A good start on im­mi­gra­tion re­form

The pres­i­dent en­dorses the com­mon-sense Cot­ton-Per­due Act

The Washington Times Daily - - EDITORIAL -

Why en­act a law or write an ex­ec­u­tive or­der to re­form a bro­ken im­mi­gra­tion sys­tem when a poem will do? Pres­i­dent Trump en­dorsed new im­mi­gra­tion leg­is­la­tion Wed­nes­day, mov­ing to a mer­it­based sys­tem, and it was greeted with pre­dictable cries and squeals from ad­vo­cates of open bor­ders.

Two Repub­li­can sen­a­tors, Tom Cot­ton of Arkansas and David Per­due of Ge­or­gia, joined the pres­i­dent at the White House to an­nounce that they have been work­ing with the ad­min­is­tra­tion to re­vise and ex­pand leg­is­la­tion in­tro­duced ear­lier this year that would re­duce by half the num­ber of im­mi­grants who would re­ceive le­gal per­ma­nent res­i­dence over the next decade.

The two sen­a­tors said their leg­is­la­tion would move the United States to a merit-based im­mi­gra­tion sys­tem and away from the cur­rent model, which is geared to ap­prov­ing ap­pli­cants with fam­ily mem­bers al­ready in the United States. It’s a model rife with fraud, de­ceit, swin­dle and chaos.

The pres­i­dent said the leg­is­la­tion would be the most sig­nif­i­cant re­form to the bro­ken U.S. im­mi­gra­tion sys­tem in a half-cen­tury. “As a can­di­date,” he said, “I cam­paigned on cre­at­ing a merit-based sys­tem that pro­tects U.S. work­ers and tax­pay­ers and that’s why we’re here to­day.” He said the changes would “re­duce poverty, in­crease wages and save tax­pay­ers bil­lions and bil­lions of dol­lars.”

The leg­is­la­tion would elim­i­nate im­mi­gra­tion pref­er­ences now ex­tended to fam­ily mem­bers and adult chil­dren of Amer­i­can cit­i­zens seek­ing green cards, and would cap the num­ber of refugees ac­cepted at 50,000, half of the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s tar­get for this year. The State De­part­ment’s so-called di­ver­sity lot­tery, which the sen­a­tors say is “plagued with fraud,” would be elim­i­nated.

Con­ser­va­tive ad­vo­cacy groups say the leg­is­la­tion — of­fi­cially called the Re­form­ing Amer­i­can Im­mi­gra­tion for a Strong Econ­omy Act, or RAISE — will smooth a path­way for a smarter im­mi­gra­tion sys­tem and pro­tect Amer­i­can work­ers. The Cot­tonPer­due bill, says Roy Beck, pres­i­dent of Num­bers USA, will “do more than any other ac­tion to ful­fill Mr. Trump’s cam­paign pledges on im­mi­gra­tion.”

Stephen Miller, the se­nior White House pol­icy ad­viser, got in a rau­cous ex­change with re­porters when he ex­plained the pres­i­dent’s goals to a press con­fer­ence at the White House. Jim Acosta of CNN, a fre­quent player in the Gotcha Game at the White House, ac­cused the ad­min­is­tra­tion of vi­o­lat­ing the Emma Lazarus poem in­scribed on the base of the Statue of Lib­erty in New York har­bor.

“What the pres­i­dent is propos­ing here does not sound like it’s in keep­ing with Amer­i­can tra­di­tion when it comes to im­mi­gra­tion,” he said. “The Statue of Lib­erty says, ‘give me your tired, your poor, your hud­dled masses.’ It doesn’t say any­thing about speak­ing English or be a com­puter pro­gram. Aren’t you try­ing to change what it means to be an im­mi­grant com­ing into this coun­try if you are telling them you have to speak English?”

Mr. Acosta makes the mis­take that many apol­o­gists for open bor­ders make. Sen­ti­ment is nice, but no one has a right to come to Amer­ica (or to go to any other coun­try), and every na­tion has the right to set down its own ideas about who comes here, and how. Ap­pli­cants could legally be re­quired to dye their hair green, learn English, and have a ba­sic un­der­stand­ing of U.S. his­tory and gov­ern­ment, as in­deed all ap­pli­cants must do to be­come Amer­i­can cit­i­zens. (Green hair is op­tional.) There just was not enough space on the base of the Statue of Lib­erty to get all that down.

Amer­ica will al­ways be a na­tion of im­mi­grants; it’s in our DNA. Im­mi­grants will al­ways be wel­come, just not ev­ery­body all at once. Amer­ica is the land of op­por­tu­nity, with har­mony and good or­der. That’s why im­mi­grants want to come here. We owe it to prospec­tive im­mi­grants, as well as to our chil­dren and grand­chil­dren, to keep it that way.

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