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President Trump’s First 100 Days

by Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram on April 30, 2017

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It’s impossible to make a uniform judgement about President Trump’s performance over his first 100 days because it really does depend on your political or social demographic situation. So, I’m going to write this article as much as possible from the perspective of an immigrant of almost 20 years in the US, but also as a US Immigration lawyer who has devoted his life to helping others enter the U.S. legally to have their chance at the American Dream.

Brand Trump Vs. Brand USA

Is President Trump as careful with the American Brand as he is with his own Enterprises?

Is President Trump as careful with the American Brand as he is with his own Enterprises?

Private citizen Donald Trump has been immensely protective over his brand, after all, his business bears his name. In many ways, Trump has tried to style himself in a similar fashion to likes of Richard Branson.  Richard Branson founded Virgin Records, and then went on to found other businesses like Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Rail, Virgin Energy, Virgin, Films, Virgin Galactic, just to name a few. Similarly, there are Trump Hotels, Trump Golf Courses, Trump University, Trump Model Management, etc. How the world perceives the Trump Brand has been private citizen Trump’s life work.

Now as President Trump, he is responsible for Brand USA, the first 100 days has not been great. The question is, are people more inclined to visit the USA now or less inclined? To answer this question let’s take a look at the leisure industry, international relations, trade and immigration.

Trump’s Travel Ban Attempts

The Travel Ban efforts have been declared unconstitutional and were blocked. Next stop, the Supreme Court?

The Travel Ban efforts have been declared unconstitutional and were blocked. Next stop, the Supreme Court?

Whilst the Travel Ban Executive Order was only limited to Libya, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Yemen and Somalia, the rest of the world not only took notice, but took offense too. Candidate Trump’s own rhetoric about wanting to “ban all Muslims” was taken as an affront to all Muslims world-wide.

According to Pew Research there are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, or about 23% of the global population. So, in one fell swoop President Trump managed to upset or unsettle 23% of the world’s population. However, it was not just Muslims who were offended, members of other faiths were also troubled by President Trump’s Travel Ban efforts. The sentiment being conveyed was that America was no more a tolerant all-inclusive welcoming country. Now, if you’re a Muslim, Middle Eastern or  South Asian you should be treated with a heightened degree of suspicion.

Disney hit badly by Travel Ban threat as tourism slumps.

Disney hit badly by Travel Ban threat as tourism slumps.

According to travel search engine Kayak “We noted that searches to the USA dropped after the new president came to office…..searches for popular destinations falling by over half in one year is a massive shift.”

The Guardian reported that there has been a 58% decline in searches for flights to Tampa and Orlando from the UK, and a 52% decline in searches for Miami. Note that the U.K. is a predominantly Christian country.  So, if you imagine the loss in trade-in flights, hotels, and the hot tourism spots in the US, they have seen their business hit very hard indeed.

The Border Wall

Trump wants a "Beautiful Wall", Experts want want a fence.

Trump wants a “Beautiful Wall”, Experts want want a fence.

President Trump has been touting that he wants to build a “Beautiful Wall” at the southern border between the US and Mexico and that Mexico was going to pay for it.

Even before being elected, Candidate Trump electrified his base (as reported by the Huffington Post) when referring to Mexicans  he said,  “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good.” Such sentiments, tarnish Brand America.

How Does Trump's Statements About Mexicans Improve Relations between the USA and Mexico - America's third largest trading partner?

How Does Trump’s Statements About Mexicans Improve Relations between the USA and Mexico – America’s third largest trading partner?

Having repeatedly promised that Mexico would pay for the Wall, Trump has now asked the American tax payer for $1.4 billion dollars instead, to build 62 miles of the Wall, that’s $22 Million per mile and we have over 2000 miles of border between the two countries. The message that “The Wall” conveys, not only to Mexicans, but all Latinos is the same message Trump has been conveying to Muslims; there is something to be feared or disliked about Latinos and Muslims.

It should be noted that according to the Office of the United States Trade Representative after China and Canada, Mexico is America’s largest trading partner with $262.0 billion in exports and $317.6 billion in imports – that’s a lot of jobs both sides of the border. Maybe Trump should be celebrating these numbers.

America's Strength is in It's Diversity

America’s Strength is in its Diversity

Here are the facts about undocumented aliens according to ProCon.Org. Undocumented aliens make up 3.7% of the entire US population. Sometimes, from the political rhetoric, you’d think we were being overrun with undocumented aliens. 3.7% does not seem overwhelming.

If we look at the effectiveness of a “wall”, many would argue that the bulk of aliens who fall out of legal status actually came into the US legally with visas, but have overstayed them, so the “wall” is not that effective. Also, with the advent of the domestic Drones market, Drones can be used to carry drugs great distances and actually deliver them on to the back of a moving truck in the US, so the “wall” is not going to protect us from drug smuggling. Besides, Customs and Border Protection say they absolutely do not want a physical wall, instead they want a fence so they can see people approaching the border.

I remember, President Regan speaking at the Brandenburg Gate, on June 12th 1987 calling for Russian President Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin wall. Surely there is some irony here.

I remember President Regan speaking at the Brandenburg Gate, in then West Germany, on June 12th 1987 calling for Russian President Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin wall. Surely there is some irony here.

Building a wall would be like going back to the Middle Ages when Castles had high walls, these walls became obsolete when the trebuchet was invented; a large catapult devise that hurled massive rocks at castle walls. So, why invest billions of dollars in a “wall” when with modern technology like Drones can soar above them? The “wall” sends a very negative message to the world. In 1989, we had walls being torn down in Berlin, Germany after the Cold War.  Do we really want more walls going up?

Is this who we want to be? Images of the Berlin Wall

Is this who we want to be?
Images of the Berlin Wall

International Relations

Heads of State from around the world are trying to figure out where President Trump really stands on a variety of global issues as his positions are constantly changing. For example, on the campaign trail President Trump repeatedly said NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization – which basically, pledged that an attack on one of its member States was an attack on all) was obsolete. Today, in his first 100 days, President Trump has said NATO is no longer obsolete. President Trump said that on his first day in office he would declare China a currency manipulator. Today, in his first 100 days, President Trump is saying that China is not a currency manipulator. On the campaign, President Trump said that America should not get involved in Syria, but within his first 100 days he decided to bomb an airfield in Syria. There are numerous position flip-flops, so America’s allies are unsettled to be sure.

We need China to use it's influence to help bring North Korea to the negotiating table.

We need China to use its influence to help bring North Korea to the negotiating table.

It’s difficult to know what to make of President Trump’s evolving positions because many of his position changes are from bad to good. We need China on our side since they are our largest trading partners and they can help us with North Korea. We need NATO to keep the peace and we need to be involved in Syria because men, women and children are being slaughtered by so called “Barrel Bombs oil drums packed with ball bearings and shrapnel (and sometimes chemicals) dropped indiscriminately in large populations.

Syria - Barrel Bombs wreak devastation and destruction on the civilian population.

Syria – Barrel Bombs wreak devastation and destruction on the civilian population.

As President Trump spends time meeting with world leaders, it’s arguable that he himself,  is learning how to be a better world leader.

US Immigration Policy In the first 100 Days

We’ve already discussed the travel ban so let’s consider President Trumps Immigration Reforms. Former President Obama signed an Executive Order that would protect children, now adults, who were brought to America as minors from the risk of deportation; this Executive Order was called the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Moreover, Former President Obama’s Executive Order gave Dreamers the right to acquire work permits so that they could join the workforce legally and pay taxes.

Trump Weighs Decision to Repeal President Obama's Executive Order Protecting DACA / Dreamers.

Trump Weighs Decision to Repeal President Obama’s Executive Order Protecting DACA / Dreamers.

An Executive Order in its simplest terms, is an order by the President to direct agencies of government to act in a certain way. In other words, President Obama could not grant legal status to undocumented aliens since that would require a change in the law, but he could direct ICE (Immigration Customs and Enforcement) not to arrest them.  President Obama could direct USCIS (US Immigration Citizenship and Immigration Services) to issue them with work permits. Only Congress can write laws, but the President must sign them into law.

Candidate Trump, and indeed other Presidential Candidates at the time, vowed that on day-one he would cancel DACA by Executive Order. So far President Trump has changed his mind. Good.

President Trump has talked about canceling the Graduate Visa Program called the H-1B Visa. Under present U.S. Immigration law, there are 65,000 H-1B ‘s available to alien graduates to acquire jobs that require the minimum of a degree. At the current rate of job growth of around 150,000 new jobs per month or 1.8 million new jobs per year, it’s difficult to see how the H-1B could be bad. The sum total of H-1B issued each year less than 5% of the total number of new jobs added to the economy each year. Indeed many employers, especially in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) are lobbying for the cap to be removed because they simply cannot fill their vacancies; creating a wage price war as companies end up trying to poach employees from each other.

America is falling behind in STEM because University Tuition is So Expensive.

America is falling behind in STEM because University Tuition is So Expensive.

In terms of Comprehensive Immigration Reform – how can we make our overall immigration plan better? President Trump has announced no plan in his first 100 days.

Conclusion

In President Trump’s first 100 days, despite the Republicans controlling the House and Senate with majorities, they have not been able to pass any new laws. The main reason is because within the Republican party there are several parties that are fundamentally opposed to each other philosophically. We have the Christian Right, Traditionalists, New Conservatives, Moderates and Libertarians all fighting against each other.

Paul Ryan who leads the Republican Party and Speaker of the House has to find a way to unite this party if they're ever going to be able to pass any legislation at all.

Paul Ryan who leads the Republican Party and Speaker of the House has to find a way to unite this party if they’re ever going to be able to pass any legislation at all.

So, when faced with the replacement to the Affordable Healthcare Action a.k.a. “Obamacare”, all of these factions simply could not agree amongst themselves what a replacement healthcare plan would look like. Moreover, in endeavoring to pass their version of a healthcare plan, their replacement appeared to be far worse than Obamacare, making their version widely unpopular amongst Conservative voters. Most commentators agree that Obamacare has its flaws, but unless Republicans can come up with a plan they can all agree on, therein lies the problem.

In President Trump’s first 100 days the President is changing his political position closer to the center, which is great. Indeed, in time he might be willing to form a bi-partisan coalition between the Republicans and the Democrats if we continue to get legislative gridlock within the Republican party.

In closing, a couple of other very important points. Firstly,President Trump is waking up the fact that a key part of the legislative order is the Federal Court system. If President Trump writes an Executive Order that is unconstitutional, it will be struck down by the Federal Court. If Congress passes a law that is unconstitutional, the Federal Courts have the power to strike that down too. The Federal Courts have already been tested as they struck down two Travel Bans and President Trump’s attempts to withhold funding from municipalities that have been deemed “Sanctuary Cities”. Cities that refuse to report its local residents to Immigration authorities if it’s known they are undocumented, the rationale being that they want its residents to report crime and go about their day to day business without fear of sudden deportation.

The Federal Court has held that if Trump wants to be able to cut off funding to Sanctuary Cities he can only do if Congress can pass a well crafted law to do so.

The Federal Court has held that if Trump wants to be able to cut off funding to Sanctuary Cities he can only do if Congress can pass a well crafted law to do so.

There is a lot to be encouraged about in Trumps first 100 days. Firstly, he is changing his positions to more moderate ones and secondly, if he does stray too far to the point of acting unconstitutionally, the Federal Courts will keep him in check.

One last point, whatever President Trump wants to do, if it involves spending money like building a ‘wall’ or passing a budget, Congress under Article 1, section 9 of the U.S. Constitution must approve it.  In particular, the Senate must pass it with 60 votes. As of  President Trump’s first 100 days there are 46 Democrats, 2 Independent, and 52 Republican Senators, which means that in order for any funds to be appropriated, the Republicans must swing at least 8 Democrats or 6 Democrats and 2 Independents to their side, to pass a spending bill. A good example of this process at work was when President Trump wanted to insert the $1.4 Billion-Dollar line item to start building the wall, and the Democrats said unless that line item was taken out they would they not sign the budget. If there was not a budget signed, the government would simply shut down until a spending budget was passed. Faced with that prospect, President Trump had to have the wall funding taken out.

What Makes America Great is it's people.

What Makes America Great is it’s people. Let’s celebrate that.

So, there are lots of checks and balances in how power is exercised in America, this is one of the reasons why America is so fantastic.

Whilst, President Trump in his first 100 days has certainly tarnished America’s global brand as a welcoming nation, its brand can be restored as President Trumps moves his political views to the center. We have some way to go, but it’s certainly possible, so I remain hopeful.

Chris M. Ingram., LL.M., ESQ
Attorney at Law

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