I believe America is facing the most important presidential election in my lifetime, or even longer. America needs and is crying out for meaningful change. Unless something far beyond what anybody can imagine happens, voters will choose between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. What follows is an approach for making that choice.
This approach is prompted by a book I referenced in another column. It is A Sense of Urgency by John P. Kotter. Kotter writes that he is often asked, “What is the single biggest error people make when they try to change?” Kotter concluded, “…they did not create a high enough sense of urgency among enough people to set the stage for making a challenging leap into some new direction.”
I believe what Kotter says provides an effective approach for choosing between Clinton and Trump. That is, which one is acting with the greater sense of urgency?
A sense of urgency leads decision-makers to gather relevant information and then, with capable individuals, discuss and choose courses of action in light of need and free from pursuing personal or political gain. With this view of how urgency impacts addressing issues, consider one in the 2016 presidential race with focus on Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. The issue is illegal immigration.
From Clinton’s website, key points of her plan for addressing illegal immigration can be summarized. Some of these were also presented in her acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention. She will, within the first 100 days, introduce comprehensive immigration reform, which will provide a pathway to full and equal citizenship for people already in the country illegally. This action will supposedly “treat every person with dignity, fix the family visa backlog, uphold the rule of law, protect our borders and national security, and bring millions of hardworking people into the formal economy.” Clinton also commits to fight for implementation of “Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents,” or DAPA. This is a Department of Homeland Security program to provide undocumented immigrant parents of U.S. citizen children temporary protection against involuntary removal from the country. Judge Andrew Hanan, of the federal district court in Brownsville, Texas, halted the program in response to a challenge by 26 states. The Supreme Court voted 4-4 on the matter, which allowed the Hanan ruling to stand.
Furthermore, Clinton will “end family detention for parents and children who arrive at our border in desperate situations and close private immigrant detention centers.” I read this to mean parents and children who enter the country illegally will not be held for vetting. They will be sent on to a relative or other person to await going through the legal process required to stay in America. She also intends to allow families, no matter their immigration status, to “buy into the Affordable Care Act exchanges. Families who want to purchase health insurance should be able to do so.”
Using his website as reference, move to Donald Trump’s view on illegal immigration. His website position comments open with some relevant statements:
(1) “When politicians talk about ‘immigration reform’ they mean: amnesty, cheap labor and open borders; (2) Real immigration reform puts the needs of working people first — not wealthy globetrotting donors; (3) We are the only country in the world whose immigration system puts the needs of other nations ahead of our own; (4) A nation without borders is not a nation; (5) A nation without laws is not a nation. Laws passed in accordance with our Constitutional system of government must be enforced; (6) A nation that does not serve its own citizens is not a nation. Any immigration plan must improve jobs, wages and security for all Americans.”
After these opening statements on Trump’s website, as he did in his nomination acceptance speech, he goes into the negative impact of illegal immigration. This section runs from the resulting crime to heightened unemployment among legal residents and the financial cost of supporting illegal immigrants. Costs include healthcare, housing, education, welfare, etc. He supports his contentions with facts. For example, a link is provided to a letter dated Oct. 27, 2014, written to President Obama by Peter Kirsanow, a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. The letter is available on www.breitbart.com/ in an article titled “Civil Rights Advocate Tells Obama: Amnesty Harms Black Workers.” At one point, Kirsanow writes:
“In 2008, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights held a briefing regarding the impact of illegal immigration on the wages and employment opportunities of African-Americans. The testimony at the briefing indicated that illegal immigration disproportionately impacts the wages and employment opportunities of African-American men.”
“The briefing witnesses, well-regarded scholars from leading universities and independent groups, were ideologically diverse. All the witnesses acknowledged that illegal immigration has a negative impact on black employment, both in terms of employment opportunities and wages. The witnesses differed on the extent of that impact, but every witness agreed that illegal immigration has a discernible negative effect on black employment. For example, Professor Gordon Hanson’s research showed that “Immigration . . . accounts for about 40 percent of the 18 percentage point decline [from 1960-2000] in black employment rates.”’
Against this backdrop of what we face regarding illegal immigration, Trump puts forth actions for addressing the problem. He proposes 17 actions. Here are some of them:
1. Build a wall along the southern border and have Mexico pay for it. That promise is reiterated, accompanied by actions that will be employed to ensure Mexico pays. One of several possible actions is “the United States will … impound all remittance payments derived from illegal wages.” That is, funds being sent to persons in Mexico by illegal immigrants in America would be impounded.
2. Triple the number of ICE officers. Trump’s website quotes the President of the ICE Officers’ Council as explaining in Congressional testimony: “Only approximately 5,000 officers and agents within ICE perform the lion’s share of ICE’s immigration mission … Compare that to the Los Angeles Police Department at approximately 10,000 officers. Approximately 5,000 officers in ICE cover 50 states, Puerto Rico and Guam, and are attempting to enforce immigration law against 11 million illegal aliens already in the interior of the United States.” Immigration and Customs Enforcement enforces both immigration and customs laws, which involves going after illegal immigrants in U.S. territory, employers who hire illegal immigrants, and those trying to smuggle goods or contraband into the country.
3. Enforce nationwide E-Verify. E-Verify is a free online program that electronically verifies the employment eligibility of newly hired employees.
4. Mandatory return of all criminal aliens. “All criminal aliens must be returned to their home countries, a process which can be aided by canceling any visas to foreign countries which will not accept their own criminals, and making it a separate and additional crime to commit an offense while here illegally.”
5. Detention — not catch-and-release. “Illegal aliens apprehended crossing the border must be detained until they are sent home, no more catch-and-release.”
6. End birthright citizenship. Birthright citizenship is the practice of granting automatic citizenship to children born in the United States. This provision is a tremendous draw for illegal immigration, since even children of illegal immigrants are covered by this provision.
I contend what is presented above allows for definitively determining who, between Clinton and Trump, will treat illegal immigration with the greater sense of urgency. Clinton puts forth actions that focus on illegal immigrants to the detriment of American citizens, even black Americans who support her in great numbers. Her proposed actions, such as comprehensive immigration reform, have been considered for years by Congress with no success. Providing health insurance for illegals under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is unfair to American taxpayers and the program’s future is in doubt given dramatic premium increases, low participation rates by young people, withdrawals of insurance companies, failing exchanges, and so forth. The picture here is one of saying what might appeal to immigrant voters, but is unlikely to happen and is only intended to win an election. This kind of conduct by Clinton is not limited to illegal immigration. It shows in every issue and facet of her public service. This indicates a general lack of urgency regarding important issues.
On the other hand, Trump passionately focuses on Americans, examines issues and proposes solutions that reflect thought, positive change, and boldness. He follows the tenet that actions are measured by outcomes and, therefore, should be driven by desired outcomes. All of this is a formula that generates a sense of urgency. Donald Trump is employing the formula and I sense urgency.
John Kotter is right … without a sense of urgency, productive change does not happen to the extent needed. Consider this truth when choosing Clinton or Trump.