Donald Trump has a well thought-out immigration program, far better than anything Hillary Clinton ever came up with, and it's not mass deportation for every illegal immigrant in the land.
Much was spelled out months ago, and a major modification was added later. But now it seems no one has been listening, and so we are having weeping and gnashing of teeth.
It's true he starts out tough, planning to crack down on criminals who are here against the law, but, except for the speed with which it could be carried out, it's not much different from what President Barack Obama has done. In his eight years in office, Obama has deported a record number of immigrants, 2.2 million, with emphasis on those whose handgun skills, for instance, were not particularly needed.
For all kinds of reasons, from manpower to dealing with sanctuary cities as he has promised, Trump may not move as fast as he would like. But home journeys for uninvited guests intruding on American safety is scarcely an evil.
He likewise wants to tighten security both at the border and through systems that will identify people who came here legally and overstayed their visas. If you are ever going to have amnesty for those illegals who have contributed to their communities after long stays, you've got to do this. Offering amnesty first is a way of shouting come one, come all, and they will come.
Trump has talked about building a wall, of course, but doing that across 2,000 miles of desert would be wastefully expensive and stupid. A small wall here and there might help and would likely satisfy Trump supporters if more manpower and technical devices were employed to get the security job done.
While it's true, as many point out, that Mexican illegals are no longer the gush they used to be, those coming from Central America through Mexico are a new gush. The trip is no gift for those abused by the smugglers, least of all the young women who are raped multiple times.
Next, and maybe most importantly, Trump wants to adjust the current legal system, reducing the million or so admitted yearly and rearranging laws to bring in mostly those who are skilled, educated and entrepreneurial and will contribute mightily to the economy. Some unskilled admissions can still contribute in some areas of the economy, but we now live in a high-tech society where the disadvantage can and does put far too many on the unemployment and welfare rolls.
Those who disagree point to numbers showing that immigrants as a whole are boosting the economy, and when you conflate the skilled with the unskilled, that's true. But when you look at the unskilled alone, you find they have been a major reason for the growth in poverty and that many melt into the underclass. The numbers are such that assimilation and accommodation are all but impossible, and, as one example, the infusion has vastly complicated the mission of our schools.
If you rid the country of the illegal immigrants who are criminal, if you control the inflow of still more illegal immigrants, if you cut down on the total number of immigrants and bring in mostly those who lift us economically, it becomes plausible to make another move.
You can grant legality and maybe a path to citizenship to those illegal immigrants who are solid societal contributors. At one point, Trump was saying this could only happen by sending them back to their native countries, where they would have to stand in line. But then he switched to saying he would figure out an answer when the other steps were accomplished.
There are other immigration issues, of course, but what critics need to do is grant Trump's evolution into reasonableness and debate what's now proposed, not what was once issued from a strident mouth.