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Where's Trump the negotiator when immigration reform needs him?

By Clarence Page, Tribune Content Agency on

To my great surprise, President Donald Trump's reaction to the Halloween night terrorist attack in New York made me miss the thoughtful eloquence of President George W. Bush.

Ol' Dubya wasn't known to be a master of oratory, most of the time, but when the world needed some words of comfort, hope and resolve after the shock of Sept. 11, 2001, he found the right words and the right attitude to get the job done.

He stood with first responders on top of the New York rubble to rally the nation. He stood with Muslim American leaders to send a clear message: The enemy was not Islam but the bandits who were -- and still are -- trying to hijack the world's largest religion.

President Trump, by comparison, adopted a familiar pose on the morning after Halloween: He was looking for somebody to blame.

He found what he was looking for in Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. "The terrorist came into our country through what is called the 'Diversity Visa Lottery Program,' a Chuck Schumer beauty," Trump tweeted. "I want merit based."

In a later tweet, Trump declared, "Being politically correct is fine, but not for this!"

That's our president. No problem appears to be too large or complicated for him to blame on some convenient scapegoat. Still, throwing shade at your rival party's Senate leader is a rather reckless way to begin the legislative process -- especially when Schumer also agrees that the diversity lottery has to go.

That calls for a little explaining. Trump singled out Schumer as a cosponsor of the Immigration Law of 1990, passed when Schumer was a congressman. It set up the diversity visa lottery, also known as the green card lottery.

To diversify the ethnicity of legal immigrants, the program helps up to 50,000 people who are issued green cards per year from countries that have the lowest levels of immigration to the U.S.

Unfortunately, it was through that program that Sayfullo Saipov, the accused Halloween night killer, was one of 3,284 residents of Uzbekistan to be allowed to enter the United States in 2009. He is now charged with killing eight people and injuring more with a rented truck on a Manhattan bicycle path.

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(c) 2017 CLARENCE PAGE DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.
 

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