Donald Trump may talk tough on illegal immigration, but I don’t believe it. He’s made contrary statements in the past about what to do with the millions of illegals in this country, even advocating a path to citizenship. He has donated money to Hillary Clinton’s senate campaigns in New York. His recent statements about illegal immigration are somewhat demagogic and uninformed. He said Mexico is “sending” criminals to this country. I’ve seen no evidence that the Mexican government is doing this. Immigration experts don’t believe the government has such a program. They also have ample evidence that the people who illegally cross the border are not the poorest of the poor. It takes money to make the journey, particularly to hire a smuggler, and those at the bottom don’t have the means to do so.
If the Mexican government were the cause of the problem, a solution would be possible. The U.S. government has ways of resolving disputes with our neighboring states. We would have acted by now.
If Donald Trump is serious about cracking down on illegal immigration, he needs to do what very dew employers of low-wage workers will do: prove he doesn’t hire them. He owns numerous well-maintained golf courses (possibly through a corporation like Trump International). Who maintains those courses? Landscaping jobs tend to go to illegal immigrants at the minimum wage, particularly in hot climates. Mr. Trump should publicly disclose who the compliance officer is for the entity that owns the golf courses. That person should detail how the company hires its landscapers. Does it follow the law scrupulously and see everyone’s social security card and picture ID to establish employment authorization? Or does it take the easy way out and outsource the work to landscaping firms with their own employees? If so, then the owners of those firms should be quizzed in the same way. Recall Mitt Romney got into trouble when it was disclosed his landscaper used illegal immigrants to maintain his lawn.
If Mr. Trump believes such questions are beneath him, that hiring legal workers should be delegated to a compliance officer, then he knows little about the problem. Landscaping is rife with illegals. Any employer that sincerely wants to avoid hiring them needs to have a clear protocol in place for handling applicants with no documents or fake looking ones. Most compliance officers are trained not to ask questions. Questions lead to messy lawsuits alleging discrimination. It’s safer to err on the side of hiring since enforcement at the workplace is nearly non-existent in the Obama administration.
Reporters looking at Mr. Trump’s sincerity on illegal immigration need not go much further than asking who cuts the grass.