You can understand the White House allowing DACA renewals to continue, argues Mark Krikorian, for the sake of avoiding a political headache while they’re busy with health care and tax reform.
But why would President Borderhawk allow new applicants to take advantage of Obama’s still-not-yet-canceled executive amnesty? Why not close the program to new enrollees until Congress address the issue?
[D]uring the first three months of this year, USCIS has approved 107,524 DACA renewals and 17,275 new applications. Of the 90 days in the January to March period, 70 of them have been on Trump’s watch, or about 78 percent. Assuming a constant rate of processing, that would mean Donald Trump has given access to work permits, Social Security numbers, driver’s licenses, EITC, and more to 13,436 illegal aliens who had not already been amnestied by Obama. That’s an average of 192 new illegals a day granted amnesty by Donald Trump…
[I]ssuing new work permits to illegals who don’t have them already makes no sense at all, either from a P.R. perspective or politically. My speculation is that the White House has no idea what to do about DACA and so is just letting it continue on autopilot – amnestying 192 new illegals a day.
In theory there’s useful PR to be had here in terms of softening Trump’s image on immigration, contra the media caricature of him as some ruthless mass-deporter. But his decision to let DACA continue even for new enrollees is almost never mentioned in press coverage of immigration. Instead it’s 99 percent travel ban and border wall. Offhand the only story about DACA and DREAMers I can recall getting major play over the last few months was the one from April about a DACA enrollee who left the country and then wasn’t allowed back in. There’s no sense keeping the program open to new applicants for PR reasons when the press refuses to credit you for it.
Likewise, he’s never going to bring Democrats to the table for a grand bargain on immigration unless he applies some pressure. Keeping Obama’s amnesty completely intact is the opposite of that. Speaking of which, his plan to make the border wall more salable to environmentalist liberals (and fiscal conservatives) by plastering it with solar panels and supposedly having it pay for itself has hit a snag:
If constructed, the border-wall-solar-plant would generate about $221 million in annual profit. Without adjusting for inflation, taxpayers would be in the black after a term of just 125 years.
Unfortunately, the value of money changes over time. So, discounting at a rate of 10 percent, even 215 years of $221 million annual payments would shrivel up to $2.2 billion in real dollars—leaving a $25.4 billion gap.
In other words, taxpayers would never recoup their costs.
It gets worse. “Solar panels aren’t even supposed to last 100 years,” Johnson said in an interview Thursday. “So you’d probably have to replace them at some point.”
Solar power’s not going to pay for the wall, although of course it can defray a bit of the expense. There are other ways in which the wall might pay for itself — for instance, assuming that each illegal immigrant produces a net fiscal loss to the United States due to education costs, the wall might save money in the long run if it prevents a large enough number from entering. But in the end, that may be the only way in which Trump keeps his promise to have Mexico pay for it.
The nice thing about having him in the White House, supposedly, was that he wouldn’t need to be pressured to crack down on amnesty the way the average establishment Republican inevitably does. He’d do it because he wants to do it, not because the grassroots is yelling at him. Yet here we are in June and it seems like the only way to get him to take the DACA issue seriously is to have his base get in his face and demand action. Apart from Krikorian, Ann Coulter, and a few specialist outfits like Numbers USA, is there any meaningful pressure on him from the right to fix this? Or is the travel ban enough to keep them happy?