Editor: President Trump is out of touch with the country on immigration. According to a new Fox News poll, 50 percent of Americans think immigration enforcement under the Trump administration has “gone too far.” You know the national mood is changing when the president’s favored network contradicts him.
For his 2016 campaign, Trump ran on a harsh anti-immigrant platform, referring to immigrants as criminals and inciting chants to “build a wall.” And when he won, some analysts concluded his vow to reduce the number of immigrants entering the U.S. indeed helped him secure the Oval. Now the Fox poll suggests he’s gone too far.
Trump ended a program protecting young immigrants brought to this country as children from deportation. But the majority of Americans—73 percent—would rather those Dreamers be granted documented status to remain here. The majority of Americans also think allocating more agents to the U.S.-Mexico border is a better solution than building a wall or imposing tariffs. Yet the president has spent years trying to do the exact opposite.
I witnessed it firsthand on January 27th, 2017 when I walked into Washington Dulles International Airport. Just one week after he was sworn into office, Trump signed the executive order barring travel from seven Muslim-majority nations. I’ve spent 16 years fighting for immigrants as an attorney. But that night my work became personal. I am a Muslim lucky enough to be born on American soil. But had fate dealt me a different hand, all that I’ve achieved—opening my own law firm and serving as an advisor on the Virginia Asian Advisory Board—would not have been possible.
Since then, the attacks on immigration have continued. In addition to rescinding protections for Dreamers, this administration is threatening to deport Temporary Protected Status holders and has drastically reduced the number of refugee resettlements. Last year they started separating families at the border. Today, thousands of migrant children are living in squalid conditions.
The midterm election results—during which Republicans suffered the largest midterm popular-vote defeat in history—were the first proof that Americans don’t want immigration policies that separate families and threaten young people. Three Virginia congressional districts, along with 40 others nationwide, flipped to Democratic control.
The midterms demonstrated Virginians see the value immigrants bring. Just look at the more than 71,100 foreign-born entrepreneurs who have created more than 168,000 jobs in our state, according to the bipartisan nonprofit New American Economy. The fact is, our state is growing more diverse. Loudoun County, where I’ve raised my children for 12 years, added more foreign-born residents than any other major county in the United States between 2010 and 2016. And we’ve added 13,000 foreign-born voters just in the last two years.
Immigration is going to be a central issue in the 2020 election. Virginia voters and others across the country will be deciding who to support in the coming months. And the data shows they want candidates who will fight for values of empowerment and inclusivity.
Hassan M. Ahmad, Sterling