Donald Trump and Jared Kushner’s Empty Promise of Immigration Reform

The New Yorker - 05-17


Earlier this year, President Trump tasked his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, with devising a proposal for sweeping immigration reform. Officials at the Department of Homeland Security began holding a series of briefings to educate Kushner on current policies, and a small staff was detailed from the federal bureaucracy to advise him on specifics. One person with knowledge of the meetings told me that Kushner “didn’t seem to know anything” about the legal and political challenges of comprehensive immigration reform, which has eluded Presidents for close to three decades. The prevailing wisdom on Capitol Hill has been that reform is only possible in pieces—for instance, aggressive border security (a priority for Republicans) could be paired with a legalization program for Dreamers (a priority for Democrats). Yet, during the past two years, even incrementalist dealmaking has failed, as the President has walked away from one bipartisan agreement after another. Kushner, who once told reporters that he didn’t come to Washington to work on immigration policy, agreed to take a break from his work on the Middle East peace process to fill the void at home.