Trump uses immigrants as campaign props in likely ethics violation


Ignoring the Hatch Act, Trump used a naturalization ceremony at the White House for a Republican National Convention event.

Donald Trump and Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Chad Wolf conducted a naturalization ceremony in the White House on Tuesday. It was broadcast several hours later during the second night of the Republican National Convention in yet another example of the Trump administration's neglect of norms and ethics.

The Hatch Act prohibits executive branch employees from partisan campaigning while on the clock at or certain events. Yet the White House hosted this event, in which Wolf participated — using his official title and authority to do so — for the clear purpose of then using the event for Trump's reelection campaign festivities.

Jill Wine-Banks, one of the Watergate prosecutors, said on Twitter she was "speechless at the abuse of the office of president and naturalization and the White House."

It was hardly the first time the Trump administration ignored the Hatch Act. Trump refused to fire Kellyanne Conway even though she broke the law over 50 times. He ignored concerns that executive branch employees who helped set up his White House events during the convention could be breaking the law.

Further, there are questions about whether Wolf even has the authority to conduct such a ceremony. Earlier this month, the Government Accountability Office — a nonpartisan government watchdog — concluded that Wolf was illegally appointed to his current position because Trump did not follow laws guiding the order of succession.

Perhaps even more incredible, Trump has targeted immigrants since he first launched his presidential campaign in 2015 and throughout his administration, used the ceremony to tout the naturalization of people who might not make it through the thicket of regulations he has now enacted.

For example, he touted the naturalization of an immigrant from Ghana who arrived in the United States in 2015. Lucky for him that he did because in 2019, the Trump administration imposed a visa ban on Ghana that lasted nearly a year.

Another new citizen was from Sudan, a country named in Trump's original travel ban, imposed right after he took office.

The very people Trump used as props for his reelection campaign might not be welcome in the United States now under Trump's own anti-immigration policies.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.