Latest Trump Betrayal Has Base Questioning Its Vote

Joe Guzzardi
April 16, 2017

President Donald Trump’s choice to head the White House Council of Economic Advisers might be the next-to-the-last straw for the millions of voters who put him in office.

Only Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ vigorous enforcement actions keep disappointed GOP voters from joining #resisttrump. From Nogales on the U.S.-Mexico border last week, Sessions warned prospective illegal immigrants that U.S. immigration laws will be enforced, that catch-and-release is over, and that in the next few months 125 new immigration judges will be hired to expedite alien removals.

According to Homeland Security Department statistics, illegal border crossing have declined 70 percent since Trump’s inauguration.

While it may seem an exaggeration to predict that Trump’s base is on the verge of jumping ship, the facts point in that direction. The latest bad news blast is that, pending the Senate Banking Committee’s confirmation, open borders advocate and former American Enterprise Institute economist Kevin Hassett will become Trump’s go-to guy on economic policy, and will push for much of what candidate Trump pledged to end.

Hassett favors more international trade, and a doubling of the current more than 1 million immigration annual total. Ominously, President Barack Obama’s CEA chairman, Jason Furman, hailed Hassett’s selection.

The Financial Times quoted Hassett on why, in his opinion, America needs more immigrant workers: “With lackluster GDP growth threatening to become our new normal, allowing more immigrants to enter for the sake of employment is one of the few policies that might restore our old normal. If the U.S. doubled its total immigration and prioritized bringing in new workers, it could add more than half a percentage point a year to expected GDP growth.”

Respected economists, however, have repeatedly qualified the more-immigration-equals-higher-GDP theory.

Harvard Kennedy School economics and social policy professor George Borjas acknowledges that while more immigrants do in fact increase GDP, nearly all the increases accrue to those immigrants in the form of payments received for labor performed.

Elaborating, he states that immigration is a redistributive policy that boosts corporate profits and provides cheap labor to elites, but lowers American wages. Since the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act that spiked higher immigration, U.S. wages have been stagnant.

In 2016, a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine study found that legal and illegal immigration transfers about $500 billion annually from wages for working Americans to corporations, Wall Street investors and new immigrants. Immigration also creates more consumers, a boon to corporate America, but a burden for U.S. taxpayers who subsidize immigrants’ entitlements.

The Hassett debacle comes on top of other Trump administration failures to convert immigration-related promises into presidential realities.

Most recently, Obama holdover Kevin McAleenan’s nomination to head Customs and Border Protection also left Trump’s supporters dazed and confused. According to interviews with border patrol agents, McAleenan, because of his commitment to catch-and-release, is widely disliked.

Agents question why Trump, despite their public endorsement of his candidacy, and with so many other qualified candidates, would betray them.

Trump vowed to end deferred action, clean up visa fraud, mandate E-Verify and slow refugee resettlement, but little if anything has changed from Obama’s era. Trump’s enthusiasts are left to wonder what his next broken promise will be.

— Joe Guzzardi is a senior writing fellow for Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) who now lives in Pittsburgh. He can be reached at, or follow him on Twitter: @joeguzzardi19. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.