Before anyone gets overly outraged by Donald Trump’s new broader assault on the US immigration system, consider the following:
** many countries, not least in the western world, deny non-citizen permanent residents the right to rely on the public purse
** Britain is one such country
** in itself, Mr Trump’s new rule is not totally wrong. It is understandable for the US authorities to want to reduce the burden to taxpayers from hundreds of thousands of immigrants who enter the country legally every year but whose lack of financial resources means they will use government benefit programs such as food stamps and subsidized housing.
** it is a wealth test, let’s be clear about that, but most countries want to protect themselves from the possibility of foreign scrounging. (Nigeria, for instance, has such stringent rules for visa applicants, you wouldn’t believe. The intention, clearly, is to reduce the merest chance of an additional burden on public funds).
So back to Mr Trump’s new wealth test for legal immigrants. Here’s what’s wrong with what he’s done.
Instead of asking the US Congress to discuss the matter and pass a law as needed, Mr Trump has behaved as if he were emperor.
I know many would say Congress is at fault for failing to do very much, but that still doesn’t mean Mr Trump should take his imperial pretensions to this point. Or be allowed to maintain them, without debate and deliberation.