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Politicians love to kick around America's immigration policy football during election season. One side makes loud noises about deporting every undocumented immigrant in sight back to Mexico—after all, they're all from Mexico, right?

melania visa problems

What Hath Melania Wrought?—Dick Price

Another side makes more reasoned noises about "pathways to citizenship"—provided the people involved pay all back taxes, get in line, and jump through hoops.

And then we go vote, some from one side get elected, some from the other side get elected, and not much actually happens to the people most affected—the immigrants who may have lived and worked here for years, or for decades, always in the shadows, their families' lives in jeopardy.

This week's poll about Melania Trump and her immigration woes shed some light on this controversy. From the response, it appears that people may have realized that this whole business about the former Melania Knauss getting paid to pose for a stack of nude photos years ago, before she had the right kind of visa, is a red herring designed to draw our attention away from far more weighty matters.

Immigration No Joke

Not that immigration reform and our government’s trenchant inability to deal with it in a sensible, humane way isn’t weighty. Currently, something south of 11 million undocumented immigrants' lives hang in the balance, ping-pong balls in outrageous discussions that include the utterly impractical notion that politicians of Donald Trump's ilk would load them up in fleets of busses and drive them south.

What the flap around Donald Trump’s third wife’s entry into the country does expose is the biased nature of America's immigration policies and the racist underbelly of the political discussions that surround them.

And in a more deadly concrete vein, the Supreme Court's decision to deny relief from deportation for millions of undocumented parents under the DAPA/DACA program puts these people in an impossible position, unable to pursue secure, worry-free lives.

What the flap around Donald Trump’s third wife’s entry into the country does expose is the biased nature of America's immigration policies and the racist underbelly of the political discussions that surround them.

As the chart in our survey showed, far and away the country with the most foreign visitors who overstay their U.S. visas is Canada—with 93,035 in 2015, more than twice as many as Mexico’s 42,114. And no other Central American country ranks in the top 10 in this regard.

But you never hear any outcry about undocumented Canadians taking up space, raping and pillaging, or grabbing American jobs. Nor is there ever any mention of building a wall along the 5,525-mile border between the two countries, which would be one heck of a jobs program—one that Canadians from Vancouver to St. John's, Newfoundland, would likely help build should Trump be elected president.

Same for the Germany, Italy, or the United Kingdom, which also made the top 10.

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Sometimes, it seems that politicians of a certain stink raise issues about undocumented immigrants—not that they don't know that immigrants traditionally have been the lifeblood of America’s prosperity, not because they don’t know that the proposed pathway to citizenship is both humane and sensible—but because demagoguery is a proven pathway to political power. Faceless Mexican farmers struggling north for better lives for their families are better targets for that kind of hatred than Slovenian nude models married to loud-mouthed billionaires.

Visa Overstays

Trump's Imploding Campaign

Clearly, the hue and cry around Melania's plight has much more to do with her husband’s disastrous presidential campaign, which is falling apart before our eyes. Everyday brings a new outrageous statement, more wrong-headed and insulting than the last, and more grim news about how far he is falling behind his Democratic challenger—now 15 percentage points behind Hillary Clinton in one poll.

And the mainstream media—especially MSNBC and CNN—are howling in delight, throwing Melania's immigration missteps on the same fire with chief campaign advisor Paul Manafort's ties to pro-Russian Ukrainian politicians, the Trumpmeister’s refusal to endorse prominent Republicans and then backhandedly doing so…well, you know the story.

Folks are even talking about how Trump might terminate his campaign, and then how the Republican Party would get someone else in his place with less than 90 days to go before the election.

Yes, The Donald is shooting himself in both feet, and far be it from me to defend him even the least little bit. He would be an absolutely horrible president, an embarrassment that the nation would need decades to live down, one that could do grevious damage to our society and our standing in the world.

But lost in that shuffle—and surely not by accident—is any hard look at Hillary Clinton’s rather lackluster campaign. Yes, her team has the mainstream media—which largely created the Trump phenomenon—blasting day and night what a wonderful president she will make and what a lousy one he will make.

And yes, compared to Trump's repeated off-the-cuff gaffes, Hillary's too carefully scripted utterances are letter perfect, uninspiring but accurate.


I hear how we’d be “better together” and how she’ll make such a great progressive president. I wish I could believe a word of it.

And oh, weren't we supposed to be focusing on immigration?

Dick Price
Editor, LA Progressive