Last night, President Donald J. Trump delivered his first State of the Union address. Here are five key takeaways:
- Trump’s agenda is working. The historic tax cuts and regulatory relief are beginning to work and our economy is turning around.
- Fixing our immigration system. President Trump is showing real leadership get something done to fix this broken system.
- Moving at a business pace. President Trump is going to apply his successful, on time & under budget track record to rebuilding our infrastructure.
- Leveling the playing field. Free trade is critical for our economy, but it has to be fair.
- Investing in the military, reengaging with the world. President Trump is committed to working with our allies and protecting our homeland.
This was an optimistic message that all Americans needed to hear.
Together, we will build a Safe, Strong, and Proud America.
*65% want a DACA deal with strong border security.
*68% oppose the visa lottery.
*79% want secure borders, not open borders.
The #SchumerShutdown is absolutely ridiculous. It is completely irresponsible for Senate Democrats to use government funding as a bargaining tool. Democrats have created a false crisis by trying to tie illegal immigration to funding the federal government.
These are two totally different issues and should be handled separately. Ever since I was sworn into the United States Senate, I have been focused on fixing the budgeting process. Only 4 times in the past 43 years has the current budget process funded the federal government on time. These repeated failures have manifested into a pattern of short-term funding patches, continuing resolutions, that hurt our military. This short-term mentality in Washington has to stop.
Clearly, Congress’ funding mechanism does not work and will never work. We are doomed to repeat this cycle of fiscal irresponsibility until Congress reworks this budget process to successfully meet its Constitutional responsibility of funding the federal government.
Any DACA Deal Must Include An End To Chain Migration
By Senators David Perdue, Tom Cotton, and Chuck Grassley
If Congress and the president don’t reach an immigration deal in the next two months, more than 690,000 young DACA recipients will lose their temporary work permits and protections from deportation. Nobody wants to see that happen. Most of these young people were brought to this country through no fault of their own, and they relied on President Obama’s executive actions.
We have great sympathy for these young men and women, and we have an opportunity now to pass legislation that protects them and prevents similar uncertainty in the future. However, hastily passing a clean bill that doesn’t solve the underlying problem will only encourage more illegal immigration and is no way to accomplish this goal.
Any steps we take to address the status of DACA recipients must be structured to prevent this same legal limbo down the road. That’s why any meaningful immigration deal must, among other things, put an end to chain migration.
Chain migration is one of the biggest problems in our immigration system today. Current law allows legal permanent residents and American citizens to sponsor both their immediate and extended family members for immigration to the United States. In other words, our system prioritizes people based on their family ties, instead of their ability to contribute to our nation’s economic well-being. For some categories, like spouses, minor children, elderly and disabled parents, this makes sense. Family is the bedrock of our society, and immediate families should be together.
But unlike other advanced industrialized countries, our nation also gives preferences to the extended family members of citizens. While well intentioned, this policy has had some unfortunate consequences. This policy has spurred a wave of mostly unskilled immigration into our country. Today, only one in 15 of the more than 1 million immigrants who are admitted every year are given a visa because of their job skills or entrepreneurial ability. The other 14 immigrants are admitted without regard to their skills. That means that every year we are admitting hundreds of thousands of workers with almost no consideration for the impact their immigration will have on American jobs and wages. That is one of the reasons why polling has shown that over 70 percent of Americans favor limiting chain migration to only the spouses and minor children of legal permanent residents and citizens.
This policy puts downward pressure on the wages of people who toil with their hands, who work on their feet. Americans with high school-level educations have seen their wages fall by 2 percent since the 1970s, while inflation has made the cost of living even higher. For Americans who haven’t finished high school, it’s even worse. Their wages have fallen by nearly 20 percent.
This trend will only get worse if Congress grants legal status to DACA recipients without ending chain migration. Simply doing this without changing our nation’s immigration laws will encourage low-skilled parents from around the world to illegally immigrate to this country with their small children in hopes of obtaining citizenship. And once they and their children receive citizenship, other extended family members will follow, continuing a never-ending cycle of falling wages and mass migration.
That’s why it’s imperative that any final bill eliminate the preferences for extended family members. This change can help avert the adverse economic repercussions.
Several of our colleagues have recently suggested that any fix to chain migration should only eliminate immigration preferences for a very narrow category of individuals: the adult, unmarried children of legal permanent residents. But such a limited change to immigration preferences wouldn’t even end chain migration for this category of individuals. It would merely delay it.
We support policy that is pro-family, pro-growth, and pro-legal immigration. But we cannot let an opportunity to adopt a more worker-focused policy pass us by. Doing so only guarantees that we will be forced to address this very same issue at a later date. And in the meantime, American workers will bear the brunt of our inaction.
The only way to start that process, and to stop the influx of low-skilled immigrants, is to end chain migration. This change is crucial, and any immigration deal must include it.
Read more in The Hill.
Stop Gambling With National Security & End The Visa Lottery
By Sen. David Perdue
NBC News Think
This visa lottery is tainted by fraud and abuse, and has been identified as a national security risk for years. The suspect in October’s terrorist attack in New York City used the federal government-run green card lottery to enter the United States, showing again that there is no doubt that it should be eliminated.
Since the lottery was enacted in 1990, the federal government has naively doled out approximately 50,000 green-cards annually at random to foreign nationals from countries with lower levels of overall immigration to the United States. The lottery by design makes few, if any, allowances for an individual’s country of origin, even if the country is identified by the State Department as a sponsor of terrorism. It also has no criteria for previous ties to the United States.
This recent terrorist attack is not the first time the issues with the visa lottery have been called into question; reports of fraud and security risks go back years. In 2003, a State Department Inspector General said “identity fraud is endemic, and fraudulent documents are commonplace.” That year alone, 364,000 lottery applications were duplicates. The Government Accountability Office also sounded the alarm in 2007, noting the “widespread use of fake documents… presented challenges when verifying the identities of applicants and dependents.” Still the lottery remained intact.
Another Inspector General report in 2013 indicated that organized fraud rings masquerading as travel agencies had taken control of applications for the program in Ukraine, entering as much as 80 percent of the population of western Ukraine in the lottery and then extorting those who won both before and after they immigrated. The report recommended “urgent attention and corrective action from Washington.”
It is hardly an understatement to say that fraud has become a feature of this lottery, not an anomaly. That is, unequivocally, a national security risk.
The State Department says that, over the last decade, nearly 29,000 visas were given to citizens from the three countries — Iran, Syria and Sudan — that the agency then listed as state sponsors of terrorism. Iran alone was the third largest recipient of lottery visas in 2016.
These numbers are particularly concerning since the State Department has warned that the lottery “contains significant threats to national security as hostile intelligence officers, criminals, and terrorists attempt to use it to enter the United States as permanent residents.” Beyond the New York terrorist, at least five foreign nationals with suspected ties to terrorism have entered the country via the lottery or the program which preceded its passage.
Fortunately, there has been bipartisan support in Congress to end the green-card lottery. The Jordan Commission, headed by Democratic Congresswoman Barbara Jordan and supported by former President Bill Clinton, proposed scrapping the lottery in 1995. Eighteen years later, every single Democrat in the U.S. Senate — including Chuck Schumer, its original architect — voted to end the lottery as part of a broader immigration reform package.
The Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) Act that Senator Tom Cotton and I have introduced would eliminate the green-card lottery and move us to a merit-based immigration system. This model is heavily based on the immigration systems in Australia and Canada, which have welcomed the best and brightest from around the world for decades.
America is one of the most welcoming countries in the world for immigrants. We simply want an immigration system that keeps Americans safe. The green-card lottery is a failure on all fronts.
It is time to eliminate this outdated program, and implement an immigration system that helps grow our economy while protecting our country.
Read more at NBC Think.