May 20, 2019

Trump's Immigration Plan

Editor's note: We couldn’t be more proud of one of our teammates, Isaac Rose-Berman, who penned his first op-ed this week in USA Today: “How college students can bridge American divides: 'Study abroad' in Alabama or New York.” Please give it a read, and share far and wide!

“President Donald Trump on Thursday proposed overhauling the U.S. immigration system to favor young, educated, English-speaking applicants instead of people with family ties to Americans.” Reuters

See past issues

From the Left

The left is disappointed that the bill fails to address Dreamers and other undocumented immigrants, and defends the current family-based immigration system.

It was a “lost opportunity… this proposal does not address some of the thorniest elements of the immigration debate. Most notably, it avoids the question of what to do about the 1.8 million immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children…  No proposal that fails to grapple with this vulnerable population will be taken seriously by Democrats — nor should it be. The plan also does not address how to bring the roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States out of the shadows.”
Editorial Board, New York Times

“While at first this may seem good for tech — an industry experiencing cutthroat competition for the limited number of US tech workers — it’s completely unrealistic. You can’t expect people to move and work here without the hope of bringing their families with them… ‘[They are] trying to create a dichotomy between supposedly low-skill, low-paid, family immigrants and high-tech, high-wage, not-jobs-stealing, merit-based immigrants… [but] the fact is everyone has family’... People coming to work in the US — who aid American companies and generally benefit the overall economy — are entitled to live full lives.”
Rani Molla, Vox

“We expect people to arrive from somewhere else in the world, become American, have children who grow up as Americans, and possess loyalty, common civic values and a sense of shared identity. This is a dimension of immigration in which the United States probably has the world’s strongest track record. But practically speaking, how does that actually happen?…

“Throughout U.S. history, families and extended family networks have offered intense social, cultural and financial help to new immigrants. They assist newcomers in finding housing and jobs, as well as translating important information, such as tax, DMV and school registration forms. Many also provide emotional and psychological support and communicate U.S. cultural norms throughout the adjustment process… Are we setting ourselves up to host a set of people who see themselves as global winners, looking to negotiate the best residency deal for themselves without emotional connections to us or intellectual regard for our ideals?”
Julia Brookins, NBC News

Many argue that “we need more workers, at all wage levels… we have about 7.5 million unfilled jobs and the fertility rate in the United States plunged to a 30 year low.”
Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post

Counterpoint:[Merit-based] immigration has worked in Canada. Unlike in the United States, a vast majority of immigrants to Canada are evaluated on their skills and qualifications and whether those match the needs of the labor market. It’s an imperfect system — what policy isn’t? — but it is the reason Canadians are broadly content that their country has one of the highest rates of immigration in the world. The success of the merit-based system also permits the government to have the generous refugee and humanitarian policies that it does… the left would be wise to reset [the immigration] debate by agreeing to focus on highly skilled immigrants.”
Omer Aziz, New York Times

“It’s useful to spur debate on the right mix of migrants, which in our view would include both the skilled and educated and the kind of scrappy, hungry settlers who have supercharged this nation’s economy since its founding. The real test is whether the Trump plan is the basis of dealmaking or just a talking pointdesigned to win over suburban voters in swing districts. As the president likes to say: We’ll see.”
Editorial Board, Washington Post

Others argue that “Biden was almost the only one on the stage who talked like a normal person. There was a point near the end of the debate when he was talking about getting men involved in stopping domestic violence and he said that we need to keep ‘punching’ at it… I knew that the twitterati and the analysts would tut tut. Ol’ Joe is just out of touch! He doesn’t know you can’t use words like that. Meanwhile, every non-political junkie watching the debate thought there was nothing wrong with this. Biden was just using ordinary language, not worrying too much if it was fully approved by the woke brigade.”
Kevin Drum, Mother Jones

From the Right

The right supports the plan, arguing in favor of a merit-based immigration system.

From the Right

The right supports the plan, arguing in favor of a merit-based immigration system.

“The United States, unique among developed countries, maintains a quixotic and outdated immigration system—created in 1965—in which the vast majority of immigrants are admitted through family reunification… [This plan] would merely bring U.S. immigration policy into alignment with what the rest of the developed world does… we need a modernized immigration system that puts the American economy and American interests first. That’s the direction Trump’s plan would take us, and it’s about time.”
John Daniel Davidson, The Federalist

“America would still be a beacon for freedom and opportunity across the globe. The refugee program — providing a safe harbor to those who are escaping persecution — would be preserved. First in line to gain visas would still be immediate family members of American citizens…

“The United States is like an NFL team that every year can have every first-round draft pick. Most immigrants with exceptional skills and talents want to come to America. They don’t want to go to France or Brazil or Australia or Russia. Foolishly, we have turned them away… Under the Trump plan, the percent of immigrants with college and advanced degrees would nearly double, according to the White House’s calculations. And many of these degrees will be in engineering, the sciences and technology. We need them.”
Stephen Moore, Washington Times

“The people who own software companies think we need more immigrant programmers; the people who work as programmers often have other views… the buyers and the sellers in any given market often see things very differently from each other… The United States has interests of its own, some of those interests are economic, and immigration should serve American interests first and foremost, with humanitarian concerns and other considerations subordinated.”
Kevin D. Williamson, National Review

Admitting immigrants on the basis that they’d make Americans better off — who could oppose that?... One thing I like about the proposed bill is that it doesn’t cap the number of people we’d admit. [Under a previously proposed bill], we’d admit no more than 500,000 people a year. But if the 500,001st immigrant would make us better off, why would we reject him?”
F.H. Buckley, The American Spectator

“Trump must feel more comfortable with keeping the legal immigration level where it is. It’s consistent with his American Greatness theme to want to admit large numbers of the best and brightest from around the world. And his base, while many in it would probably prefer less legal immigration, isn’t likely to balk over keeping such immigration where it is, as long as the system is predominantly merit based… perhaps most importantly, by keeping legal immigration where it is, Trump can easily dodge the charge of being anti-immigrant. He can say he’s pro-immigrant — but pro-legal immigrants with skills and with proficiency in English.”
Paul Mirengoff, Power Line Blog

Some, however, are critical that the plan does not reduce the number of legal immigrants. “The proposal is not really a legislative vehicle; there’s no chance an immigration bill even remotely acceptable to Republicans can make it through this Congress. That means this proposal is more of a campaign platform, outlining the official Republican approach to immigration. Formally embracing the current legal-immigration level of more than one million each year would mean that the GOP, as on so many issues before, would simply be the Democrat-lite party, wanting to go in the same direction, just more slowly.”
Mark Krikorian, National Review

Others note, “I’d hate to be a Democratic member of Congress trying to convince Joe Sixpack that this is a whole new ballgame. The transcript shows Trump being Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky trying to ingratiate himself with the big dog by, for instance, mentioning that he stays at Trump hotels. Trump’s conversation is typically scattershot, wandering all over the field, leaving a reasonable listener puzzled about what the takeaways are supposed to be…

“I think Joe Sixpack’s response is going to be a hearty shrug. After all that has emerged about Trump so far, his approval rating is closely tracking Obama’s approval at the same point in his presidency. To get Mr. Sixpack’s attention you are going to have to do better than this.”
Kyle Smith, National Review

President Trump should be happy. As much as Warren is articulate, obviously intelligent, and energetically supported by Democrats, she would also be far easier to defeat than Joe Biden… Considering Trump's economy, the president is well placed to defeat Warren.”
Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner

A libertarian's take

“While running for president in 2000, George W. Bush derided ‘nation building’ and said American foreign policy should be ‘humble’ rather than ‘arrogant.’ As president, Bush brought us the disastrous wars in Afghanistan and Iraq… While running for president in 2007, Barack Obama rejected the idea that the president has the authority to wage war without congressional authorization whenever he thinks it is in the national interest… As president, Obama did that very thing in Libya… A few years before his 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump said the U.S. should withdraw immediately from Afghanistan… As president, he sent more troops to Afghanistan…

“Three men with little or no foreign policy experience entered an office where they were surrounded by experts, and they quickly shed their initial skepticism of military intervention… we should worry about a president with little knowledge of the world whose military decisions are driven by anger or domestic political considerations. But it's not clear to me that such a president poses a bigger danger than the experts who have been disastrously wrong more times than we can count.”
Jacob Sullum, Reason

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