Trump and Graham Tag Team Immigration Reform
Trump and Graham Tag Team Immigration Reform
A lazy Congress that refuses to undertake comprehensive immigration reform, balks at Trump’s latest plan, before it is officially shared. Today in a Rose Garden ceremony, President Trump is expected to share details of a plan focused on legal immigration reforms. Applied in conjunction with Lindsey Graham’s latest plan, it is a two pronged approach to correcting our off balance policies.
Trump’s immigration plan, formulated by Jared Kushner, focuses on legal immigration in visa policies. The current number of visas will remain set, but reset the percentages in each category. According to NBC,
… the U.S. would award the same number of green cards as it now does. But far more would go to exceptional students so they can remain in the country after graduation, professionals and people with high-level and vocational degrees. Factors such as age, English language ability and employment offers would also be taken into account. Far fewer green cards would be given to people with relatives already in the U.S. and 57% versus the current 12% would be awarded based on merit. The diversity visa lottery, which offers green cards to citizens of countries with historically low rates of immigration to the U.S., would be eliminated. Officials insisted diversity would be addressed in other ways.”
America has a generous legal immigration policy, annually admitting more than 1,000,000 lawful permanent residents. One million people a year. America admits immigrants who are relatives of current residents, refugees, and recipients of the diversity visa lottery.
The most diverse country in the world has an annual randomized lottery for 50,000 new residents, from areas with low immigration rates. The immigration process allows for the immediate family to accompany the winner of a diversity visa. The family members are not counted in the 50,000 total visas.
“But CC, the USA grants a MILLION visas, and you cited 50,000!” I’m so glad you asked. The 810,000 visas are granted to relatives of lawful permanent residents (Green Card holders), and refugees. The only requirement for this visa is an eligible relative legally residing in the United Sates.
Oh, but wait, there are still 140,000 visa slots! Yes, these visas are reserved for people who meet the the following qualifications , “Persons with extraordinary ability”, “Outstanding professors and researchers”, “Multinational managers or executives.”
Realigning the visas in each category is an excellent way to ensure that America’s newest legal residents are in a position to succeed on their own merits. It also serves to maintain a positive balance of educated citizens, who will continue to propel America to the forefront of innovation and technology.
In ways we have come to expect, some Democrat lawmakers are preemptively waving their “RESIST!!” banner. Senator Chuck Schumer said,
“If they want to get bipartisan legislation, do what we did with the Gang of Eight. Don’t come up with a plan that Stephen Miller rubber stamps and say, now pass it. It’s not going to happen.”
Immigration advocates raised both banners, and outright detest the plan. Lisa Koop of the National Immigrant Justice Center says,
“A plan that forces families apart, limits access to asylum and other humanitarian relief, and doesn’t contemplate a path to citizenship for DACA recipients and other undocumented community members is clearly a political stunt intended to posture rather than problem-solve,”
“Clearly” because the plan came from Trump’s White House, and doesn’t address the illegal immigrants (including DACA) already in America, it is entirely terrible. Let’s recognize that part of “comprehensive immigration reform” is fixing the legal loopholes that allow for massive chain migration at the cost of truly exceptional immigrants.
Trump’s plan will likely call for a reduction, not elimination, of the family based immigrant visa path. By eliminating the “lottery” pathway, there are an additional 50,000 slots to offset the changes to the current program. It’s inconceivable that increasing the number of highly desirable legal immigrants is a point of contention in the Democrats caucus.
Lindsey Graham is focusing on the illegal immigration from Central America. Highlights of his plan include:
- Asylum applications from residents of the Northern Triangle and contiguous countries would be filed at refugee processing centers – not in the United States. These centers would be established in the Northern Triangle and Mexico.
- Modify U.S. law to allow families to be held together up to 100 days in the United States while making their asylum claims – up from the current 20 day limit.
- 500 new immigration judges to reduce the backlog of cases.
- Unaccompanied minors (UAC) from Central America would be treated the same as minors from Canada and Mexico. This allows the United States to return all UAC to their country of origin after screening.
Current policy for unaccompanied minors (UAC), and family units encourages a dangerous journey. As Senator Graham states in his press release, “Word is out on the streets in Central America that if you bring a child with you – regardless of whether or not it is actually your child – America’s laws can be manipulated to allow you to stay in the United States.”
This means a “family unit” is held in detention, given a date years away for an immigration hearing, and then released into the USA.
The number of verdicts issued In Absentia is climbing. Meaning, people are not showing up to hear their case disposition:
Border Patrol’s apprehension numbers are off the charts. Nearly 520,000 people have been apprehended on the SW border this FY. In the past 7 days, agents have averaged 4,500+ arrests per day. USBP has already surpassed the TOTAL SW border apprehensions of every FY since 2009. pic.twitter.com/HNjgwOqKHY
— CBP (@CBP) May 15, 2019
Senator Graham’s plan to increase family unit holding time will undoubtedly meet challenges in the courts. Especially if DHS wants to change their policy,
In 2014, DHS increased detention facilities for arriving alien families and held families pending the outcome of immigration proceedings. However, a federal judge ruled in 2016 that under the Flores Settlement Agreement, minors detained as part of a family unit cannot be detained in unlicensed facilities for longer than a presumptively reasonable period of 20 days, at which point, such minors must be released or transferred to a licensed facility. Because most jurisdictions do not offer licensure for family residential centers, DHS rarely holds family units for longer than 20 days. The judge’s ruling made it much more difficult for the Federal government to use the detention authorities Congress gave it.
If they can clear the likely Judicial hurdle, popular opinion may be in favor of Graham’s plan. The massive influx of migrants is throwing border communities into chaos, and they are unable to manage the unrelenting waves of migrants. The public is increasingly aware that human trafficking often includes sexual violence against the migrants, and increased risk of forced sex work to “pay off debts.” UAC are at the highest risk from the smugglers. By returning the UAC to their home country, it will discourage the risky practice of sending children over thousands of miles with predators.
Meanwhile, DHS is maximizing their social media presence to their advantage by sharing pictures of the illegal cargo coming across our borders. Hopefully the obstinate Democrats will open their eyes long enough to end the suffering of the migrants, and stop the increased boldness of the smugglers.
#BorderPatrol agents at an immigration checkpoint in Laredo rescued 120 illegal aliens–including 11 juveniles–locked in the back of a tractor trailer. Details: https://t.co/ACwHBErYxT pic.twitter.com/n8qHvgvgFl
— CBP (@CBP) May 16, 2019
Featured Image Credit: John Hood, Caltrans graphic artist Licensed Under: Free Public Domain Image cropped 400×400, altered by author