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Politics & Law Series: Expert Comment

Trump’s support for immigration bill aims to divert attention from failings, says City expert

Professor Inderjeet Parmar discusses Donald Trump’s presidency on CNN International


President Donald Trump’s backing of a bill to limit legal immigration into the United States is designed to improve his falling approval ratings, according to Professor Inderjeet Parmar.

The City US politics expert says the move has been made to “divert attention from a whole series of failures of this administration”.

Professor Parmar, of the Department of International Politics, told CNN International he believed the US president’s approval ratings would continue to suffer after hitting “an historic low”.

“The bill… is really focused on stoking people’s fears,” he said. “[These are] fears about national security, fears about threats to their jobs and it’s really part of that ‘America first’, Americans needing protection from the rest of the world, kind of rhetoric which was the hallmark of his campaign.”

He added: “Unfortunately, there’s not much likelihood of this law that he’s proposing being discussed any time soon, given that there’s a backlog of other unpassed legislation, particularly on healthcare for example.”

Professor Parmar explained Trump’s stance on immigration is proving to be the most popular aspect of his presidency with the US public, and is therefore focusing on it amid negative headlines.

“This is seeking to regain the agenda, if you like, the public narrative,” he said, “in favour of an area which President Trump actually generally is much more popular in.”

The City academic said the focus on immigration policy might stabilise Trump’s ratings in the short term, but was in “dangerous territory” because of the proportion of people telling polls that they “strongly disapprove” of the President.

“It suggests that there is kind of a long-term slide which is going on, and I suspect that is going to deepen,” he said.

Professor Parmar is head of the Department of International Politics at City.

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