News Sips 2/22: Immigration Enforcement, Travel Restrictions, Americans Oppose Sanctuary Cities, and Stocks Soaring
Here are the four things you need to know before your coffee gets cold, the February 22, 2017 edition:
As one of his first acts, the President issued an Executive Order that directed the Department of Homeland Security (et al.) to begin enforcing existing immigration laws. Two memorandums were released over the weekend and signed by Secretary Kelly that are designed to enable this Order.
Basically, the memorandums are a restatement of the need to enforce existing immigration law: if you’re here illegally, you’re here illegally. DHS will be prioritizing illegal aliens who have committed crimes, are charged with crimes, or could be charged with crimes for deportation. It is empowering local law enforcement to cooperate with these enforcement efforts, hiring new agents, and working on constructing a border wall. The Wall will be prioritized in several locations where existing barriers are either non-existent or deficient. There is a specific carve-out in the new policies for “Dreamers,” or, illegal aliens who were brought to the country as children.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer noted that anyone in the country illegally could be subject to deportation, but that, given the immense number of illegals in the country (given by Spicer to be around 13 million), the most practical aim would be to expedite the removal of illegal criminals. The biggest shift from the Obama-Era deportation policy is that the Trump Administration will allow for deportation of people who are suspected of committing crimes rather than having to spend thousands of taxpayer dollars on a prison stay and trial. Given that there’s no right to be in the United States illegally (the ACLU disagrees, but that’s expected), prioritizing removal of criminal illegal aliens would save taxpayers billions of dollars and free-up judicial resources.
As we’ve covered several times, the President will be rolling out a revised version of his Executive Order geared towards protecting Americans from terrorist threats from at least seven failed states in the Middle East and Africa. With his initial Order stalled in a Seattle court, the President is taking guidance from the early repudiations by liberal judges and reworking the Order to conform, more specifically, to the powers laid out by Congress and given to the President for limiting immigration.
The rationale is fairly simple, the enabling statute allows the President to suspend immigration from certain areas if he deems there’s a national security threat. In the seven countries originally cited (the erroneously titled “Muslim Ban”) by the first Order, the President targeted failed states with inadequate police and investigative forces. These countries, the rationale goes, had very little control over who was boarding planes and heading for the United States (or had governments openly hostile to the United States).
The current posture of the Court with respect to the First Order remains undecided. The Court in Seattle issued a nation-wide Order enjoining the Administration from enforcing the “Travel Ban” (it’s a pause for a certain period of time until a policy of extreme vetting can be put in place). The Ninth Circuit, the most-reversed Appellate Court in the country, upheld this restriction. Thus, the Administration was left with either (basically) appealing the Order to the evenly-divided Supreme Court or fighting the case in Seattle. While it appears that the Department of Justice will continue to pursue the case in Seattle, the easiest way forward was simply to draft a new order which conforms to some of the concerns expressed by the courts (thereby giving the Administration the argument on any new case that they were relying on the direction of the Courts). The new Order is set to be released this week and will likely explicitly exempt persons who were already cleared by the United States for entry into the country while setting out more detailed guidance for border patrol and airports with respect to screening and detention of foreign nationals.
Americans Oppose Sanctuary Cities
A Harvard-Harris poll released yesterday to The Hill (not a conservative publication) showed that a whopping 80% of Americans oppose sanctuary cities. While there is no universal definition of sanctuary cities (hence the reason why places like Baltimore are taking a foolish risk by skirting the line), the generally accepted premise is that law enforcement and government employees will not ask (or are barred from asking) about an individual’s immigration status. The interaction most in dispute is when an individual is picked up by police (however, there is also a large debate over allowing illegal aliens to attend American colleges and universities).
Under current law, there is an obligation for local law enforcement to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents tasked with removing criminal illegal aliens from the country (obviously, among other responsibilities). Under the Obama Administration, jurisdictions were allowed to openly defy the Federal Government on this issue without fear of repercussion from the White House. It’s actually an interesting juxtaposition given that President Obama’s term saw the largest number (total) of deportations of any President, but were actively promoting policies that encouraged people to come to the United States illegally (basically, they were deporting lots of people, but doing nothing about the actual problem: people flowing into the country illegally).
Given the fact that a diverse cross-section of Americans oppose individual jurisdictions declining to enforce Federal law, there’s a strong mandate for the President’s idea that sanctuary jurisdictions should lose their federal funding. Already savvy mayors (like in Miami) have realized that there’s a huge downside to being a sanctuary jurisdiction without much upside at all. It’s going to be telling to see which mayors and leaders around the country see sense and agree with the vast majority of Americans that open defiance of Federal law is not the correct avenue to take with the new Administration.
It’s probably bad economic theory to link rising stock prices to politics (especially when overinflated stocks have a correction and you have to take the blame since you took the credit), but the major indices in the United States have surged more than 10% since Election Day, 2016. Certainly some of this is related to improving economic conditions, but a great deal of large-scale market movement is based more on intuition and feeling rather than calculated science. While one stock’s performance can be reflective of its price-to-earnings ratio and capitalization, looking at the market as a whole gives a bigger window into a general view of investor confidence and business directions.
It’s probably true that the market is overdue for a correction (a dip or drop). That’s just the way a market cycle works. Artificially attempting to insulate the market from a correction has led to less-frequent, but more severe, versions of these drop periods. Despite this looming threat of a dip in stocks, there are few indicators that such a correction is imminent. Rather, investors are pumping money into the market with news of increased consumer confidence. Again, while not all of this confidence should be traced to politics, the correlation of an overtly-business-friendly President taking office and the increase in market performance is probably statistically significant.
Rolling back regulations on businesses and lenders as well as breaking down barriers to hiring and keeping jobs in the country were hallmarks of the campaign for Donald Trump and he has kept these promises since taking office. While liberals are quick to criticize the President for the actions he has taken, they are the precise ones he told people he would take while he was running for office. The American people heard these proposals, and selected Mr. Trump to implement them. It remains to be seen just how high this rally will go, but, considering the market has been smashing through all-time-highs, there still looks to be significant gains in sight.
Of course, there are more things going on in the world, but these should be enough to get your day started.