All of my political predictions about Donald Trump were wrong. I predicted that he wouldn’t get the Republican Party nomination despite all of the polls to the contrary. I followed the polls closely during the election and thought Trump would lose. I was wrong again. While certainly no mandate, Trump won the election. Now the policies his administration will implement and push for are what matters. We have very little to go on when it comes to predicting his actions. Trump has no voting record on this and other issues. His statements, actions, a policy paper, and his staff picks are the best indicators of this actions.
My prediction is that Trump will increase the scale and scope of immigration enforcement, rescind President Obama’s executive actions or at a minimum not allow Dreamers renew their status, massively curtail or end the refugee program, and try to convince Congress to cut legal immigration. I’ve been wrong about Trump in the past and I hope I’m wrong here too. Let me lay out evidence that I think supports my pessimism and evidence that supports a more optimistic interpretation.
Optimistic Take: Why Trump Could Not be THAT Bad
Trump is not ideologically grounded except that he is a nationalist and a populist. Those political instincts usually manifest an anti-foreign bias in trade and immigration but they don’t have to. Trump has portrayed himself as a deal maker so it’s possible he’s staked out a harsh immigration position as a bargaining tactic to get concessions elsewhere.