Recently, lawmakers from both major American parties – Democratic and Republican – agreed at a White House meeting with President Donald Trump to work together on drafting a bill on immigration. According to the Voice of America, their effort will focus on ways to address four major issues, including border security, “chain migration” (legalization of one’s residence in the US through family connections), the future of the visa lottery and the “dreamers” (migrants who entered the US illegally as children).
According to Reuters, Trump has said he would sign a bill that would provide a legal status to hundreds of thousands of unregistered “dreamers” if the document would contain provisions on border security, including the financing for a Mexico border wall. “Now, that doesn’t mean 2,000 miles of wall because you just don’t need that... because of mountains and rivers and lots of other things,” said Trump and added: “But we need a certain portion of that border to have the wall. If we don’t have it, you can never have security.”
“THE PRESIDENT IS SHIFTING FROM A RADICAL TO A PALLIATIVE STANCE”
The Day began a conversation with Professor Oleksandr TSVIETKOV, an Americanist from Hrynchenko University of Kyiv, by asking how important and timely this reform was for the US.
“This is a difficult time, especially for the White House and the political establishment in Washington. All recent events took place against the background of the release of Michael Wolff’s book offering an inside view of the White House and a critical picture of the formation of the political course of the country through the White House. In addition, no one has ever stirred up the audience during the Golden Globes award ceremony as much as Oprah Winfrey did this time, who, with her passionate speech, disturbed the entire political milieu. She took a stand against sexual harassment and racial discrimination, which was picked up by the Time’s Up feminist movement. All this has become the background for a political debate on immigration.
“The thing is, when Trump was still fighting for the presidency, he proposed a drastic, radical approach to immigration issues, in particular, by taking a harsh stance on the issue of the deportation of illegal immigrants, who number up to 11 million in the US.
“As of now, the two major parties have agreed on a palliative measure, I mean postponing for some time the consideration of the so-called DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), or in other words, delaying the resolution of the deportation issue regarding migrants who entered the US illegally as children. The presidential position on this issue has changed. There are now three poles emerging in the Washington political establishment: the Republican and Democratic parties in Congress and the position of the president, who is shifting somewhat away from his previous stance, from a radical to a palliative one.
“All this is superimposed on a new issue – the forthcoming grand immigration bargain that will apply to all illegal immigrants, that is, more than 11 million residents of the US. This is a very high-profile issue for that country, and a shift in the president’s position may well become that additional factor that will resolve the issue that the previous three presidents had failed to resolve.
“Therefore, this kind of change of course and such an opportunity emerging against the background of obstruction in political life regarding the White House and the political establishment draws attention.”
Trump insists that the bill should include a provision for a wall to be built along the border with Mexico. In your opinion, which aspects should this migration reform take into account?
“The wall is a tribute to the president’s previous radical speeches, after all. The question of child illegal migrants will be of greatest importance, and it is likely to be resolved in accordance with the two parties’ approaches, as well as the forthcoming agreement on 11 million migrants. This is the most powerful agreement that can be achieved. There is still no certainty that this will happen, but it is a realistic prospect now. And this is so serious that we are seeing changes in the positions of the conservatives, in their approaches to this issue, there are some disappointments. For example, most likely, Steve Bannon’s strong career is over, as he has been removed from an editorial position in his Breitbart News magazine. In general, all these events indicate that the US government is looking for new solutions to domestic policy issues; it now needs to achieve some positive results, and the situation is being used by both parties to address issues that have been pressing over recent years. It must be understood that this is happening in America, a nation of immigrants. That is, this issue is of great concern to many.”
US media have started to discuss possible presidential ambitions of TV host Oprah Winfrey. In addition, the White House has confirmed that president Trump will take part in the 2020 presidential election. What does such news mean?
“Of course, 2020 is still a long way off. However, Winfrey’s speeches touch upon the most pressing issues on America’s agenda, including sexual harassment, support for the feminist movement, and protests against racial discrimination, as she is African American. She embodies those political issues that are now the talk of the country.
“Particular attention is also drawn to this issue due to the fact that, although the presidential election will take place in 2020, the midterm congressional election will occur in 2018. Both parties will compete to shape the political agenda for the midterm election. They are looking for leaders who will be able to help them achieve positive results. For the Democrats, this is a moment when they can reform and tune in for a new leader.”