Politics & Policy

Sh**storm

(Reuters photo: Yuri Gripas)

The latest all-consuming Trump controversy is over his remarks in an Oval Office meeting that he doesn’t want people coming here from “sh**hole” countries (although he may have really said “sh**house” countries, for those who are sticklers for accuracy when it comes to presidential vulgarity).

There are many reasons a president shouldn’t say such a thing. It is disparaging to people in the United States who are from these countries. It is insulting to the leaders of those countries, for no good reason. And, inevitably, it will serve to make it even harder to pass a serious restrictionist agenda.

Of course, many of the countries that Trump was talking about — the accounts are fuzzy, but reports suggest he was talking about sub-Saharan nations, and perhaps Haiti — really are basket-cases. One argument from the left for not sending back beneficiaries of so-called Temporary Protected Status to Haiti and El Salvador is that those nations are so terribly dysfunctional and violent.

Trump’s statement came in the context of a discussion of the fate of the visa lottery in a proposed DACA deal. The lottery is one of our worst immigration programs, randomly selecting people to come here who have no connection to the country and then opening up a continuing stream of immigrants behind them through chain migration. The program should simply be abolished. The Gang of Six’s idea, to the contrary, is to re-allocate visas to keep beneficiaries of TPS here and to sprinkle visas among various Third World countries.

This is what set Trump off. He wondered why we instead can’t bring in immigrants from a place like Norway, presumably having that country on his mind after the visit this week by the country’s prime minister. This has been taken as Trump’s admission that he wants white immigrants instead of dark-skinned ones. What he was almost certainly trying to get at, in his typically confused way, is that we’d be better off with immigrants with higher skills.

This is the thrust of his proposed reforms of legal immigration — to put a greater emphasis on skills. If such a system is ever implemented, it will probably shift the composition of our immigration away from Latin America and toward South and East Asia (not the Nordic countries). This would make for a more rational system and one with a more diverse flow of immigrants than under the status quo.

This wouldn’t mean blocking people from sh**hole countries. Obviously, even dysfunctional places have their talented people who could pass muster under a merit-based system, and we should always have a refugee program for people facing persecution in their home countries. We have a long history of people thriving here who’ve come from dirt-poor countries or hideous dictatorships. President Trump would do himself — and the cause of a more rational immigration system — a favor by cleaning up his remarks and straightening out his thinking.

READ MORE:

Trump’s ‘Sh**hole’ Comment Doubles Down on Identity Politics

Trump’s Sh**ty Remark

NR Editorial: A Garbage Deal on DACA

— Get insight from the best conservative writers delivered to your inbox; sign up for National Review Online’s newsletters today.

 

The Editors comprise the senior editorial staff of the National Review magazine and website.

Most Popular

Culture

A Triumph at Mount Rushmore

If nothing else, President Donald Trump’s July Fourth speech at Mount Rushmore clarified the battle lines of our culture war. The New York Times called the speech “dark and divisive,” while an Associated Press headline declared, “Trump pushes racial division.” A Washington Post story said the speech ... Read More
Culture

A Triumph at Mount Rushmore

If nothing else, President Donald Trump’s July Fourth speech at Mount Rushmore clarified the battle lines of our culture war. The New York Times called the speech “dark and divisive,” while an Associated Press headline declared, “Trump pushes racial division.” A Washington Post story said the speech ... Read More
Culture

Why Progressives Wage War on History

Princeton University’s decision to remove the name “Woodrow Wilson” from its School of Public and International Affairs is a big win for progressive activists, and the implications will extend far beyond the campus. It hardly surprises me, in today’s polarizing environment, that my alma mater caved to ... Read More
Culture

Why Progressives Wage War on History

Princeton University’s decision to remove the name “Woodrow Wilson” from its School of Public and International Affairs is a big win for progressive activists, and the implications will extend far beyond the campus. It hardly surprises me, in today’s polarizing environment, that my alma mater caved to ... Read More
U.S.

Bad News about the Virus

On the menu today: an important update about indications that the coronavirus is now more contagious than it used to be, with far-reaching ramifications for how we fight this pandemic; a point on the recent complaints about the Paycheck Protection Program; and a new book for everyone closely following the debate ... Read More
U.S.

Bad News about the Virus

On the menu today: an important update about indications that the coronavirus is now more contagious than it used to be, with far-reaching ramifications for how we fight this pandemic; a point on the recent complaints about the Paycheck Protection Program; and a new book for everyone closely following the debate ... Read More
World

Putin’s Empire Strikes Back

In 1648, at the negotiating tables of Münster and Osnabrück, a panoply of European diplomats signed a document that would lay down the foundations of the modern world order: the Treaty of Westphalia. Naturally, the signatories did not realize the impact of their contribution to history. Far from a pack of ... Read More
World

Putin’s Empire Strikes Back

In 1648, at the negotiating tables of Münster and Osnabrück, a panoply of European diplomats signed a document that would lay down the foundations of the modern world order: the Treaty of Westphalia. Naturally, the signatories did not realize the impact of their contribution to history. Far from a pack of ... Read More