Dear Mr. Trump:
In about three weeks you will—much to even your surprise and the shock of millions—be president of the United States. As a once undocumented immigrant turned U.S. citizen and immigrant voter, I listened with shock and dismay to the verbiage that spewed from your mouth at your election campaign rallies on immigrants and immigration. I also watched with horror the response from the mostly white supporters in your audiences at the time to the “deport them all” and “big wall plan.”
But now that the election is over and you have the entire country to run, I can only hope that you will understand that your immigration plan as laid bare during your campaign will not work, especially if as you say, you are focused on boosting the U.S. economy.
I’m encouraged by some of the softer tones you have taken in the weeks since your election on the issue, especially as it relates to deportation of criminals rather than all undocumented immigrants and of your indication to work something out for the Dreamers. You know, those young immigrants who benefited from President Obama’s 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, initiative and who must be filled with incredible angst this holiday as they wonder if you will deport them in the new year.
Mr. Trump, I must believe that as a New Yorker who has been liberal most of your life, you possibly cannot believe all the crap you have spewed about solving the U.S. immigration crisis. It was all to fool the alt-right into voting for you, right?
Well now that you have won, how about winning again? You now have the Republican Congress in your pocket. They must do your bidding as you helped save their butts and their jobs this Christmas, like Jesus saved us all.
It’s time now to use this power to be the president no one thinks you can be and make some big waves like Ronald Reagan. You can do what Obama did not and could not—pass a comprehensive immigration reform plan.
Sure, you can keep security of the borders and keep the criminals out. By the way, you don’t need to build an actual wall with a big door for that. There is technology that can secure the border, too. You should also continue the policy of Obama and keep deporting criminal immigrants.
But what you must ensure you deal with are the undocumented immigrants who have no criminal records and who are hardworking and want to build this country. They are already contributing “bigly” to the economy and I am sure you, as a businessman who employs immigrant workers, know that.
Ending DACA alone could cause businesses and employers to incur unnecessary turnover costs of $3.4 billion according to the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, even as the Center for Progress says kicking these recipients out of the workforce would cost the nation $433.4 billion in lost gross domestic product over a decade.
Do the right thing as a liberal thinking New Yorker, Mr. Trump, and keep the alt-right in their place while pushing an immigrant plan that allows for the non-criminal undocumented immigrants within the borders now to obtain a work permit, a travel document, learn English and pay taxes.
This is not amnesty but economics and homeland security 101. Here’s to a happy and productive New Year.
The writer is CMO at Hard Beat Communications, Inc.