This gratuitous swipe at a group of old veterans is a measure of how meticulously the Trump administration has pursued the destruction of immigration in America. Through administrative orders, strict enforcement and mere threat, the White House has attacked virtually every aspect of immigration, legal and illegal.
This transformation of the American immigration system has been perhaps the administration’s boldest accomplishment, overseen with single-minded focus by Stephen Miller, a top adviser to President Trump with an affinity for white nationalism.
A report this summer from the Migration Policy Institute outlined over 400 actions on immigration that had been enacted by a sprawling array of federal departments in the Trump era.
The effects are clear. Between 2016 and 2019, annual net immigration into the United States fell by almost half, to about 600,000 people per year — a level not seen since the 1980s — according to an analysis by William H. Frey of the Brookings Institution. (Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, that number has certainly decreased even more.)