Trump Takes a (Calculated) Risk on Immigration

His voters don’t care what Steve Bannon thinks. But they might care if their president acts like a career politician.

Donald Trump photo

Republican Representative Steve King of Iowa says that President Donald Trump will see his base “destroyed” if he agrees to provide legal status to illegal immigrants who came here as children, or at least if he does it without securing funding for a border wall. That’s bluster. But Trump is taking a political risk.

 It’s true that some of Trump’s most prominent supporters are furious with him over the issue. But most voters have sympathy for the affected population and favor legal status. Most Republicans, too: A Morning Consult/Politico poll found that 69 percent of Republicans favored legal status.
Exit polling from the Republican primaries last year provides additional reasons for thinking that Trump will be in the clear if he supports legal status. Few of the Republicans who voted considered immigration their top issue: 15 percent in New Hampshire, 10 percent in South Carolina.

The people who voted for Trump in the primaries are a reasonable definition of his political base. The evidence we have about them suggests that Steve Bannon doesn’t speak for them. We should have learned the lesson in April. Trump authorized air strikes against Syria, and many of his most vocal fans complained — but it didn’t faze his voters. An amnesty, even a limited one, could backfire on Trump anyway. There are Republican voters who don’t consider immigration their top issue and think that people who came here as children should be able to stay — but also worry that our government has not taken the task of controlling immigration seriously. (There are non-Republicans who feel this way, too.)

Even if a border wall is unpopular itself, Trump’s support for it and his refusal to back down from it in the face of criticism helped to establish that he would not cave in to this pressure. It was a symbol that he wasn’t weak like other politicians. He was tougher on illegal immigration. Some people who voted for him took him literally. They thought that if they voted for him, he would build a wall, maybe even with Mexican money. Others took him to be saying, I won’t flinch from doing what it takes.

If Trump held out the possibility of a limited amnesty to win Democratic support for some serious enforcement measures — like requiring that employers use E-Verify to make sure their new hires are all legally in the U.S. — then he could plausibly have said that he had delivered on the underlying message of his campaign rhetoric, even if not on all of its specifics.

But he’s not doing that. Instead, apparently impressed by the positive TV coverage he is getting for his bipartisanship and humanitarianism, he is insisting on the amnesty and being vague about the conditions. It looks less and less likely that he is going to get either a wall or E-Verify, the symbol or the substance. A segment of his voters might conclude that he wasn’t at all serious about illegal immigration — and, for that matter, that he isn’t a great dealmaker and doesn’t tell it like it is, two other traits that distinguished him from career politicians in their eyes. The polls, most of the talking heads he watches and probably his relatives are all telling him he is doing something smart on immigration. He might be making a big mistake.


Schedule Your Consultation Now


All fields are required. Florida Immigration Law Counsel is a law firm. However, the use of the internet or this form for communication with us does not establish an attorney-client relationship. We will discuss your options with you.

More Posts

More Posts


Extending an Expiring Visa

Is your visa expiring soon? If so, you should check out this blog post, where we discuss extending your visa or getting a change of status.

Read More »

Attorney Saman Movassaghi, Esq.

Caring and compassionate, Saman Movassaghi Gonzalez is a Florida immigration attorney dedicated to producing the results her clients need. She has over 17 years of experience helping both corporate and individual clients with an emphasis in employment/investment cases and family adjustment cases.

As the Managing Attorney at Florida Immigration Law Counsel, Saman Movassaghi Gonzalez and her team are capable of representing and helping individuals looking to attain a Family VisaWork Visa, and Citizenship/Naturalization. Her experience successfully representing clients in front of the Department of Justice for cases involving Deportation/Removal Proceedings will lead to success in your case.

Her experience and expertise in immigration litigation has led to multiple Avvo awards and other accolades, including the Clients’ Choice for 2017 Immigration Attorney. Her clients also consistently post positive reviews on her Facebook page. Her experience has also allowed her to teach a new generation of lawyers as an adjunct professor of law at Nova Southeastern University, and she also regularly gives speeches on immigration matters.

Counselor Gonzalez is also experienced in helping corporate clients through the process of filing for Employment Visas, Labor Certifications, and Business and Investment Visas with the Department of Labor. She takes on the entire case from start to finish, simplifying the process for her clients and allowing them to focus on their business.

Fluent in English, Spanish, and Farsi – Saman Movassaghi Gonzalez is dedicated to making her clients feel comfortable and assured in making her their go-to immigration attorney in Florida. Her goal is to ensure that those who want to live the American dream have a professional fighting for them and making the process as painless as possible.

Saman’s passion for immigration law stems from her personal life as the daughter of immigrants. Her parents were recipients of the student F1 visa in 1971. Her father came into this country with the goal to improve his life and the life of his children. He earned a PhD in Civil Engineering and Business, instilling in his daughter a strong work ethic that she carries to this day. Saman saw firsthand what it means to be an immigrant and achieve the American Dream.

Saman Movassaghi Gonzalez can personally understand the struggle of immigrants and the children of immigrants navigating through the bureaucratic process of immigration law. Because of this, she dedicates herself fully and provides her personal attention to every case. She prides herself on developing a strong relationship with each and every client, and she is not afraid of pushing the envelope and looking for answers where other attorneys have failed.

Saman Movassaghi makes it her goal to provide you with only the best representation for immigration matters because she believes it’s time for you to live the American dream!