An Immigration System That Puts America First
Trump’s common-sense reforms will make U.S. immigration policy sane again.
President Trump’s newly-unveiled immigration reforms represent an earth-shattering, fundamental change in U.S. immigration policy that is desperately needed after the never-ending waves of poorly educated, hard-to-assimilate immigrants from unenlightened corners of the earth unleashed by Democrats in the Sixties.
“Our question as a government is, to whom is our duty [owed]?” said White House Senior Policy Advisor Stephen Miller. “Our duty is to U.S. citizens and U.S. workers to promote rising wages for them.”
The proposal is “a major historic change to U.S. immigration policy,” he said.
“The effect of this, switching to a skills-based system and ending unfettered chain migration, would be, over time, you would cut net migration in half, which polling shows is supported overwhelmingly by the American people in very large numbers.”
“This is what President Trump campaigned on,” Miller said. “He talked about it throughout the campaign, throughout the transition, and since coming into office.”
Miller added: “It’s been my experience in the legislative process that there’s two kinds of proposals. There’s proposals that can only succeed in the dark of night and proposals that can only succeed in the light of day. This is the latter of those two.”
“The more that we as a country have a national conversation about what kind of immigration system we want and to whom we want to give green cards,” Miller said, “the more unstoppable the momentum for something like this becomes.”
The Trump administration’s long overdue revamping of America’s antiquated immigration laws, reverses the systemic discrimination against well-rounded would-be immigrants who speak English. Trump wants the immigration system to emphasize merit and employability, as opposed to familial relationships.
The new immigration system puts the interests of America first, so naturally, the Left is fighting it. It has been axiomatic in the Trump era that the better the president’s proposals are, the more fiercely the Left opposes them. Take President Trump’s intensifying crackdown on the transnational crime gang MS-13. No matter how horrifying and brutal the group’s crimes against innocent Americans may be, the Left denounces the law-and-order push as racist button-pushing that won’t accomplish anything good. Left-wingers promote so-called sanctuary cities which are magnets for illegal aliens and the crime that accompanies them. They don’t care about the damage such policies do to American society. It is enough that Trump is taking aim at these havens of seditious lawlessness for leftists to defend sanctuary cities.
Trump advisor Miller coherently and forcefully laid out the rationale for the proposed immigration law changes on Wednesday in a much-watched press conference in which he did battle with the insufferably arrogant left-wing journalist Jim Acosta of CNN. Acosta accused the Trump administration of racism, even white-supremacism, because the proposed “Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy Act” (RAISE Act) will make would-be immigrants in the Third World compete against better skilled workers who speak English.
Miller correctly referred to the plan as “the largest proposed reform to our immigration policy in half a century.” (Lyman Stone has a useful summary of the RAISE Act at the Federalist.)
“The most important question when it comes to the U.S. immigration system is who gets a green card,” he said. “A green card is the golden ticket of U.S. immigration.”
Every year we issue a million green cards to foreign nationals from all the countries of the world, but we do so without regard to whether that applicant has demonstrated the skill that can add to the U.S. economy, whether they can pay their own way or be reliant on welfare, or whether they’ll displace or take a job from an American worker.
And as a result of this policy, in place now for many years, we’ve seen significant reductions in wages for blue collar workers, massive displacement of African American and Hispanic workers, as well as the displacement of immigrant workers from previous years who oftentimes compete directly against new arrivals who are being paid even less.
Over time “this historic flow of unskilled immigration, a shift in wealth from the working class to wealthier corporations and businesses.”
This has been “very unfair for American workers, but especially for immigrant workers, African American workers, and Hispanic workers, and blue collar workers in general across the country.”
“At the same time,” Miller said, “it has cost taxpayers enormously because roughly half of immigrant head of households in the United States receive some type of welfare benefit – which I know is a fact that many people might consider astonishing, but it’s not surprising when you have an immigration system that doesn’t look at questions like skill level or self-sufficiency.”
Non-citizens in the U.S. – and especially recent Middle Eastern refugees – are addicted to welfare programs, studies have found. Although open-borders propaganda typically claims that illegal aliens are hardworking and industrious, among illegal alien households with children, a shocking 87 percent accept benefits from one or more welfare programs, compared to just 52 percent of native households.
Even lawful permanent residents are unduly reliant on welfare programs. As one study found, “Of households headed by legal immigrants without a high school diploma, 75 percent use one or more welfare programs, as do 64 percent of households headed by legal immigrants with only a high school education.”
The RAISE Act eliminates so-called chain migration, Miller explained. Chain migration means “that if you come into the United States on a green card – and just so we’re all clear, a green card gives the recipient lifetime work authorization, the ability to bring in their family members. It gives them a fast track to U.S. citizenship and, with that, all the benefits that come with being an American citizen.”
Under the chain migration regime, new permanent residents can bring in elderly relatives, for example, who can go on welfare immediately, Miller said.
And then that person can bring in a relative who can bring in a relative who can bring in a relative, and that’s why they call it chain migration. And over years, that has massively de-skilled the migrant flow into America and produced all of those effects I’m talking about.
The Trump administration wants to restrict family-based migration to spouses and minor children, he said. In addition, there will be a new points-based entry system like Canada and Australia have adopted with great success. The new system will consider whether applicants speak English, if they can support themselves and their families, if they possess skills that will enhance the U.S. economy, and if they will be paid a sufficiently high wage.
The last part is very important because it will help prevent displacement of U.S. workers. So if a company – let’s say they’re offering three times the median wage, that person will get more points on their application than if they’re being offered two times the median wage or one time the median wage. So all of a sudden, you’re putting upward pressure on wages instead of downward pressure, and you’re making it very hard to use immigrant labor to substitute for American workers because by prioritizing higher paid workers, you basically end the practice, more or less, of being able to seek out permanent residents to come in at lower pay.
At the now-legendary presser fake-news purveyor Acosta baited Miller, falsely suggesting that a poem at the foot of the Statue of Liberty was somehow an American foundational document. And of course he implied the immigration reform plan was racist.
“When it comes to immigration, the Statue of Liberty says ‘give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to be free,’” Acosta said. “It doesn’t say anything about speaking English or learning to be a computer programmer. Aren’t you trying to change what it means to be an immigrant coming into this country, if you are telling them you have to speak English. Can’t people learn how to speak English when they get here?”
Miller replied: “Right now it is a requirement to be naturalized that you have to speak English, so the notion that speaking English wouldn’t be part of your immigration system would be very ahistorical.”
“I don’t want to get off into a whole thing about history, but the Statue of Liberty is a symbol of American liberty lighting the world. The poem you are referring to was added later. It is not actually part of the original Statue of Liberty.”
Then Acosta interrupted Miller, as that egomaniacal haircut is wont to do.
“You’re saying that that does not represent what the country has always thought of as immigration into this country? Stephen, I’m sorry – That sounds like national park revisionism. The Statue of Liberty as always been a beacon of hope to the world for people to come to this country, and they are not always going to speak English, Stephen. They’re not always going to be highly skilled.”
Jim, I appreciate your speech. Let’s talk about this. In 1970, when we let in 300,000 people a year, was that violating or not violating the Statue of Liberty law of the land? In the 1990s, when it was half a million per year, was it violating or not violating the Statue of Liberty law of the land? Tell me what years meet Jim Acosta’s definition of the Statue of Liberty poem law of the land.
Milled added: “So, you say that a million a year is the Statue of Liberty number. 900,000 or 800,000 a year would violate it.
Acosta shot back: “You are sort of bringing a ‘Press One For English’ philosophy here to immigration, and that is not what the United States is about.”
Miller replied: “Your statement is shockingly ahistorical too, you look at the history of immigration. It has ebbed and flowed. We have had periods of large waves and periods of less immigration and more immigration.”
It was a masterful, Socratic cross-examination by Miller, which unfortunately is a rarity among conservatives within both the Trump administration and the Republican Party.
This attempt to restore reason to America’s anarchic immigration system may have boosted the stock market. Twenty minutes after the press conference ended, the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit an all-time high of 22,016, up more than 4,000 points since the November election. According to the White House, because of the president’s policies consumer confidence is surging while strong growth in jobs and the gross domestic product have forced the unemployment rate down to 4.4 percent.
The current immigration mess was foreseeable; some would say it was planned.
Worker skill levels dropped after the enactment of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) of 1965 which began the flood of immigrants from countries hostile to the traditional American values of limited government, individualism, and a healthy respect for markets and civil society. When the INA was overhauled, a “national origins” formula calculated to maintain the existing population demographic in the nation as of 1924, was dumped in favor of one based on immigrants’ skills and family relationships with U.S. citizens or residents.
The legislation was a Democrat initiative in the Eighty-Ninth Congress. Rep. Emanuel Celler (D-N.Y.), Sens. Philip Hart (D-Mich.) and Edward “Ted” Kennedy (D-Mass.) threw their weight behind it. The morally preening left-winger President Lyndon Johnson even signed the bill into law in a ceremony beside the Statue of Liberty, a move that seems to have contributed to Democrats’ belief that the Lazarus sonnet emblazoned at the foot of the statue somehow was an American foundational document.
President Johnson pretended the new law wasn’t that important.
“This bill that we will sign today is not a revolutionary bill. It does not affect the lives of millions,” Johnson said on Liberty Island. “It will not reshape the structure of our daily lives or add importantly to either our wealth or our power.”
But the INA “leveled the immigration playing field, giving a nearly equal shot to newcomers from every corner of the world,” according to a summary by NPR.
So instead of competing in the marketplace of ideas, Democrats rigged the game by changing immigration law in order to import Democrat voters. The tsunami of immigrants from authoritarian Third World countries over the past half century helped Democrats grow their political base. According to some experts, it takes generations for immigrant families to back away from collectivism and big government as solutions to life’s problems and become Republicans. Continued high immigration rates benefit Democrats and the crony capitalists who bankroll them, impoverish the workers already here, and virtually guarantee endless growth in the size and scope of government.
The Trump plan is a return to sanity for U.S. immigration policy.