Immigration for some ends with naturalization at Mammoth Springs
(Flickr/Yellowstone National Park) Naturalization Ceremony

Immigration cuts and bans are part of the agenda for Trump and some Republicans.

Yesterday, Trump backed a bill to cut legal immigration. This effort could be seen as the third track of his efforts to deter foreigners from coming to the United States.

Early in his term, Trump began the anti-immigration plan’s first track. This was a Travel Ban or Muslim Ban. Executive orders tried to prevent people of six Muslim countries from coming to the United States.

After court battles over the executive orders, the administration declared a victory. However, it was more of a draw. Most people from these countries could still come to the US.

Under John Kelly, the Department of Homeland Security began indiscriminately deporting many immigrants. Undocumented immigrants and immigrants who had committed felonies were particularly vulnerable in this second track.

Yesterday’s third track against immigration, the RAISE bill, seeks to cut the number of legal immigrants substantially.

Cutting Legal Immigration: RAISE bill

The RAISE bill seeks to halve the number of legal immigrants over the next decade. It tries to do this through a series of measures.

First, it would cut the number of green cards to over 500,000. This is about half the amount issued annually.

Second, it would cut family-based immigration. Spouses and children under 18 would be prioritized.

Third, it would kill the “diversity visa” program. Under this program, annually 50,000 people from under-represented countries in the migration stream get to come to the US.

Fourth, the bill would cut the number of refugees by more than half. The numbers would go from 110,000 to 50,000 annually.

Fifth, the current employment-based green card system would change to a points-based system. The points would consider education, age, English ability, future salary, investments, and achievements.

Immigration bills like the RAISE bill are bait-and-switch efforts to mask anti-immigrant tendencies. Also, like the other anti-immigration tracks, the RAISE bill’s rationale is faulty.

Immigration Slashing: Faulty Rationale

For President Trump, the bill would “reduce poverty, increase wages, and save taxpayers billions and billions of dollars.” Left unstated is the premise that there will be less non-white people who speak languages other than English.

Alex Nowrasthe has written forceful critiques of the RAISE bill, here and here. He termed the act as “grossly deceptive marketing.”

Anti-immigration measures are often cloaked as ways to protect the American worker. However, automation and the Internet may be even more of a threat to US jobs. This is particularly true for those workers which immigration bills like RAISE purport to protect.

Most studies find that immigration has a positive effect on the economy. Indeed, immigration has prevented the United States from aging like Florida.

Realism is also missing in the RAISE Act. Green card applicants have to wait for years – sometimes decades – to get the coveted cards. Further cuts will just add pressure to the system.

Further, more non-white and non-Christian people will come in under the skills-based system. People from China and India received 82 percent of the skills-based H-1B visas last year. This is exactly the opposite of what Trump and those of his ilk want.

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