their talents to our country. In that way, he can turn the tables on Democrats who accuse him of bigotry.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, is available from Regnery through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.