Take Pres­i­dent Trump’s im­mi­gra­tion plan se­ri­ously

Calhoun Times - - OBITUARIES -

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has done some­thing that has eluded the Repub­li­can Party for nearly a decade: He has out­lined the pos­si­bil­ity of broad im­mi­gra­tion re­form.

Trump’s im­mi­gra­tion frame­work is far from per­fect. But the fact that it is be­ing crit­i­cized by the ex­treme wing of his party should be taken as a sign of hope that we may just have a ba­sis for bi­par­ti­san dis­cus­sion. For this rea­son, Democrats should treat the pro­posal with more se­ri­ous­ness ( and less de­ri­sion) than they have to date.

To be sure, there’s plenty wrong with Trump’s frame­work — his in­sis­tence on wast­ing $ 25 bil­lion for a wall sys­tem, in par­tic­u­lar, and the veiled curbs on asy­lum. But in other ways the plan is an ad­vance. For the Dream­ers, any­thing less than a path to cit­i­zen­ship would be deeply un­fair. And, in prin­ci­ple, it makes good eco­nomic sense, as Trump pro­poses, to re­place the U. S. em­pha­sis on fam­ily re­uni­fi­ca­tion with rules ad­dressed to short­ages of la­bor.

Trump’s sug­gested lim­i­ta­tions on fam­ily spon­sor­ships echo the rec­om­men­da­tions of ear­lier blue- rib­bon com­mis­sions and aren’t as harsh as they would have been be­fore travel and telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions be­came more af­ford­able. ( A new skills- based sys­tem could also grant extra points to those with ex­tended fam­ily re­la­tion­ships.) The end of the di­ver­sity- visa lot­tery pro­gram is over­due — un­less, that is, you’re a be­liever in cit­i­zen­ship bingo.

A cru­cial ques­tion, though, is how far these changes would af­fect im­mi­gra­tion in the ag­gre­gate. It’s one thing to tilt the balance away from fam­ily spon­sor­ships to eco­nomic cri­te­ria, quite an­other to seek a sys­tem that clamps down on le­gal im­mi­gra­tion as a whole — a woe­fully mis­guided strat­egy, es­pe­cially at a time when Amer­i­can in­dus­tries and busi­nesses are hun­gry for qual­i­fied work­ers. The im­pli­ca­tions of the plan for over­all im­mi­gra­tion would de­pend on the nu­mer­i­cal caps that the ad­min­is­tra­tion would go on to set and ex­actly how it would han­dle the back­log of al­most 4 mil­lion fam­ily- spon­sored visas.

The ad­min­is­tra­tion’s in­ten­tions on this score are sus­pect. None­the­less, start­ing from here, a good- faith bi­par­ti­san ef­fort could re­solve those is­sues.

It needs to be em­pha­sized that in a halfde­cent world, the fate of the Dream­ers wouldn’t even be up for de­bate. Sadly, though, it has been. If a prag­matic con­sen­sus can be reached on a just res­o­lu­tion of that issue, to­gether with new rules for le­gal im­mi­gra­tion to pro­vide the work­ers the coun­try needs, it de­serves to be em­braced. Whether he in­tended it or not, Trump’s pro­posal just might be a nudge in the right di­rec­tion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.