Trump's chain-im­mi­gra­tion plan takes aim at Asia

The Pak Banker - - FRONT PAGE - Noah Smith

big­gest users of fam­ily pref­er­ence im­mi­gra­tion -one kind of le­gal im­mi­gra­tion that Trump would mostly do away with: Num­ber of peo­ple by re­gion ob­tain­ing law­ful per­ma­nent res­i­dent sta­tus through fam­ily-spon­sored pref­er­ences in 2016.

With­out fam­ily-re­uni­fi­ca­tion im­mi­gra­tion, there would still be many His­panic Amer­i­cans and black Amer­i­cans, but there wouldn't be nearly so many Asian Amer­i­cans. Com­bined, fam­ily pref­er­ence and im­me­di­ate fam­ily im­mi­gra­tion (which in­cludes spouses, mi­nor chil­dren, and par­ents) ac­counts for a very large per­cent of the growth of Asian mi­nori­ties.

If adult chil­dren, par­ents and sib­lings of US cit­i­zens were barred from im­mi­grat­ing, as un­der Trump's plan, the growth of Asian Amer­ica would slow dra­mat­i­cally. The slow­down would be even worse than th­ese graphs show, be­cause some highly skilled em­ployer-spon­sored im­mi­grants would refuse to come work in the coun­try if they couldn't bring their el­derly par­ents with them.

That would cer­tainly be a slap in the face to Asian Amer­i­cans, since many would take the re­stric­tion as a dec­la­ra­tion that they are un­de­sir­able as a group. What's more, to re­pu­di­ate fam­ily­based im­mi­gra­tion is tan­ta­mount to wish­ing that Asian Amer­ica as we now know it had never come into ex­is­tence. Though high-skilled im­mi­grants come from all re­gions of the globe, and all have been suc­cess­ful in the U.S., the achieve­ments of Asian Amer­i­cans are par­tic­u­larly well-known. De­spite lan­guage bar­ri­ers and lack of lo­cal ties, Asian Amer­i­cans tend to be eco­nom­i­cally suc­cess­ful, com­par­ing fa­vor­ably to the Nor­we­gian im­mi­grants Trump de­clared he wanted.

Asian Amer­i­cans also have per­sis­tently lower un­em­ploy­ment rates than white Amer­i­cans, and their av­er­age wealth has been in­creas­ing rapidly. Be­yond th­ese blunt eco­nomic statis­tics, Asian Amer­i­cans have con­trib­uted to the fab­ric of Amer­i­can so­ci­ety in count­less key ways -- start­ing com­pa­nies such as YouTube, Ya­hoo and NVIDIA; in­vent­ing the birth con­trol pill and AIDS treat­ment; di­rect­ing Hol­ly­wood movies; serv­ing in the U.S. Sen­ate; and help­ing de­feat the coun­try's en­e­mies on the bat­tle­field. And those are only a few fa­mous in­di­vid­u­als -- there are many more, in ad­di­tion to the count­less less fa­mous Asian Amer­i­cans who have added in a mil­lion small pos­i­tive ways to the fab­ric of the coun­try. Mean­while, this new group of peo­ple been in­te­grat­ing rapidly and deeply into Amer­i­can so­ci­ety -- 46 per­cent of U.S.-born Asian Amer­i­cans in­ter­marry with Amer­i­cans of other back­grounds.

The point here is not to glo­rify Asian Amer­i­cans over other im­mi­grant groups, or to im­ply that only fa­mous or high-earn­ing in­di­vid­u­als con­trib­ute to Amer­ica. The point here is merely to il­lus­trate one clear ex­am­ple of a case where "chain mi­gra­tion" added some­thing spe­cial to the U.S. that wouldn't even ex­ist oth­er­wise.

When Miller and Trump say the words "chain mi­gra­tion," you shouldn't imag­ine a face­less horde of in­vaders com­ing to claim wel­fare ben­e­fits and live off of the largesse of the na­tive-born. In­stead, you should imag­ine all the good and noble hu­man be­ings who have made Amer­ica what it is to­day - - the moth­ers and fa­thers, the work­ers and in­ven­tors, the good neigh­bors and friends. Be­fore chang­ing the coun­try's im­mi­gra­tion sys­tem, we should stop and re­flect on all the real ben­e­fits we wouldn't have with­out it.

Fam­ily re­uni­fi­ca­tion has been one of

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