An immigration expert says President Donald Trump’s pledge to transform the country’s legal immigration system into one based on merit and skills is a maneuver the U.S. “desperately needs.”
In a piece for The Huffington Post, Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) Executive Director Bob Dane explains that Trump’s potential merit-based immigration overhaul would mean an end to the current system which favors immigrants who already have family in the U.S.:
Today, the U.S. remains a meritocracy in many respects, but not in one notable area: its immigration system. This is why President Donald Trump’s call for an immigration policy overhaul ― in favor of applicants whose skills and talents are most likely to benefit the country ― is so important. Such a merit-based policy would be a radical departure from the way we now select immigrants but one our nation desperately needs. We should not let history hold us back any longer.
For the last half century, America has maintained an immigration policy that can only be described as codified nepotism. Of the approximately 1 million new immigrants who are legally admitted to the United States each year via green cards, about 60 percent enter for no other reason than that they have a relative ― in most cases a recently settled immigrant ― living in this country. Only about 15 percent of immigrants are admitted because of their skills, while the remainder are admitted on humanitarian grounds.
Dane says the current system of family chain migration ends up a drain on American taxpayers, as they must foot the bill, writing “In 2012, more than half of immigrant-headed households in the United States relied on at least one welfare program, compared with 30 percent of households headed by a native-born citizen, according to a report based on data from the Census Bureau’s Survey of Income and Program Participation.”
Trump, according to Dane, should focus on creating a merit-based immigration policy where only immigrants who have a high likelihood to succeed are admitted, as this would be in the national interest:
All prospective immigrants to the U.S. should be evaluated based on objective criteria. These include education, job skills and English proficiency. Admission should be granted to those who are most likely to be net contributors to our economy, complement our existing labor force and successfully assimilate into the mainstream of American society. The criteria for admission must also be fluid, understanding that the needs of the country and our economy change over time.
Dane also blasts the infamous open borders advocate’s favorite catchphrase “We are a nation of immigrants” in his call for immigration policy to move forward instead of sticking with past measures.
The ballooning population of the U.S., driven largely by legal immigration, is troublesome, as Dane argues, because it “is ecologically and socially unsustainable and serves no national interest.” Dane says he would like to an immigration system which is capped below 550,000 new immigrants a year.
Instead of the current system of extended family chain migration, where relatives to immigrants living in the U.S. are given priority over others, Dane says immigration should be scaled back to focus on not only skills, but on nuclear families, which solely include parents and their children.
Family-based immigration should be limited to nuclear families. People who choose to immigrate to the United States are making the decision to live apart from their extended families. There should be no reasonable expectation on the part of people who immigrate to the U.S. that our laws will guarantee them the right to have their entire extended families join them here. Moreover, in an age of modern communications and relatively affordable travel, extended family connections can be maintained without chain migration.
Dane’s support for Trump’s pledge of a merit-based immigration system is just the latest endorsement the President has received. As Breitbart Texas reported, the majority of likely American voters say they want to see a merit-based immigration system, rather than the current family chain migration system.
Other immigration experts like NumbersUSA President Roy Beck and the Center for Immigration Studies Director Mark Krikorian have praised Trump’s call for a merit-based immigration system, Breitbart Texas reported.
“We were thrilled to hear the President once again place struggling American workers at center stage in the rationale for strong immigration enforcement,” Beck said at the time. “The best news for workers was the President’s insistence that legal immigration must be reformed so it will stop depressing wages.”
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart Texas. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.