The President's Immigration Plan is Not a Serious Policy Proposal
President Trump announced a plan yesterday to make changes to America's immigration laws. Reportedly it was crafted by Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner. It's a fairly simplistic proposal to admit more immigrants based on their skills and less based on their family ties to current US residents.
Washington Post: "Under the new system, about 57 percent of green cards would be issued based on professional skills and education, compared to about 12 percent now. About two-thirds of green cards are currently based on family ties, but the new White House proposal would slash that percentage down to about a third."
It's a plan that will allow Republicans to argue that there are actually immigrants that they like; highly educated immigrants. Of course, that ignores the essential contribution of the millions of immigrants [legal and otherwise] that toil in the agricultural and construction industries, just to name two. Many of those folks arrived by way of family-based green cards. And, increasing our supply of foreign "stem" workers isn't going to reduce our need for laborers to pick fruit, care for the elderly or build houses.
Moreover, Trump's plan is most notable for what it doesn't address. It doesn't seek to solve the most difficult immigration questions such as a path to citizenship for the "Dreamers" or those individuals who hold temporary protected status [TPS], or the approx. 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the US. Any immigration proposal that ignores those issues doesn't deserve to be taken seriously.
As we have argued before, Democrats should "go big" by proposing comprehensive immigration reform that deals with all aspects of the issue.
Illuminate: Specifically, they should propose;
a. measures to strengthen border security which rely on new technologies rather than Trump's wall.
b. a path to legal status for the approx. 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the US, including about 8 million who have jobs and have lived here for years.
c. a streamlined temporary worker visa program to provide the workers needed in agriculture, construction, hospitality and other sectors of the economy.
d. a path to citizenship for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as minors, and for holders of temporary protected status (TPS), those who have been displaced by natural disasters and armed conflicts.
e. an expansion of our legal immigration “preference” system to provide America a highly educated 21st century workforce, especially as birthrates continue to decline in the United States.
f. addressing the per-country ceilings in the legal immigration system which make it difficult for individuals from some nations to ever immigrate legally.
g. measures to alleviate the backlog in our immigration courts including many more judges and court staff.
h. a plan to humanely address the thousands of Central American families seeking asylum in America.