Opinion: How Trump has dumbed down his base’s thinking on immigration

President Trump addresses new American citizens on a recording shown at a naturalization ceremony on Jan. 22 in Newark, N.J.
President Trump addresses new American citizens on a recording shown at a naturalization ceremony on Jan. 22 in Newark, N.J.
(John Moore / Getty Images)

To the editor: Jonah Goldberg concludes his Jan. 22 column, “If Trump wanted a clear — and immediate — win on illegal immigration, he’d evolve and recognize that the wall’s greatest utility might be as a bargaining chip.”

No, President Trump won’t evolve. Using the wall as a symbol or a bargaining chip, as Goldberg suggests, will not satisfy the members of his base. They see a wall; they understand a wall.

It’s the same way with the diversity lottery, which they vehemently oppose. His base sees only a fish bowl holding cards being plucked out one by one by a blindfolded secretary. They do not see or understand that nobody gets in that lottery who has not already been vetted and has been found to have no history that would suggest he or she would fail to become a good citizen.

Nate Tucker, Costa Mesa


To the editor: It was laughable for White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly to say that Trump was uninformed in his thinking about the wall and that his views had evolved.


Sure, Kelly may have wanted to foster that impression. Why? Though Trump won’t admit it, he knows well that American business and agricultural interests — and, ultimately, price-conscious consumers — rely heavily on low-paid undocumented immigrant labor.

But that matters not where Trump won’t ditch his schtick: Divert attention from inconvenient truths, while dishing demagogic drivel that delights ill-informed, bigoted masses.

Kelly excels as chief of staff because he helps the president have it both ways: appeal to the bigoted masses, who thrive on Trump’s twisted tweets, and placate rational, better-informed voters, who favor Kelly’s more forthright comments.

Mel Farber, Pacific Palisades


To the editor: Goldberg hit the nail on the head: It’s the employers, stupid!

My German-immigrant stepfather (here since 1957) complained vigorously about illegal immigrants: “I came here legally, they should too.” I asked him point blank, “You own a restaurant; do you check I-9 forms for all of your staff?” No one does, he said, because there wouldn’t be any cheap labor.

Therein lies the problem. If you offer it (jobs), they will come. The solution lies with the employers, not the employees.

Wendy Winter, Altadena

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