legal immigration

Trump Administration Aims to Sharply Restrict New Green Cards for Those on Public Aid

WASHINGTON — Trump administration officials announced Saturday that immigrants who legally use public benefits like food assistance and Section 8 housing vouchers could be denied green cards under new rules aimed at keeping out people the administration deems a drain on the country.

The move could force millions of poor immigrants who rely on public assistance for food and shelter to make a difficult choice between accepting financial help and seeking a green card to live and work legally in the United States.

Older immigrants, many of whom get low-cost prescription drugs through the Medicare Part D program, could also be forced to stop participating...

The move is not intended to affect most immigrants who have already been granted green cards, but advocates have said they fear that those with legal resident status will stop using public benefits to protect their status. The regulation, which the administration said would affect about 382,000 people a year, is the latest in a series of aggressive crackdowns by President Trump and his hard-line aides on legal and illegal immigration.

Federal law has always required those seeking green cards to prove they will not be a burden and has taken into consideration the acceptance of cash benefits. But the government has never before considered the use of other public benefits, like assistance for food.

Now, the new regulation — announced on the Department of Homeland Security website — will require that immigration caseworkers consider the use of public benefits to be “heavily weighed negative factors” for those who are applying to remain legally in the country on a permanent basis. Those who are deemed likely to become dependent on government assistance will probably be denied.

The rule would affect people seeking to immigrate to the United States permanently and others who are in the country on temporary visas — including students and workers — who seek to stay permanently...

In a news release, the Department of Homeland Security said the new rule would “ensure that those seeking to enter and remain in the United States either temporarily or permanently can support themselves financially and will not be reliant on public benefits.”...

Pro-immigrant activists predict that poor immigrants will immediately begin withdrawing from public assistance programs...

“This is an attack on immigrant families and an attempt to make our immigration system a pay-to-play system where only the wealthy need apply,” said Jackie Vimo, a policy analyst with the National Immigration Law Center...

Stephen Miller, the president’s top immigration adviser, has long believed that being tough on immigrants is a winning tactic for Republican candidates...

But the breadth of the effect on immigrants could also energize liberal voters to support Democratic candidates. In New York, for example, city officials estimated that under an earlier draft of the regulation, which was leaked to the news media, nearly one million people could be hurt.

They said the children of immigrants who are in the United States legally could be the most vulnerable. Indeed, immigrant parents who work low-wage jobs and rely on assistance may need to remove their children from the programs to keep their families together in the United States. Unauthorized immigrants are ineligible for nearly all public benefits.

Trump administration officials say the rule is intended to promote fiscal responsibility.

“Self-sufficiency has been a basic principle of United States immigration law since this country’s earliest immigration statutes,” the proposal says. It remains United States policy that “the availability of public benefits not constitute an incentive for immigration to the United States.” (emphasis added)

The government has traditionally considered someone who relies on government cash assistance for more than half of his or her income a public charge. Now, however, officials will take into account whether an individual or a family has received any of an assortment of noncash public benefits, such as aid from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps; the Section 8 program, which provides housing assistance; or the Medicare prescription drug program for older adults.

“This is long overdue,” said Mark Krikorian, the executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, whose research supports decreased immigration. “This country has defined public charge in a fictional way in order to facilitate high levels of low-skilled immigration. But this is simply a 21st-century definition of what public charge is.”

Officials said that the new rule did not apply to refugees or asylum seekers who enter the country, or to legal immigrants who serve in the military. Cash or other assistance given to the immigrant victims of natural disasters would not be counted against them.

Critics of the new rule argue that it deviates from longstanding precedent and from Congress’s original intent for the public-charge statute...

Nearly 20 million children in immigrant families could be affected by the policy changes, according to a report by the Kaiser Family Foundation that examined a draft of the new rule that was even broader than the one announced on Saturday. Almost nine in 10 of those children are United States citizens.

“The proposal is clearly intended to deny basic supports like food, health care and housing to lawfully present immigrants and their families — including millions of children and U.S. citizens — who pay taxes, work, go to school and contribute to our country’s economy,” Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington wrote in April in a letter to Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, the agency that reviews proposed rules before they are published. The mayor of Seattle wrote a similar letter expressing concerns...

“It’s a bit like the creation of a castelike system,” Mr. Fremstad said. “Unless you’ve had an ‘American dream’ going for you in your home country, you’re going to have a hard time earning it here. It’s really screening those people.”

Mr. Krikorian does not contest that view.

“This isn’t a moral issue,” he said. “A Honduran with a sixth-grade education level isn’t morally flawed, but he works three jobs and still can’t feed his family. Immigrants with low levels of skill are a mismatch for a modern society like ours.”

The complex web of technicalities surrounding the new rule are difficult to understand, said Charles Wheeler, a legal expert at the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, so the number of immigrants who withdraw from programs could exceed even the number who are subject to the rule.

 

Big swindle on U.S. workers

The “Optional Practical Training” program -- what a benign-sounding name for a program that has devastating consequences for job-hungry citizens!

“OPT” is a program that’s legal, thanks to colluding bureaucrats and ignorant or corrupt elected officials.  It gives employers the legal right to hire foreign workers instead of citizens for mostly computer-related jobs, and not only gives employers the right, it incentivizes them to do so by excusing them from paying the Social Security taxes they would have to pay if they hired a citizen for the same job.

Then business and politically-correct media fudge the truth about the program, keeping the public in the dark about it.

David North, of the Center for Immigration Studies, exposes the Wall Street Journal and other media in his blog:  Wall Street Journal Describes Foreign 'Student' Work Program, but Omits $2 Billion Taxpayer Subsidy.

“There's a government program that rewards American employers for not hiring American college grads — for hiring foreign alumni instead — by draining about $2 billion a year from the government trust funds for the elderly (Medicare and Social Security) to pay those employers.

“It is the Optional Practical Training program.”

Read the rest of the blog here.

In a detailed history of how this program developed, John Miano, of CIS and co-author of the book, Sold Out, writes:

“OPT is an example of the administrative state run amok. Instead of law coming from Congress, we have law coming from bureaucrats working hand-in-hand with lobbyists. OPT also illustrates the slippery-slope problem of regulation. Work on student visas started innocently as an integral part of a course of study to give foreign students an experience not available in their home country, but eventually was transformed into a full-blown guestworker program whose stated purpose is to provide labor to American business.

“Congress's definition of student visa status cannot possibly encompass aliens who are either working full-time or are unemployed years after they have graduated.”

“The question now is whether the courts will ever make a decision on OPT or whether the Trump administration will realize that OPT is an unlawful program that should be terminated.”

See the history at: https://cis.org/Report/History-Optional-Practical-Training-Guestworker-Program

Dick Durbin: It's unlikely we'll reach a DACA deal, but 'I don't see a government shutdown coming'

Sen. Dick Durbin said Sunday senators are unlikely to reach an immigration deal before government funding expires later this week, and there won’t be another partial government shutdown over the issue.

“There is not likely to be a DACA deal, though we're working every single day on telephone calls and person to person to try to reach this bipartisan agreement,” said Durbin, D-Ill., the second-ranked Democrat, in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union." "I don't see a government shutdown coming.”

Durbin said he is encouraged about negotiations occurring between moderate Democrats and Republicans...
 
Trump announced last year that he would end the DACA program, and he gave Congress until March 5 to address the status of the immigrants, known as “Dreamers.”
 
Durbin said lawmakers are unlikely to reach a deal before Feb. 8...

Parts of the government temporarily shut down last month...

The government shutdown ended when Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, of New York, said he received a promise from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to allow debate and a vote on an immigration bill.

“We're making real progress,” Durbin said. “I want to salute the moderates in both the Republicans' and Democratic caucuses in the Senate. I do see a promise by Sen. McConnell to finally bring this critical issue that effects the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in America, finally bringing it to a full debate in the Senate. That's what we were looking for when there was a shutdown. We have achieved that goal. We're moving forward.”

The White House has said President Trump won’t sign an immigration bill unless it also funds a border wall and changes other parts of the immigration system, such as ending the visa lottery program and limiting family-based immigration.

How some people get rich quickly

David North of the Center for Immigration Studies tells us how some people get rich quickly and legally.

It’s time to close the paths for schemers described in his article. 

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IF YOU WANT A LOT OF CASH, DON'T ROB A BANK, OPEN A VISA MILL!

By David North, January 17, 2018

[Excerpts]

If you want to secure a whole lot of money, and don't care how you get it, don't rob a bank, open a visa mill! As much as $53 million a year — all tax-free. You will get much more loot than in a bank heist, there will be no physical danger, and the government will either help your school or look the other way.

Visa mills are an immigration concern because they attract thousands of low-skilled aliens (the schools routinely have 100 percent admission rates). Most of the alien students, who secure, at best, fourth-rate educations, immediately obtain government-subsidized jobs, depriving un-subsidized resident workers of the same jobs.

Government subsidies for foreign students that are denied to American ones? Absolutely!

...

A visa mill is defined as a lesser educational institution that provides more in work permits for aliens than in education. This posting was inspired by reading the most recent income statements (Form 990) provided to the government by four highly prosperous but marginal schools that, if you will, major in Work Permits for Aliens. The four were among a larger group of 55 examined in the recent CIS Backgrounder "The Dregs of Higher Education Damage Our Immigration System".

...

These are obscure institutions and all levels of governments ignore them beyond the ultimate gifts of letting them have the power to issue the paper that leads to the F-1 visa and the power to grant to all their alumni and most of their students an easy path to subsidized American jobs.

The IRS could question their charity status; the State Department could stop issuing visas to many or all the students accepted at such places; and the Student and Exchange Visitor Program, part of the Department of Homeland Security, could crack down on the abuses in these programs — but none of them lift a finger, nor do state governments — with one honorable exception.

The exception is the State Council on Higher Education in Virginia (SCHEV), which recently closed one visa mill in Northern Virginia and a couple of years ago terminated another one in the same general area.

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View the entire article here.

Pres. Trump spells out immigration priorities

In a broad policy statement released on Dec. 18, President Trump spells out plans to reform immigration controls in the national interest. 

The statement, titled National Security Strategy of the United States of America, December 2017, covers many aspects of national security in addition to immigration issues. 

To view the full document, click here.  Below is the section dealing with immigration management.  The steps he includes in “Priority Actions”, when implemented, will greatly improve the current system.

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Strengthen Border Control and Immigration Policy

Strengthening control over our borders and immigration system is central to national security, economic prosperity, and the rule of law. Terrorists, drug traffickers, and criminal cartels exploit porous borders and threaten U.S. security and public safety. These actors adapt quickly to outpace our defenses.

The United States affirms our sovereign right to determine who should enter our country and under what circumstances. The United States understands the contributions immigrants have made to our Nation throughout its history. Illegal immigration, however, burdens the economy, hurts American workers, presents public safety risks, and enriches smugglers and other criminals.

The United States recognizes that decisions about who to legally admit for residency, citizenship, or otherwise are among the most important a country has to make. The United States will continue to welcome lawful immigrants who do not pose a security threat and whose entry is consistent with the national interest, while at the same time enhancing the screening and vetting of travelers, closing dangerous loopholes, revising outdated laws, and eliminating easily exploited vulnerabilities. We will also reform our current immigration system, which, contrary to our national interest and national security, allows for randomized entry and extended-family chain migration. Residency and citizenship determinations should be based on individuals’ merits and their ability to positively contribute to U.S. society, rather than chance or extended family connections.

Priority  Actions

ENHANCE BORDER SECURITY: We will secure our borders through the construction of a border wall, the use of multilayered defenses and advanced technology, the employment of additional personnel, and other measures. The U.S. Government will work with foreign partners to deter, detect, and disrupt suspicious individuals well before they enter the United States.

ENHANCE VETTING: The U.S. Government will enhance vetting of prospective immigrants, refugees, and other foreign visitors to identify individuals who might pose a risk to national security or public safety. We will set higher security standards to ensure that we keep dangerous people out of the United States and enhance our information collection and analysis to identify those who may already be within our borders.

ENFORCE IMMIGRATION LAWS: We will enforce immigration laws, both at the border and in the interior, to provide an effective deterrent to illegal immigration. Th e apprehension and swift removal of illegal aliens at the border is critical to an effective border security strategy. We must also increase efforts to identify and counter fraud in the immigration process, which undermines the integrity of our immigration system, exploits vulnerable individuals, and creates national security risks.

BOLSTER TRANSPORTATION SECURITY: We will improve information sharing across our government and with foreign partners to enhance the security of the pathways through which people and goods enter the country. We will invest in technology to counter emerging threats to our aviation, surface, and maritime transportation sectors. We will also work with international and industry partners to raise security standards.

https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/NSS-Final-12-18-2017-0905-2.pdf

 

Absolutely worth the read - and excellent overview of immigration to America

Immigration in the National Interest

October 2017 • Volume 46, Number 10 • Tom Cotton

Tom Cotton
U.S. Senator from Arkansas

Tom Cotton was elected to the U.S. Senate from Arkansas in 2014, following one term in the U.S. House of Representatives. He serves on the Senate Banking Committee, the Senate Intelligence Committee, and the Senate Armed Services Committee. A graduate of Harvard College, he studied government at the Claremont Graduate School and received his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 2002. In 2005, he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army, rose to 1st Lieutenant, and served deployments in Iraq with the 101st Airborne and in Afghanistan with a Provincial Reconstruction Team. His military decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, and Ranger Tab.

The following is adapted from a speech delivered on September 18, 2017, in Washington, D.C., at Hillsdale College’s Eighth Annual Constitution Day Celebration.

Last year, for the first time in our nation’s history, the American people elected as president someone with no high government experience—not a senator, not a congressman, not a governor, not a cabinet secretary, not a general. They did this, I believe, because they’ve lost faith in both the competence and the intentions of our governing class—of both parties! Government now takes nearly half of every dollar we earn and bosses us around in every aspect of life, yet can’t deliver basic services well. Our working class—the “forgotten man,” to use the phrase favored by Ronald Reagan and FDR—has seen its wages stagnate, while the four richest counties in America are inside the Washington Beltway. The kids of the working class are those who chiefly fight our seemingly endless wars and police our streets, only to come in for criticism too often from the very elite who sleep under the blanket of security they provide.

Donald Trump understood these things, though I should add he didn’t cause them. His victory was more effect than cause of our present discontents. The multiplying failures and arrogance of our governing class are what created the conditions for his victory.

Immigration is probably the best example of this. President Trump deviated from Republican orthodoxy on several issues, but immigration was the defining issue in which he broke from the bipartisan conventional wisdom. For years, all Democrats and many Republicans have agreed on the outline of what’s commonly called “comprehensive immigration reform,” which is Washington code for amnesty, mass immigration, and open borders in perpetuity.

This approach was embodied most recently in the so-called Gang of Eight bill in 2013. It passed the Senate, but thankfully we killed it in the House, which I consider among my chief accomplishments in Congress so far. Two members of the Gang of Eight ran for my party’s nomination for president last year. Neither won a single statewide primary. Donald Trump denounced the bill, and he won the nomination.

Likewise, Hillary Clinton campaigned not just for mass immigration, but also on a policy of no deportations of anyone, ever, who is illegally present in our country. She also accused her opponent of racism and xenophobia. Yet Donald Trump beat her by winning states that no Republican had won since the 1980s.

Clearly, immigration was an issue of signal importance in the election. That’s because immigration is more than just another issue. It touches upon fundamental questions of citizenship, community, and identity. For too long, a bipartisan, cosmopolitan elite has dismissed the people’s legitimate concerns about these things and put its own interests above the national interest.

No one captured this sensibility better than President Obama, when he famously called himself “a citizen of the world.”  With that phrase, he revealed a deep misunderstanding of citizenship. After all, “citizen” and “city” share the same Greek root word: citizenship by definition means that you belong to a particular political community. Yet many of our elites share Mr. Obama’s sensibility. They believe that American citizenship—real, actual citizenship—is meaningless, ought not be foreclosed to anyone, and ought not be the basis for distinctions between citizens and foreigners. You might say they think American exceptionalism lies in not making exceptions when it comes to citizenship.

This globalist mindset is not only foreign to most Americans. It’s also foreign to the American political tradition.

Take the Declaration of Independence. Our cosmopolitan elites love to cite its stirring passages about the rights of mankind when they talk about immigration or refugees. They’re not wrong to do so. Unlike any other country, America is an idea—but it is not only an idea. America is a real, particular place with real borders and real, flesh-and-blood people. And the Declaration tells us it was so from the very beginning.

Prior to those stirring passages about “unalienable Rights” and “Nature’s God,” in the Declaration’s very first sentence in fact, the Founders say it has become “necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands” that tie them to another—one people, not all people, not citizens of the world, but actual people who make up actual colonies. The Founders frequently use the words we and us throughout the Declaration to describe that people.

Furthermore, on several occasions, the Declaration speaks of “these Colonies” or “these States.” The Founders were concerned about their own circumstances; they owed a duty to their own people who had sent them as representatives to the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia. They weren’t trying to free South America from Spanish or Portuguese dominion, much as they might have opposed that dominion.

Perhaps most notably, the Founders explain towards the end of the Declaration that they had appealed not only to King George for redress, but also to their fellow British citizens, yet those fellow citizens had been “deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity.” Consanguinity!—blood ties! That’s pretty much the opposite of being a citizen of the world.

So while the Declaration is of course a universal document, it’s also a particular document about one nation and one people. Its signers pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to each other, in English, right here in America—not in Esperanto to mankind in the abstract.

The Constitution affirms this concept of American citizenship. It includes only one reference to immigration, where it empowers Congress to establish a “uniform Rule of Naturalization.” It’s worth pondering a couple points here.

First, what’s that word uniform doing? The Constitution uses the word only three times, when requiring uniform rules for naturalization, bankruptcies, and taxation. These are things that could either knit our Union together or blow it apart—taxation by the central government, the system of credit upon which the free enterprise system depends, and the meaning of citizenship. On these, the Framers insisted upon a uniform, nationwide standard. Diverse habits and laws are suitable for many things in our continental republic, but not for all things. In particular, we can only have “one people” united by a common understanding of citizenship.

Second, the word naturalization implies a process by which foreigners can renounce their former allegiances and become citizens of the United States. They can cast off what accident and force have thrust upon them—race, class, ethnicity—and take on, by reflection and choice, a new title: American. That is a wonderful and beautiful thing, and one of which we are all justly proud. Few Americans love our land so much as the immigrants who’ve escaped the yoke of tyranny.

But our cosmopolitan elites take this to an extreme. They think because anyone can become an American, we’re morally obligated to treat everyone like an American. If you disagree, you’re considered hard-hearted, bigoted, intolerant, xenophobic. So the only policies that aren’t inherently un-American are those that effectively erase our borders and erase the distinction between citizen and foreigner: don’t erect barriers on the border; give sanctuary cities a pass; spare illegal immigrants from deportation; allow American businesses to import as much cheap labor as they want. Anything less, the elites say, is a betrayal of our ideals.

But that’s wrong. Just because you can become an American doesn’t mean you are an American. And it certainly doesn’t mean we must treat you as an American, especially if you don’t play by our rules. After all, in our unique brand of nationalism, which connects our people through our ideas, repudiating our law is kind of like renouncing your blood ties in the monarchical lands of old. And what law is more fundamental to a political community than who gets to become a citizen, under what conditions, and when?

While we wish our fellow man well, it’s only our fellow citizens to whom we have a duty and whose rights our government was created to protect. And among the highest obligations we owe to each other is to ensure that every working American can lead a dignified life. If you look across our history, I’d argue that’s always been the purpose of our immigration system: to create conditions in which normal, hard-working Americans can thrive.

Look no further than what James Madison said on the floor of the House of Representatives in 1790, when the very first Congress was debating our very first naturalization law. He said, “It is no doubt very desirable that we should hold out as many inducements as possible for the worthy part of mankind to come and settle amongst us, and throw their fortunes into a common lot with ours.”  “The worthy part,” not the entire world. Madison continued, “But why is this desirable? Not merely to swell the catalogue of people. No, sir, it is to increase the wealth and strength of the community.”

“To increase the wealth and strength of the community.” That’s quite a contrast to today’s elite consensus. Our immigration system shouldn’t exist to serve the interests of foreigners or wealthy Americans. No, it ought to benefit working Americans and serve the national interest—that’s the purpose of immigration and the theme of the story of American immigration.

When open-borders enthusiasts tell that story, it sounds more like a fairy tale. The way they tell it, America at first was a land that accepted all comers without conditions. But then, periodically, the forces of nativism and bigotry reared their ugly head and placed restrictions on who could immigrate. The forces of darkness triumphed, by this telling, with the Johnson-Reed Act of 1924. But they were defeated with the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which again opened our shores and is still the law governing our immigration system today. Since 1965, everyone has lived happily ever after.

If I were to grade these storytellers, I would give them an F for history and an A for creative writing. The history of immigration in America is not one of ever-growing tides of huddled masses from the Pilgrims to today. On the contrary, throughout our history, American immigration has followed a surge-and-pause pattern. The first big wave was the Irish and German immigrants in the 1840s and 1850s. Then immigration tapered off during the Civil War. The second big wave was the central and southern European immigrants in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. That wave ended with the 1924 Act and the years of lower immigration that followed. And now we’re in the longest wave yet, the surge of immigration from Latin America and East and South Asia, which has followed from the 1965 Act.

In this actual history—not the fairy tale history—the 1924 Act is not an aberration, but an ebb in the regular ebb and flow of immigration to America. After decades of unskilled mass immigration, that law responded by controlling future immigration flows. One result of lower levels of immigration was that it allowed those earlier immigrants to assimilate, learn new skills, and move up the economic ladder, creating the conditions for mass affluence in the post-war era.

Now, there’s no denying that the story of American immigration has its uglier chapters: the Chinese Exclusion Act, the national-origins quota system imposed by the 1924 Act, the indifference to Jews in the 1930s. We ought to remember and learn from this history. One important lesson, though, is this: if the political class had heeded the concerns of working Americans during the second big wave, the 1924 Act would likely have passed earlier and been less restrictionist. The danger lies not in addressing the people’s legitimate, reasonable concerns about immigration, but in ignoring those concerns and slandering the people as bigots.

But then, we shouldn’t be surprised when politicians fail to understand fully the implications of their actions. Take the 1965 Act. That law ended the national-origins quota system, and at the time its importance was minimized. When President Johnson signed it into law, he said, “This bill . . . is not a revolutionary bill. It does not affect the lives of millions. It will not reshape the structure of our daily lives, or really add importantly to either our wealth or our power.”

How wrong he was.

The economy we’re living in today is in no small part a result of the 1965 Act, which opened the door to mass immigration of unskilled and low-skilled workers, primarily through unlimited family chain migration. And that’s not an economy anyone should be satisfied with.

Today, we have about a million immigrants per year. That’s like adding the population of Montana every year—or the population of Arkansas every three years. But only one in 15—one in 15 of those millions of immigrants—comes here for employment-based reasons. The vast majority come here simply because they happen to be related to someone already here. That’s why, for example, we have more Somalia-born residents than Australia-born residents, even though Australia is nearly twice the size of Somalia and Australians are better prepared, as a general matter, to integrate and assimilate into the American way of life.

In sum, over 36 million immigrants, or 94 percent of the total, have come to America over the last 50 years for reasons having nothing to do with employment. And that’s to say nothing of the over 24 million illegal immigrants who have come here. Put them together and you have 60 million immigrants, legal and illegal, who did not come to this country because of a job offer or because of their skills. That’s like adding almost the entire population of the United Kingdom. And this is still leaving aside the millions of temporary guest workers who we import every year into our country.

Unlike many open-border zealots, I don’t believe the law of supply and demand is magically repealed for the labor markets. That means that our immigration system has been depressing wages for people who work with their hands and on their feet. Wages for Americans with high school diplomas are down two percent since the late 1970s. For Americans who didn’t finish high school, they’re down by a staggering 17 percent. Although immigration has a minimal effect overall on the wages of Americans, it has a severe negative effect on low-skilled workers, minorities, and even recent immigrants.

Is automation to blame in part? Sure. Globalized trade? Yes, of course. But there’s no denying that a steady supply of cheap, unskilled labor has hurt working-class wages as well. Among those three factors, immigration policy is the one that we can control most easily for the benefit of American workers. Yet we’ve done the opposite.

I know the response of open-border enthusiasts: they plead that we need a steady supply of cheap unskilled labor because there are “jobs that no American will do.” But that just isn’t so. There is no job Americans won’t do. In fact, there’s no industry in America in which the majority of workers are not natural-born Americans—not landscapers, not construction workers, not ski instructors, not lifeguards, not resort workers, not childcare workers—not a single job that over-educated elites associate with immigrants. The simple fact is, if the wage is decent and the employer obeys the law, Americans will do any job. And for tough, dangerous, and physically demanding jobs, maybe working folks do deserve a bit of a raise.

“No American will do that job.” Let me just pause for a moment and confess how much I detest that sentiment. In addition to being ignorant of the economic facts, it’s insulting, condescending, and demeaning to our countrymen. Millions of Americans make our hotel beds and build our houses and clean our offices; imagine how they feel when they hear some pampered elite say no American will do their job. And finally, I must say, that sentiment also carries more than a whiff of the very prejudice of which they accuse those concerned about the effects of mass immigration.

But the harmful impact on blue-collar workers isn’t the only problem with the current system. Because we give two-thirds of our green cards to relatives of people here, there are huge backlogs in the system. This forces highly talented immigrants to wait in line for years behind applicants whose only claim to naturalization is a random family connection to someone who happened to get here years ago. We therefore lose out on the very best talent coming into our country—the ultra-high-skilled immigrants who can come to America, stand on their own two feet, pay taxes, and through their entrepreneurial spirit and innovation create more and higher-paying jobs for our citizens.

To put it simply, we have an immigration system that is badly failing Madison’s test of increasing the wealth and strength of the community. It might work to the advantage of a favored few, but not for the common good, and especially not the good of working-class Americans.

This is why I’ve introduced legislation to fix our naturalization system. It’s called the RAISE Act: Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy.

The RAISE Act will correct the flaws in the 1965 Act by reorienting our immigration system towards foreigners who have the most to contribute to our country. It would create a skills-based points system similar to Canada’s and Australia’s. Here’s how it would work. When people apply to immigrate, they’d be given an easy-to-calculate score, on a scale of 0 to 100, based on their education, age, job salary, investment ability, English-language skills, and any extraordinary achievements. Then, twice a year, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services would invite the top scorers to complete their applications, and it would invite enough high-scoring applicants to fill the current 140,000 annual employment-based green-card slots.

We’d still admit spouses and unmarried minor children of citizens and legal permanent residents. But we’d end the preferences for most extended and adult family members—no more unlimited chain migration. We’d also eliminate the so-called diversity visa lottery, which hands out green cards randomly without regard to skills or family connections, and which is plagued by fraud. We’d remove per-country caps on immigration, too, so that high-skilled applicants aren’t shut out of the process simply because of their country of origin. And finally, we’d cap the number of refugees offered permanent residency to 50,000 per year, in line with the recent average for the Bush era and most of the Obama era—and still quite generous.

Add it all up and our annual immigrant pool would be younger, higher-skilled, and ready to contribute to our economy without using welfare, as more than half of immigrant households do today. No longer would we distribute green cards essentially based on random chance. Nor would we import millions of unskilled workers to take jobs from blue-collar Americans and undercut their wages. And over a ten-year period, our annual immigration levels would decrease by half, gradually returning to historical norms.

Given current events, this legislation is timelier than ever. Earlier this month, President Trump announced that he would wind down, over six months, the unconstitutional Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also known as DACA. President Obama abused his authority with DACA—which purported to give legal status to illegal immigrants who arrived here as children and who are now in their twenties and thirties—because, as we’ve seen, the Constitution reserves to Congress the power to make uniform laws of naturalization.

Because of President Obama’s unlawful action, about 700,000 people are now in a kind of legal limbo. President Trump did the right thing as a matter of law by ending DACA, though as a matter of policy he’d prefer its beneficiaries don’t face deportation. Democrats agree, as do a lot of Republicans. So the question isn’t so much about deportation, but rather if and what kind of compromise Congress can strike.

Here’s where the RAISE Act comes in. We can, if we choose, grant citizenship to those illegal immigrants who came here through no fault of their own as kids and who’ve otherwise been law-abiding, productive citizens. But if we do, it will have the effect of legalizing through chain migration their parents—the very people who created the problem by bringing the kids here illegally. Some like to say that children shouldn’t pay for the crimes of the parents, but surely parents can pay for the crimes of the parents. And that’s to say nothing of their siblings and spouses, and then all the second- and third-order chain migration those people create. So simply codifying DACA without ending chain migration would rapidly accelerate the wave of unskilled immigrant labor that’s been depressing the wages of working Americans.

An obvious compromise, then, is to pair any attempt to codify DACA with reform of the green card system to protect American workers. A stand-alone amnesty will not do. Nor will an amnesty with vague promises of “border security,” which never seem to materialize or get funded once the pressure is off Congress. But if we codify DACA along with the reforms in the RAISE Act, we will protect working Americans from the worst consequences of President Obama’s irresponsible decision.

President Trump has said that chain migration must be ended in any legislative compromise, and he’s highlighted the RAISE Act as a good starting point for those negotiations. I support that approach, and I’m committed to working with my colleagues, Democrats and Republicans alike, on a deal that protects American workers and strengthens our community.

Immigration has emerged in recent years as a kind of acid test for our leaders—a test they’ve mostly failed. Our cosmopolitan elite—in both parties—has pursued a radical immigration policy that’s inconsistent with our history and our political tradition. They’ve celebrated the American idea, yet undermined the actual American people of the here and now. They’ve forgotten that the Declaration speaks of “one people” and the Constitution of “We the People.” At the same time, they’ve enriched themselves and improved their quality of life, while creating a new class of forgotten men.

There’s probably no issue that calls more for an “America first” approach than immigration. After all, the guidepost of our immigration policy should be putting Americans first—not foreigners and not a tiny elite. Our immigration policy should serve the “wealth and strength” of our people, as Madison said in that first Congress. It should not divide our nation, impoverish our workers, or promote hyphenated Americanism.

Citizenship is the most cherished thing our nation can bestow. Our governing class ought to treat it as something special. We ought to put the interests of our citizens first and welcome those foreigners best prepared to handle the duties of citizenship and contribute positively to our country. When we do, our fellow Americans will begin to trust us once again.

A million here, a million there - and the billions mount up fast for school costs

FAIR writer Kenric Ward dissects the figures from a new report on expenditures resulting from large numbers of immigrant children in the public schools.  Overly-generous immigration policies of recent administrations are costing state taxpayers in the U.S. nearly $60 BILLION this year alone in education expenses for immigrant children.

“Five states — Arkansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee — each saw their English Learner populations more than double between 2000 and 2014.” 

See excerpts from the FAIR blog below.


Immigration Policies ​Weigh Heavily on U.S. Schools

by Kenric Ward, Federation for American Immigration Reform,  Nov. 7, 2017

America’s immigration policies are amplifying the perennial pleas for more public school funding.

Each year, an estimated 5 million refugees and immigrants – legal and illegal – are enrolled at K-12 campuses with a variety of special needs. More than 175,000 unaccompanied children settled in the U.S. since 2014, with some 18,000 arriving in just 10 counties last year.

A new report by the Migration Policy Institute runs down these pupils’ high-cost needs. Going far beyond the basics of learning English, the list includes mental-health care, legal representation, “socioemotional services,” even “housing rights.”

This naturally necessitates a growing phalanx of providers inside and outside the classroom. Surveying widely varying literacy rates among the new arrivals, “Beyond Teaching English” advises districts to check the “linguistic and cultural competence of staff.”

 How big is the challenge? FAIR estimates that public schools will spend $43,396,433,856 serving children of illegal aliens this year – a massive unfunded mandate. Folding in the costs of legal immigrant pupils, FAIR said the tab totaled $59.8 billion.

A recent sampling of 27 high schools found 9,000 refugee/immigrant students speaking 170-plus languages. “Foreign languages are a cause for celebration,” an MPI researcher said, echoing the mantra of Washington’s immigration enthusiasts.

Amid the celebration, however, the MPI study never addresses the actual costs of the party. Not a single dollar sign appears in the 36-page report

The failure to address the fiscal impact of immigration is shared by federal politicians and policymakers who craft immigration policy with little or no regard to the downstream financial consequences. Under U.S. Department of Education edicts for minimum language proficiency, high school graduation cycles are creeping up to five or even six years among immigrants, according to the MPI report.

The federal Office of Refugee Resettlement issues modest School Impact Grants to 39 state and charitable agencies.

It’s mere chump change compared to the $59.8 billion spent educating immigrant children. a cost shouldered almost exclusively by state and local taxpayers.

Doubling down on the unsustainable situation, Sugarman’s Migration Policy Institute and like-minded groups are busy building a cottage industry to lobby for evermore immigration-induced entitlements, at whatever cost. Expect tax bills to rise accordingly.

20 Million Immigrants Admitted Over 35 Years Through Chain Migration

 
Twenty million of the total 33 million legal immigrants admitted to the United States between 1981 and 2016 were admitted through the chain migration categories, according to analysis by the Center for Immigration Studies. According to CIS, a legal immigrant admitted to the United States over the 35 years sponsored an average of 3.45 family members for green cards.
 
Current immigration law allows for new immigrants with green cards to sponsor their spouses and minor children. Then, once they become naturalized citizens, they can also sponsor their parents, adult siblings, and unmarried adult children for green cards, which creates endless chains of family-based immigration. There are no numerical limits to spouses, minor children, and parents that can be sponsored by U.S. citizens, while other categories are capped at approximately 250,000 per year.
 
The Immigration Act of 1990 dramatically increased the chain migration categories causing annual legal immigration numbers to skyrocket from a traditional average of 250,000 per year to more than 1 million per year since the 1990s. The last bipartisan U.S. commission on immigration reform, chaired by the late Barbara Jordan, recommended ending chain migration. Sens. Tom Cotton and David Perdue's RAISE Act and Rep. Lamar Smith's Immigration in the National Interest Act would end chain migration by restricting permanent, family-based immigration to spouses and minor children and creating a renewable visa for parents.
 
In a Tweet earlier this month, Pres. Trump called for ending chain migration shortly after terminating the unconstitutional DACA executive amnesty for young illegal aliens. Granting a permanent amnesty to the approximately 700,000 DACA recipients would multiply the size of the amnesty because of chain migration.
 
[Some key findings of the report]:
 
• Over the last 35 years, chain migration has greatly exceeded new immigration. Out of 33 million immigrants admitted to the United States from 1981 to 2016, about 20 million were chain migration immigrants (61 percent).
 
• Judging from preliminary administrative data, approximately 1,125,000 legal immigrants were approved for admission in 2016, which is about 7 percent higher than 2015, and one of the highest numbers in the last decade.
 
• The largest categories of chain migration are spouses and parents of naturalized U.S. citizens because admissions in these categories are unlimited by law. 
 
• According to the most complete contemporary academic studies on chain migration, in recent years each new immigrant sponsored an average of 3.45 additional immigrants. …
 
• Of the top immigrant-sending countries, Mexico has the highest rate of chain migration. In the most recent five-year cohort of immigrants studied (1996-2000), each new Mexican immigrant sponsored 6.38 additional legal immigrants.
 
• Enacting an amnesty for roughly 700,000 DACA beneficiaries is likely to add double that number in additional immigrants because of chain migration, as the amnesty beneficiaries sponsor their parents and other family members. 
 
Read the entire report at CIS.
 

Obama DOJ Reprimanded SPLC for Hateful Attacks on Immigration Control Groups

The radical leftist group that helped a gunman commit an act of terrorism against a conservative organization was officially reprimanded by the Obama Department of Justice (DOJ) for its hateful attacks, according to documents obtained by Judicial Watch. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is an extremist nonprofit that lists conservative organizations that disagree with it on social issues on a catalogue of “hate groups.” The previously undisclosed DOJ rebuke is a vindication for groups targeted by the SPLC’s witch hunts and is especially impactful because the Obama administration was tight with the SPLC and even hired the controversial nonprofit to conduct diversity training for the government. Judicial Watch uncovered documents relating to the SPLC’s diversity training at the DOJ back in 2013.

Also in 2013, Judicial Watch reported that a Virginia man who planned a mass shooting based on the SPLC’s “hate map” of conservatives got a 25-year prison sentence. Prosecutors called it an act of terrorism and recommended a 45-year sentence. The terrorist, Floyd Lee Corkins, stormed into the headquarters of the Family Research Council (FRC) and carried out the politically-motivated shooting based on an SPLC target list. The FRC is a Christian organization that promotes the traditional family unit and the Judeo- Christian value system. Corkins pleaded guilty and admitted that he learned about the FRC from the SPLC, which describes itself as a civil rights group but labels conservatives who disagree with it on social issues as hateful.

In 2015, the SPLC issued a hit list of U.S. women against sharia law, the authoritarian doctrine that inspires Islamists and their jihadism. This included a starter kit for Islamists to attack American women who refuse to comply with Sharia law and a detailed list of female bloggers, activist and television personalities who reject Sharia law, which is rooted in the Quran. Among those targeted were colleagues and friends of Judicial Watch who fear for their safety simply for practicing their rights under the U.S. Constitution. That SPLC hate list is titled Women Against Islam/The Dirty Dozen and includes illustrations and detailed information on all the women, who are branded “the core of the anti-Muslim radical right.” The SPLC hate brochure further targets them by claiming that they’re “a dozen of the most hardline anti-Muslim women activists in America.”

Another favorite SPLC target is any group or individual that speaks openly against illegal immigration. The DOJ reprimand, issued last year but kept quiet at the agency’s request, involves the SPLC’s atrocious behavior during immigration court proceedings. Two groups that oppose illegal immigration, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), were the target of personal, baseless and below-the-belt attacks from SPLC attorneys during official immigration court proceedings. The SPLC filed a motion attacking and defaming the two respected nonprofits by describing them as “white supremacist”, “eugenicist”, “anti-Semitic”, and “anti-Catholic.” In its reprimand the DOJ says it is troubled by the conduct of SPLC lawyer Christopher Strawn and that his conduct “overstepped the bounds of zealous advocacy and was unprofessional.” Furthermore, SPLC made “uncivil comments that disparaged FAIR and its staff,” the rebuke states, adding that the language constitutes frivolous behavior and doesn’t aid in the administration of justice.

The Obama administration kept the reprimand confidential and asked FAIR and IRLI to keep it under wraps. In the meantime, SPLC continues to publicly trash the groups and escalate attacks against them by putting them on the official hate list. The executive director and general counsel of IRLI, Dale Wilcox, says his nonprofit and FAIR will keep fighting for immigration policies that put America first. “The SPLC’s latest tactic in its never-ending witch-hunt and the federal government’s resulting reprimand should send the following message to the mainstream media,” Wilcox said: “Stop using the SPLC as a legitimate hate-watch source in your news coverage. That a cabal of biased list-keepers can play such an important role in distorting the immigration debate in this country is testament to the utter failure of much of the mainstream media which frequently publishes their inflammatory commentary and refuses to question their baseless methods or financial motivations.”

Polls Show Popular Support for Trump Order on Refugees

Two polls -- both conducted since last weekend's news coverage of protests against Pres. Trump's Jan. 27 executive order -- show that significantly more Americans support the President's order to pause the refugee program for four months than oppose it.

A Rasmussen Poll, conducted from Jan. 31-Feb. 1 found that 52% of likely voters support the action compared to 43% who oppose.

Meanwhile, a daily tracking poll by Reuters/Ipsos, conducted from Jan.31-Feb. 2, found that 48% support compared to 42% who oppose.

Both polls are consistent with public opinion measured before Pres. Trump signed the order. A Rasmussen poll taken after the executive order was leaked to the press, but before Pres. Trump signed it, found that the majority of Americans support a pause. A poll conducted by Quinnipiac in early-January also found that more Americans support a pause in immigration from terror hot spots than those who oppose.

These are the only polls taken after the weekend that have been made public.

Rasmussen's question added more context, helping to explain why it found majority support for the order. The question noted that the pause is only for four months and the purpose is to implement a better system for vetting refugees.

"The federal government has banned refugees from all countries from entering the United States for the next four months until there is a better system in place to keep out individuals who are terrorist threats. Do you favor or oppose such a ban?"

The Reuters/Ipsos poll asked about both the pause on refugees and the pause on visas from seven countries identified as hot spots for terror. But the question posed the visa pause as a religious test -- mentioning Muslims -- rather than describing the actual reason the seven countries were chosen. The poll still found more support than opposition, but not as much as the Rasmussen poll.

"Do you agree or disagree with the Executive Order that President Trump signed blocking refugees and banning people from seven Muslim majority countries from entering the U.S.?"

The Reuters poll is a daily tracking poll using a five-day rolling average. In each of its three releases, the number of Americans who support the order outnumber those who oppose.

CHRIS CHMIELENSKI is the Director of Content & Activism for NumbersUSA


 

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