Culleton: Trump's contradictions on immigration

One does not need to criticize President Donald Trump. He criticizes himself every time he opens his mouth. For example, at a recent White House meeting on immigration reform a Democratic senator proposed the passage of the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) bill as a clean bill. Trump agreed. Immediately, a Republican legislator jumped in and suggested that what the president meant was the DACA bill plus border security. Trump said “Oh yes, that is what I meant.” Of course, that was not he had agreed to a few moments before. Did he not understand what a “clean bill” is?

At a later meeting on the same subject Trump referred to Haiti, some Central American countries and some African countries by a vulgar name I cannot repeat here. He stated that immigrants from Nigeria would rather stay here instead of returning to their huts. As it happens, immigrants from Nigeria have a higher average education than the people of our nation. This columnist attended college with young men from Nigeria. They were from prosperous families, were of the Christian faith, spoke excellent English and had no problem with handling the coursework at the University of San Francisco.


Many decades later I sang in a church choir in Randallstown. The congregation was largely Nigerian plus a smaller number of other African immigrants. They were in no way impoverished nor their children ill-mannered.

They were of course proud of their roots. The women wore turbans representing their communities in Nigeria.

When a visiting Nigerian priest celebrated Mass and sang Nigerian hymns a cappella, they sang with him, and there were tears in some eyes.

They were indeed as proud of their homeland as any Irish or Italian or Greek community, but they accepted the rest of us with grace and friendship.

Donald Trump never had a Nigerian roommate, never served in the military with American troops born in Canada or South America or the Philippines or Puerto Rico, never shared a pew with Nigerian families, never viewed Korean culture from close range for 14 months, all of which fall in my life experience. This is just his first government job.

He is probably not aware that Haitian men came to our country to help fight in our American Revolution. There is a statue honoring their service down South. He is not aware of the constitutional definition of treason.

The list goes on.

So I should cut him some slack for his ignorance but not for his arrogance.

President Trump is at least consistent in one of his positions. He wants to eliminate “chain migration”: the process where American citizens can sponsor family members to migrate here and become citizens. But this is the process which helped our large cities gain their ethnic neighborhoods, Irish, Italian, Lithuanian, Jewish and so on.

Many Trump supporters oppose the process by which pregnant women come to the United States, have their babies here, and establish over time an “anchor” to allow their entire family to migrate here. The Mexican population of Montgomery County is increased regularly by this method.

Recently, it has come to light that a similar process exists for families of considerable wealth from other nations to establish a path to American citizenship. A pregnant woman takes a long vacation in a Florida luxury resort and has her child in that state. This process is not cheap. Some have paid tens of thousands of dollars overall. Such pregnancy vacationists can come from any nation but three nations contribute the most such candidates: Russia, China and (drum roll) Nigeria. Of course, some of the most popular such resorts have the name “Trump” on them. One wonders how the president would react to this news if one of his staff is brave enough to expose him to these facts.

Indeed, I am very grateful to Donald Trump for one facet of his incumbency. He is a recruiting poster for Democrats to run in and win in the November mid-term elections. Republican incumbents are withdrawing from running for re-election all over the country. It is loyal Republicans who should be furious with him. At the national level he is putting the Republican Party in minority status for years, perhaps decades. Plus the furors over immigration and the bestselling book “Fire and Fury” (my copy is on backorder) cover up some very good news for the administration. Factories are being built here again. Wages are being raised in some companies. The other furors have chased that news off the front pages.