Podcast featuring Glynn Cosker, Managing Editor, Edge and
Sylvia Longmire, author and border security expert
What will President-elect Biden do to address border security and immigration issues? In this episode, Glynn Cosker talks to border security and immigration expert Sylvia Longmire about expected actions by the Biden Administration. Hear how Biden is likely to reverse many of Trump’s border policies that have caused a humanitarian crisis among asylum seekers. Also learn about anticipated changes to the Temporary Protected Status program, border wall construction, DACA, and more.
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Glynn Cosker: Hello, and welcome to the podcast. I’m Glynn Cosker, your host, and joining me today is someone who is a frequent guest on this podcast, Sylvia Longmire. Sylvia is a published author and expert in border security, the Latin-American drug wars, immigration, and a whole lot more, and she was Ms. Wheelchair U.S.A. in 2016?
Sylvia Longmire: 2016, that is right.
Glynn Cosker: But today, we’re going to talk about the border, the U.S.-Mexico border and immigration, and everything that goes along with that topic, and specifically, we’re going to talk about President-elect Joe Biden’s approach to the border, DACA, immigration, and all that stuff. How are you today, Sylvia?
Sylvia Longmire: Oh, busier than ever. So many things coming out of Mexico right now.
Glynn Cosker: President-elect Biden’s on record, stating he intends to roll back most of President Trump’s immigration policies, if not, all of them. In fact, on his campaign website, he wrote and I quote, “Trump has waged an unrelenting assault on our values and our history as a nation of immigrants,” so he means business.
If he’s finally handed the keys to the White House, I say if, I’m 100% sure it’s when he gets the keys to the White House, what do you think President-elect Biden’s first move will be in regards to the border?
Sylvia Longmire: Well, like you said, where do we even begin? The things that he will start with are policies that he can repeal, but with executive orders, because so much of immigration and border security has to do with congressional action like comprehensive immigration reform, asylum, and things like that.
Anything that was put in place with an executive order can also be repealed by executive orders, and just a change of policy. Some of the things that have been the most extreme have been any remaining family separation policies that are still in place. He wants to get rid of those.
Next, we’re taking a look at the Migrant Protection Protocols, which is where people who are requesting asylum in the United States and present themselves at the ports of entry. Once they have their credible fear interview, instead of waiting in the United States for their time in front of an immigration judge, currently, they’re being sent to Mexico, to these border camps to await their time in immigration court.
That’s really become a huge humanitarian crisis because you have thousands and thousands of really, refugees at this point, who are waiting in these migration camps that are now being overrun with COVID, overrun with illness. And Mexico is not really in a position to take care of them, and they have to wait there until they can get in front of an immigration judge, so he wants to do away with that. And probably go back to the system the way it was before, where they are given notice, notice to return.
The Trump Administration has falsely been claiming that only a tiny percentage of those immigrants were actually showing up for their immigration hearings or their asylum hearings, and that’s totally false. Actually, the vast majority of them were showing up.
That’s one of the major things I think that he’ll want to change right off the bat, and also he’s talked about getting rid of the metering system. Just to give an example of, at El Paso, or Laredo, or let’s say in Brownsville, some of the major ports of entry where immigrants come to present themselves for asylum, where metering is that they will only basically see a limited number of asylum applicants per day, which results in really, really, really long lines of people waiting on the Mexican side of the border to present themselves, so he wants to do away with that.
On the immigration, the asylum part, I think those are probably the first things that not only that he wants to change or roll back, but that he can relatively easily with an executive order.
Glynn Cosker: You mentioned the Migrant Protection Protocols. Could you just give us a little bit more information on what that means for the future? If he does eliminate it altogether, what does that mean as far as if I’m an immigrant at the border?
Sylvia Longmire: It’s basically, the fundamental premise of it is, “Where are you going to wait while you’re sitting around waiting to go in front of a judge?” One of the things that he pledges to do in his immigration plan, which is on his campaign website, if anybody wants to take a look at it, because it’s really long, it’s pretty detailed, and it’s quite extensive, is that he wants to double the number of immigration judges.
That is something that the Trump Administration has been pretty good about doing, is adding to the number of immigration judges, because that’s always been a problem, and the backlog of asylum cases has really grown exponentially in the last few years, so the wait time has also grown.
Now, if you have an immigrant from whether it’s Mexico, or Honduras, or El Salvador, and they show up at a port of entry, and they request asylum, so under the MPP, they are put on a list and basically sent to Mexico to one of the camps. And they’ll eventually get told when they have to go in front of a judge. Now, ideally, that would be within a few weeks, but practically speaking, it’s several months and sometimes a couple of years.
This works to the Trump Administration’s benefit because very few immigrants can sit and wait with children, in many cases, and their families, in a camp on the border far away from their homes and sit there and wait for a year or two to go in front of an asylum judge, who statistically speaking, is more likely than not to deny their asylum claims and send them home.
They’re kind of banking on the fact that the longer they make them wait in these camps, the higher the chances that they’ll just turn around and go home and not have to come into United States at all.
Obviously, this is a humanitarian problem for many reasons, so by getting rid of the MPP, it would probably go back to the way it was before, which is if they don’t have a criminal history that the U.S. government can determine, or if they don’t seem to be a flight risk, which again, that’s kind of subjective, is that they would just be given a notice to appear and be sent on their own to go be with family, given a temporary work allowance so that they can get some sort of job while they’re waiting because there’s a good chance they’ll be waiting a year or two or maybe longer.
Now, I worked as an expert witness on asylum cases, on asylum immigration cases for several years. I haven’t done it in a while, and the process has changed, but I remember cases where these immigrants have been waiting for like two years to get in front of a judge, and in some cases, they’ve been waiting in detention, in a detention facility, which I’ve been to. I’ve been to the one in Florence, Arizona, and it’s prison. I mean, they call it a detention facility, but it’s prison.
They’ve been waiting there for a couple years, and they finally get in front of the judge, and I remember on several occasions, if the judge has a cold and calls in sick, they have to reschedule, and sometimes that’s pushed out six-to-eight months, so they’ve already been waiting two years and all of a sudden, the judge gets sick and can’t show up for the hearing, and now they have to wait an additional six months because that’s the next time that the judge is available, so it’s pretty crazy.
That’s a whole other issue that needs to be addressed. If they’re getting rid of the MPP, and now, the asylum petitioners are going to be waiting on the U.S. side, how are they going to deal with where they’re going to stay?
How many are going to go into detention while waiting for the hearings? Are they going to easily be able to add more immigration judges, which is a lot harder than it sounds because you can’t just say, “Oh, we’re going to add another 300 to the 300 we have that it took like three years to add just another 50.” So that’s a whole other challenge that the incoming administration will have to deal with.
Glynn Cosker: One of many challenges I would, well, they’re already challenged right now, and they’re not even in there yet. President-elect Biden’s, one of his main immigration reversals will be the reinstatement of DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. How quickly do you think he’ll be able to reinstate that?
Sylvia Longmire: There was a big challenge to the constitutionality because Obama used an executive order to keep it going, and then President Trump has been trying to roll it back many times, and fortunately, they’ve been more or less able to keep it going.
The most recent controversy, which you and I spoke about just a couple days ago, is that current-acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf was shown by a court, by a judge, that he was serving illegally because when you’re designated as an acting member of the cabinet, you’re only allowed to be an acting member for a limited amount of time, which I think is maybe six months at the most.
And that is the way that the Trump Administration has gone around, putting cabinet members in front of the Senate for confirmation, because when they’re acting, they don’t have to do that. It’s really worked for the Trump Administration because he can put whoever he wants and not have to worry about getting them confirmed. That really came to a head because Chad Wolf wanted to repeal DACA.
So then, the court came and said, “Well, you can’t get rid of DACA because you’re serving illegally,” and everybody had known that for a while that Chad Wolf was not serving in a legal capacity, so what happened, this really flew under the radar of most media, and I happened to catch it because it was in my Twitter feed. I’m like, “You got to be kidding me.”
The way that they worked around it, and the reason why he was serving illegally, is because there was a problem with the order of ascension and how Chad Wolf came into the position. Because McAleenan, I think is how you pronounce his name, the former-acting DHS Secretary had to leave because his time was up, and the way that Chad Wolf rose up to fill that position was not okay based on policies.
On November 14th, Wolf on paper stepped down. The current FEMA Director stepped in for literally 48 hours, long enough to rewrite the policy for position ascension in order to allow Wolf to now start in the position of acting DHS Secretary legally. Then, after 48 hours, the FEMA Director stepped back, Chad Wolf stepped back in, and now, he can try to get rid of DACA in a legal capacity.
It’s absolutely insane how that happened. Totally flew under the radar for most people. DACA has been on this back and forth seesaw for so long. I don’t think that with everything that’s going on, that DACA is necessarily at the top of Trump’s priority list for everything that he’s trying to do, but you never know.
Because you look at some of the stuff that he’s doing, the shakeup that’s going on in the Pentagon, pulling troops out of Afghanistan and Iraq, stuff that’s going on with China and Hong Kong. And he seems to be like a pinball machine as far as hopping back and forth for last minute things that he’s trying to do to wreak as much havoc as possible before he leaves office. So who knows where DACA is going to fall in that priority list?
Glynn Cosker: It is a scary situation and unprecedented when you think about what you just said. The President is doing all these things, which he would never have done, had he won the election.
I used the word reinstatement of DACA earlier. I guess what I meant by that was for Biden to make sure that it’s still a thing and keeps going. It’s hard for him though, of course, right now. I mean, there’s nothing he can do as President-elect while President Trump tries to do all of these things, which will affect immigration, and you mentioned the whole Chad Wolf situation.
Of course, the Department of Justice requested the dismissal of drug trafficking and money laundering charges against the former Mexican General, that’s General Salvador Cienfuegos, and that he be returned to Mexico. Sylvia, why don’t you tell us a bit about the General and what this decision means for the future? It’s a bit unprecedented again, right?
Sylvia Longmire: Sure, and I think it’s important to provide some context on recent U.S.-Mexico relations and how this issue with Cienfuegos is so just bizarre in light of that. The current President of Mexico, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, we call him AMLO for short, Lopez Obrador, and they’ve had a really, really strange relationship. And because AMLO is like a leftist-progressive, and Trump is, well, ideologically speaking, he doesn’t really have an ideology, but he’s been catering to the far right, so let’s put it that way.
Ideologically speaking, these two are really almost as far apart as you can possibly get. But AMLO has really been very supportive of President Trump, which sounds kind of strange, but the way that they’ve been working is that Trump has managed to kind of stay out of Mexico’s business, which historically speaking, we tend to be in their business because of the drug war in Mexico, drug trafficking, illegal immigration, and border security and all this other stuff.
AMLO, I think has really appreciated Trump keeping his nose out of Mexico’s business, but there has been a lot of contention because of illegal immigration, where the Trump Administration has made some very pointed threats at AMLO and his government if they don’t do what Trump wants.
When we started having this huge immigration surge before COVID, roughly about a year ago, when the family separations were happening and everything, Trump basically told AMLO, “If you don’t do what I want you to do, which is to basically send thousands and thousands of national guard troops not only to the Mexican side of the southwest border, but also to Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala to turn people around, send them back, or to prevent them from coming to the United States and requesting asylum in the first place, we’re going to levy a 25% tariff on your stuff, on vehicles and all sorts of other consumer goods.”
This would not only have been devastating to Mexico’s economy, it would have been devastating to our own economy, and especially to our small businesses and cross-border trade, because we have roughly a billion to $2 billion, not so much anymore because of COVID, but pre-COVID, a billion to $2 billion of trade, crossing the border every single day, but AMLO caved.
He basically did everything that Trump wanted him to do, which really, really upset the Mexican people because Mexico is really, really big on national sovereignty, and they have a lot of resentment towards the United States going back decades for sticking their nose in Mexico’s business largely because of the drug war.
Taking a look at that in this context, where AMLO has been kind of like Trump’s puppy for some time. So then you have this case of General Cienfuegos, which is roughly the equivalent of now acting, acting Secretary of Defense Chief Miller, but beforehand, Mark Esper, who was recently fired, to really, no one’s surprised, but roughly equivalent to our Secretary of Defense, but if you look at it more, more like the Army Chief of Staff, one of the most high ranking people in the Mexican government.
Cienfuegos has been secretly investigated by the DEA for a couple of years. This has been going on for a long time, but it was all under the radar, and you have to do it that way because Mexico’s government and especially their police apparatus is very, very dirty, very corrupt. So trying to cooperate on a security level with Mexico is really tricky because there are only certain parts of the Mexican security apparatus that you can really cooperate with and keep things under the radar.
If you take a look at the arrests, the high-level arrests of high-level cartel operatives in the last few years, it’s always been done with the Marines. It’s easier to deal with their federal agents as opposed to their municipal and state police, but even so, there’s still a level of corruption there. So you really have to keep things under the down-low if you don’t want the information to leak out and that information to work its way to the bad guys.
After a couple of years, the U.S. managed to indict Cienfuegos for assisting a Mexican cartel and bringing in cocaine, heroin, marijuana during roughly the six-year time period where he served as the Secretary of Defense from 2012 to 2018. And he was allegedly helping the H2 cartel, which is a small cartel, but they were an offshoot of the Beltran Leyva organization, which used to be one of the major cartels in Mexico. Definitely one of the top eight in the height of cartel violence and cartel activity in Mexico.
They indicted this General, and they got him, they arrested him at LAX in the United States. Mexico lost their minds when this happened. They didn’t know what was going on, and it really threw a lot of people here off guard because nobody knew what was going on.
Well, AMLO got really, really upset, and then without telling anybody what his plan was, Trump decided to work with the DOJ and with William Barr, and they dropped all charges against Cienfuegos and sent him back to Mexico. Within 30 minutes of arriving back in Mexico, they “investigated him” in 30 minutes and let him go, and he’s a free man. He’s a free man.
This was a public statement, this is not some kind of secret. The public statement put out by the Department of Justice here in the United States was that it was more of a priority to maintain security cooperation and diplomatic relations, than it was to keep Cienfuegos here and put him on trial.
Now, the understory, and Washington Post and Laredo Morning Times and other news outlets here have been reporting this, and from really credible sources, is that AMLO was threatening to withdraw security cooperation, but more importantly, they were threatening to kick the DEA out of Mexico, which would render us deaf and blind when it comes to counter-drug operations in Mexico.
Now, I believe that that’s true, and the sources are really strong. But now, AMLO came out and made a statement and said that he never threatened to kick the DEA out. So the question is now: Where was Mexico’s leverage that they’re trying to use now back when Trump was threatening to impose 25% tariffs if they didn’t send all of these national guard troops to the border and crack down on immigrants and agree to hold all of these asylum petitioners on their territory, on their side of the border, and AMLO was seen as so weak and really caving to the Trump Administration?
Why didn’t he make all these threats back then to end security cooperation and kick the DEA out? Why all of a sudden is he now showing his teeth, and for lack of a better expression, why is AMLO growing a pair now when he could have done this a year ago? Nobody really understands why that’s happening and why the Trump Administration is all of a sudden caving and sending Cienfuegos back.
And imagine how the DEA feels. I can only imagine how betrayed they feel after two years of incredibly hard work to find the evidence to nail this guy, and then, boom, and all of that hard work just goes down the drain.
Glynn Cosker: Let’s talk about immigration reform that President-elect Joe Biden will have to try to start. Right out of the blocks though, if the Senate stays in Republican control, you said earlier, there were a few executive orders he can reverse or write a few executive orders, which will reverse President Trump’s previous ones. But what’s that going to be like for him trying to get this immigration reform through the Senate if the Republicans are still in control?
Sylvia Longmire: I think it’ll be a total roadblock, and any attempts by the House to make any changes, whether it’s asylum policy or reforming the work visa process, which there is a long list in President-elect Biden’s plan for immigration to reform a wide variety of visa applications.
That will go into Mitch McConnell’s legislative graveyard, where I think there are at least 300 other pieces of proposed legislation from the House, so I think anything he wants to do requiring legislation is completely dead in the water if the Republicans maintain control of the Senate.
Glynn Cosker: When we’re talking about immigration reform, it’s a bit tricky for Biden because if he does a complete 180 on everything that Trump has done on all of the border security stuff that Trump has enacted, then he risks alienating the moderates in his base. He’ll please all the left in his base, but the moderates, maybe not so much, so he does have a difficult path ahead.
But talking about the border security, the wall, Biden wants to stop construction, obviously, but he’s not committed to tearing it down or portions of it down. How do you think he’s going to handle the wall?
Sylvia Longmire: Well, the first thing that he wants to do, which I’m in complete agreement with, is to rescind the national emergency that Trump declared as a workaround when Congress declined to provide him with the funding for border wall construction that he wanted. Right now, that national emergency declaration is siphoning counter-drug money away from the military to help fund construction, so by taking that money away, that slows down projects.
Now, money that has already been allocated, that there’s nothing they can do about that. That money has been allocated or is in the process of being spent, so I don’t know that he can stop that. If he stops the construction right where it is and tells the construction workers to go home, that’s money that has been sunk or has already been paid, and I don’t think we can recoup that, so there’s that.
There’s a Twitter account that I follow, and the Twitter account, it’s a guy that lives in Texas and he is a drone operator, and he posts drone footage every single day of border wall construction like literally dynamiting, blowing up portions of protected lands in Texas, and it’s in like Guadalupe Canyon and the Big Bend area, absolutely gorgeous, gorgeous parts of Texas that are being blown up, and it’s ridiculous.
That is the sort of thing that can be put to a stop. Now, there are plans right now in Arizona for an additional 20 to 30 miles of literally brand new construction, but out of the 400 miles of fence that had been built or border wall that had been built, the last time we talked about this in our last podcast, it was three miles, and now, they’re up to 12 miles, so they’re making progress, so 12 miles of border wall, where there was no border wall before.
However, there have been, I think like 150 roughly miles of fence addition and fence replacement, so where you had basically like a couple of metal posts and some barbed wire, which is not really a fence, but that’s what they call it, that has been replaced or there’s been like bollard, like actual wall put there. That’s the new construction. When CBP says border wall system, new construction, that’s what they’re talking about. It’s replacement technically, but it is new border wall, but it’s where there was something there before.
Now, should that be torn down? I think it should be torn down if it’s posing a problem environmentally speaking for migration, for water flow and everything. There was something there before. It was serving some kind of purpose to keep vehicles out mostly, but it was, honestly speaking, it was very ineffective.
There are some parts of the border where the wall is effective in moving, particularly drug smugglers, away from populated areas in order to reduce violent confrontations, especially from ranchers because there’s plenty of evidence of drug smugglers that are tearing up private property, tearing up fences that are meant to keep in horses and cattle, water flow systems, homes being broken into and cars being stolen. Anything that will prevent that from happening on the U.S. side of the border from drug smugglers, which can be very violent, I’m all in favor of a border barrier that can prevent that from happening.
But as far as the immigration issue, we’ve all seen that the trend for some time has been for migrants to present themselves legally and voluntarily at ports of entry to request asylum, so we’re not seeing as much of migrants being caught in between the ports of entry as we used to.
Long story short, Biden wants to stop the construction. I don’t know how much of a benefit there is to spending additional money to tear down the sections of wall that had already been constructed at considerable expense, so we’ve already dumped billions of dollars into this. Do we want to spend hundreds of millions more to tear down portions of wall that, if they’re keeping drug smugglers out, okay, that’s fine? I can see why he’s hesitant to commit to that, but as far as stopping the flow for new sections, I think that’s a good idea at the moment.
Glynn Cosker: Well, you mentioned, of course, it would be expensive to tear it down. He might be on the fence, no pun intended, about tearing it down, but you mentioned earlier they have dynamite. I mean, come on. I mean, just if you’ve got the dynamite, that’s pretty quick and easy, right? Just move it along to a different area.
Sylvia Longmire: Yeah, but it’s just causing so much environmental damage, and especially the native tribes are going crazy and rightfully so, and here’s the problem. One of the things that, proponents of the environmental issue want Biden to do is to reinstate some of the protection laws that have been waived in order to build the fence in some of these protected areas. But the problem is, is that you can’t do that with an executive order. You have to take a look at the REAL ID Act and totally rewrite that, repeal it, and then put in something new.
Now, the REAL ID Act is 600+ pages of stuff. Most of which has absolutely nothing to do with border security, but right smack in the middle at page like 347 is where all of these environmental laws, like 32 of them, are waived in order to build the border fence. So it would be extraordinarily difficult for Biden to come in and just say, “Okay. We’re going to get rid of these waivers, and all of these environmental protections are going to go back into effect in order to prevent the border wall from being built on Organ Pipe Cactus or all of these protected lands.” It’s going to be really difficult, and that’s going to take congressional action to do.
Glynn Cosker: Do you see Biden taking his time on all this?
Sylvia Longmire: I mean, I don’t know where it lands on his priority list, to be honest with you. I really think that at least, at least. the first year of his presidency, is going to be consumed with undoing everything that the Trump Administration has done.
Glynn Cosker: Let’s talk about the Temporary Protected Status, one of those things that is out there that President Trump has got his hands on. How do you think President-elect Biden is going to take care of changing the way the Temporary Protected Status, TPS, is governed?
Sylvia Longmire: Well, the TPS has to be renewed as far as people who fall under Temporary Protected Status, and there are some TPS programs that really don’t need to continue because conditions have changed in those countries.
I don’t want to say that they’ve improved, but, for instance, TPS that was granted based on like a natural disaster five or six years ago, and especially for places like Central America. Have they gotten any better? No, as far as security goes, but when it comes to recovering from that particular natural disaster, you have to change the reason why the TPS is granted in the first place because if they’ve recovered from the natural disaster, you can all of a sudden use the excuse that gang violence has increased and apply TPS to that.
So I totally get it and I think a complete review is definitely warranted, but we saw this last year where he took away TPS for, I think it was for Honduras, and the State Department consequently changed the threat level in that country, and it was either El Salvador, Honduras. I can’t remember, and even though, the conditions on the ground had not changed.
It was a coordinated effort between the State Department and the Administration to, A) make the country look safer and B) as a justification for eliminating the TPS designation, which is totally underhanded and really, really bad. But now, a couple of things.
First is I want to take a look at the Venezuela TPS. Now, everybody knows Venezuela is in really, really bad shape. The political violence is bad, the poverty is bad, there’s no food on the shelves, and you’re talking basically about a socialist dictatorship, and Trump is definitely not a fan of the Maduro Administration there.
Venezuela and Cuba are kind of lumped in together as far as the electorate and the support of south Florida for the President and the anti-socialism, anti-communism sentiment that has really provided a lot of support for President Trump. So you would think that considering that the Trump Administration has been trying to cater to the Cuban community, especially here in south Florida, and they’re also trying to kind of cater to the Venezuelans community to shore up some votes. However, a lot of people don’t know this.
Democrats in the House have proposed providing TPS for Venezuela five times, and all five times, the Republicans in the Senate have shot it down, and nobody understands why. Because you would think that the GOP would be supportive of providing some sort of relief to the Venezuelan people by providing TPS to them. That’s a big mystery, and Biden has indicated that he wants to provide TPS to Venezuela, so that’s one thing to keep an eye on.
Second, you just had back-to-back Category 4 hurricanes completely nail Nicaragua and Honduras. Generally speaking, I don’t think Americans are following that because, generally speaking, Americans don’t really care about what’s happening in Central America. It’s not a judgment, it’s just it’s neither here nor there. It’s just a thing. Unless it directly affects us, we’re not taking a look at it.
But all of a sudden, when you have all of Nicaragua and all of Honduras under water, especially Honduras, where are these refugees going to go? They’re going to go where they have family members on dry land, and there’s a chance that that might cause a spike in illegal immigration or asylum requests here because of conditions getting even worse in Central America because of these storms.
Second, you’ve got Nicaragua and Honduras, and Honduras, which has previously been on the TPS list, are all of a sudden, we’re going to start taking a look at a push to put Nicaragua and Honduras on the TPS list because of this natural disaster, and how is that going to impact immigration in conjunction with that?
Glynn Cosker: Let’s talk about the public charge rule. Now, I’m looking at President-elect Biden’s website, and he says, “That the public charge rule runs counter to our values as Americans and the history of our nation.” What’s your take on the public charge rule? How do you think he’s going to be able to change things?
Sylvia Longmire: Well, the public charge rule stems from the philosophy of fearing immigration. There’s a lot of, I think, misconception, misunderstanding, particularly by conservatives about the public charge rule and how immigrants use public assistance here in the United States.
One of the big things, or the fear that conservatives, or especially the Trump Administration tried to put into the American public is that illegal immigrants are coming here to go on welfare, to steal jobs, to go on welfare, to go on food stamps, and all this and this, and take care of, steal your tax dollars, which is not true. Illegal immigrants are not eligible for welfare for Medicaid, but you repeat something enough times and people believe that it’s true.
The public charge rule impacts legal immigrants, people who are here legally, who are residents, legal residents who have green cards, and it asserts that any legal resident, whether it’s from El Salvador or Norway, if you have a green card, and for whatever reason you are using public assistance, whether it’s food stamps, Medicaid, or some other kind of welfare program, that you are sucking the U.S. Treasury dry of taxpayer dollars, which makes you eligible for deportation.
Conservatives thought that this was absolutely great and celebrated when it was approved. However, recently, a judge said, “You can’t do that,” and that was put to a halt. However, that made conservatives pretty angry because they don’t want immigrants coming here and benefiting from the programs that American citizens benefit from.
But really, the controversy lies in that these are not illegal immigrants, these are permanent residents, and it doesn’t distinguish between countries. But the vast majority of green card holders here are from either China, from South America, from other parts of Asia, not so much from European countries. So some would say that this is, I don’t want to throw out the R word out there, but it’s definitely working against very, very specific nationalities.
Glynn Cosker: Well, Sylvia, it’s been a very interesting discussion. I’m sure it’s going to be ongoing for weeks to come. I’d like to thank you today for being my guest, and I’m sure I will have you on a future podcast very soon.
Sylvia Longmire: Thank you for having me, and I look forward to it.