Now, this is immigration reform
Augusta Chronicle Editorial Board
August 4, 2017
The liberal elite such as those at CNN quote Emma Lazarus’ poem as if it’s one of our nation’s founding documents.
It’s a poem.
Wouldn’t it be marvelous if they were as passionate about our actual founding documents? They like to shrug that the Constitution is a quasi-relevant “living document” whose words can be bent to whatever shape the current generation likes. Oddly, they never say that about Lazarus’ prose.
Instead, in almost partisan pushback Wednesday against a proposed immigration policy that simply puts American interests forward, CNN’s Jim Acosta accosted Trump administration aide Stephen Miller about how the policy would somehow violate Lazarus’ – um, poem – The New Colossusinscribed on the Statue of Liberty.
Make no mistake, the sonnet’s flowing notions are a lovely sentiment and ideal – one that this page ascribes to and which, truth be known, America has lived up to – to a fault. Miller notes that the foreign-born population coming into the U.S. has quadrupled since 1970.
We have led the league in immigration, and certainly in the illegal kind, and have strained our ability to absorb it all, particularly since so many immigrants have been low-skilled, low-income workers who have depressed wages and have been prime candidates for government aid. And in the age of terror, we have done so at great risk to our own safety.
It’s a wonder there aren’t cracks on Lady Liberty’s shoulders.
Acosta’s diatribe – argumentative, interruping and sanctimonious, rather than merely inquisitive – objected to reducing immigration, though he offered no specific target number that would please him or the Statue of Liberty. And he seemed to imply that requiring English proficiency is somehow mean, when in reality it’s the furthest thing from compassion to encourage immigrants not to learn the dominant language in their new country. It’s also required for citizenship.
Yet bizarrely, Acosta appeared to equate the English language with a race – that we are now only going to allow in people from England and Australia and “engineer” a “racial and ethnic flow of people into this country.”
What world-class ignorance. People all over the world speak English; it is the unofficial language of world commerce. Nearly 60 countries in the world have enshrined English as their official language (though, interestingly, we have not). But it’s racist to expect new Americans to speak it? Good grief.
This is the uphill battle our leaders must fight against the political correctness cops in the media. But most Americans have to be thankful they’re fighting it: 72 percent favor tight restrictions on immigration. Heaven forbid we institute an American policy that actually benefits America.
We’re proud that Georgia Sen. David Perdue is in the forefront of this, along with Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, helping lead the charge for an orderly, thoughtful, merit-based legal immigration system that actually takes America’s best interests into consideration: The “Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy” (RAISE) Act would take into account what skills America needs and what skills, including language, prospective immigrants would bring with them.
This isn’t the end of the world. It isn’t “overturning” Lazarus. As Perdue notes, currently only 1 out of 15 immigrants come here with a marketable skill.
All we’re asking is to tip the scales a little back toward America’s interests.
Read more here.
Poll: Voters Support Trump-backed Immigration Plan
by Steven Shepard, Politico
Voters support most elements of President Donald Trump’s proposal to scale back legal immigration to the United States and change the criteria by which the U.S. admits immigrants, according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll.
Trump last week announced support for a bill introduced by Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.) that would favor worker skills over family connections and reduce legal immigration by half.
In defending the bill, White House adviser Stephen Miller cited the popularity of provisions of the bill in public opinion polling and predicted a wave of popular support for a bill that’s been long stalled in the Senate.
“Public support is so immense on this — if you just look at the polling data in many key battleground states across the country — that over time you’re going to see massive public push for this kind of legislation,” Miller said last week from the podium in the White House briefing room.
In general, more voters support most elements of the legislation than oppose them — but there are important distinctions.
Majorities back limiting the number of refugees offered permanent residency (58 percent) and establishing a “points system” that would award points based on criteria such as education, English proficiency and prospective salary in the U.S. (60 percent).
Support for some of the other provisions in the bill isn’t as strong but still exceeds opposition. Forty-eight percent of voters support reducing the number of legal immigrants by half over the next decade, compared to 39 percent who oppose that. On what Miller called “unlimited family chain migration,” 45 percent support ending the ability for U.S. citizens and permanent residents to petition to get extended family members green cards, while 39 percent oppose ending that.
As for English-language proficiency, 62 percent say it should be a factor in determining who should be allowed to immigrate legally.
“Even the more controversial provisions in this legislation receive support from a plurality of voters,” said Morning Consult co-founder and Chief Research Officer Kyle Dropp. “The reason for this is ostensibly that Republican support is more consolidated than Democratic opposition. For example, 73 percent of Republican voters support reducing the number of legal immigrants, compared to 57 percent of Democrats who oppose that idea.”
Still, the poll shows voters continue to believe in the value of legal immigration. Nearly two-thirds of voters, 66 percent, say legal immigrants “strengthen our country because of their hard work and talents” — more than three times the 20 percent who say that legal immigrants “are a burden on our country because they take our housing, health care and jobs.”
And 39 percent say greater emphasis should be placed on the job skills of an applicant for immigration, just slightly more than the 36 percent who say a greater emphasis should be placed on the applicant’s ties to family in the U.S.
The POLITICO/Morning Consult poll was conducted August 3-6. The poll surveyed 1,992 registered voters and carries a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points. NOTE: More details on the poll and its methodology can be found in these two documents — Toplines: http://politi.co/2vBT18w | Crosstabs: http://politi.co/2vN6Sct
Morning Consult is a nonpartisan media and technology company that provides data-driven research and insights on politics, policy and business strategy.
GOP Senator: ‘Newsflash for everybody,’ Trump is ‘being successful’
Kathryn Blackhurst, Lifezette
Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) offered a “news flash” to the Democrats, mainstream media and Never-Trump members of the Republican Party, saying during an interview Tuesday on “The Laura Ingraham Show” that President Donald Trump “is being successful” in the face of unprecedented obstacles.
Perdue, who co-sponsored the merit-based immigration RAISE Act with Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) last week, said there is a “disconnect inside the Republican caucus” and a “disconnection between the establishment in Washington and people back home.” Noting that members of his own party have criticized the Trump-backed RAISE Act and predicted its failure in a Senate where the GOP holds a 52-seat majority, Perdue said the party has reached “a moment of truth.”
“It is a perfect example, Laura, of what you speak about a lot. And that is the disconnection between the establishment in Washington and people back home,” he said. “People in Washington just can’t understand how Donald Trump got elected. Look, this guy is making great progress in the first six months. I mean, the results are overwhelming. If a Democrat were getting these kind of results, the press would be going crazy.”
“You know, and what we see here is bureaucrats in Washington and politicians who are saying, ‘Well, we’ll outlast this guy. You know, he’s not going to be successful.’ Well you know what, I’ve got a news flash for everybody: He is being successful,” Perdue added.
Noting that Trump reached his 200th day in office Monday, the Georgia senator said that consumer confidence has reached a 13-year high, and illegal southern border crosses have decreased by 60 percent under Trump’s administration, among other successes apart from Congress.
“[Trump’s] just getting started. And he’s fighting the media in Washington, and he’s fighting a lot of people in his own party, as evidenced by what happened recently in the Senate’s health care vote,” Perdue said, pointing to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) repeated failures to corral 50 of his 52 GOP senators into supporting various attempts to repeal and replace Obamacare.
“There’s a disconnect inside the Republican caucus. I mean, we have a Republican in the White House. We’re acting like it’s someone from another party on some of these issues,” he said. “And quite frankly, I think there are some people in our caucus who are sitting around waiting for him to fail. And that’s not good enough. We are at a moment of truth in America.”
This “moment of truth,” Perdue said, should be when conservative values are brought to the forefront of the national conversation and championed by the White House and the GOP majorities in both the House and the Senate.
“What we’ve come to, Laura, after a hundred years and certainly after eight years of the last president — we have proven over and over again that these great, sweeping liberal progressive programs have failed,” he said. “And now we’re at a moment of truth to prove possibly that the conservative values are the way to go. And yet we have people in our own caucus still debating those.”
As for the RAISE Act and the problem of corralling 50 U.S. senators into supporting immigration reform, Perdue noted that “the people in Congress, the people in Washington tend to go for these comprehensive, sweeping solutions to the entire thing. That’s never worked. It won’t work this time.”
“So all we’ve done is carved out the green card piece of immigration. That’s all we’ve done,” he said of the RAISE Act. “And so what we’ve done is modeled this after something that Canada and Australia have already proven worked over the last few decades, and it’s a merit-based system.”
For those balking GOP senators such as Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.), who have expressed their concerns over the RAISE Act’s merit-based qualifications, Perdue recommended that they actually read the bill first before bucking party lines and abandoning their Republican president’s legislative agenda.
Read the full story here.
Our Immigration Plan is Pro-Worker & Pro-Growth
by Sens. Tom Cotton and David Perdue
President Trump got big applause during a speech in Ohio when he called for fixing our immigration system. Instead of a “terrible system where anybody comes in,” the president advocated for a “merit-based system, one that protects our workers” and “our economy.”
According to polls, most Americans agree with him, but our outdated immigration laws do the opposite.
The basic principles of those laws haven’t been changed in over half a century, making them divorced from the needs of our economy, while also depressing working-class wages. That’s why we’ve introduced the Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy Act, which updates our immigration laws to attract more ultra-high-skilled workers — and give working-class families the raise they deserve.
The ideal immigration system should have three objectives. First, attract the young and highly skilled, since they provide the biggest boost to our economy. Second, seek out people who can integrate into American society most effectively. Third, give priority to uniting immediate families, since it’s better to give precious green cards to parents and their minor children rather than to fill out someone’s family tree with grown siblings and cousins.
Our current immigration system achieves none of these goals. Each year, the United States accepts around 1 million immigrants as legal permanent residents, which is twice our historical average. That’s like adding the population of Montana every year, but only one out of fifteen immigrate for employment reasons. The majority come here on family-based visas, without regard to their skills or our needs.
As a result, half of all immigrant households receive benefits from our social welfare system.
That’s not good for any American, but it has especially steep costs for people who work with their hands and on their feet for a living. Wages for Americans with only high-school diplomas have dropped by 2 percent since the late 1970s, and for those who didn’t finish high school, they’ve dropped by 17 percent. While the twin trends of automation and globalization have also strained working-class Americans, a steady supply of cheap, unskilled labor has as well. And immigration is the trend we can change most easily.
Our legislation would do just that by creating a skills-based points system similar to those used for decades in Canada and Australia. A points system identifies and attracts the world’s most-skilled immigrants. And by limiting the flood of low-skilled workers, it would encourage employers to hire, train and pay more to American workers already here.
The new system would have a two-step process.
First, potential immigrants would apply online to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and pay a $160 screening fee. They’d receive an immediate score, on a scale of 0 to 100, based on education, age, job, investment, extraordinary achievements and English-language ability.
Second, twice a year, USCIS would invite the top scorers to pay a $345 application fee and complete their applications. USCIS would invite enough high-scoring applicants to meet the current 140,000 green-card slots.
So how exactly would the points system work? In general, one would earn more points for advanced degrees in science and engineering fields. One would get more points for being younger. One would get points for a job offer if the salary was at least 150 percent of the median local wage, with even more points for salaries worth 200 or 300 percent. In Arkansas, for example, the 300 percent mark of median wages is $128,394; in Georgia, it’s $152,304.
One would get points for investing $1.35 million and retaining an active management role on the project. Points are awarded for extraordinary achievement, such as a Nobel Laureate. Finally, one would also receive points for English-language proficiency on recognized assessment tests.
The new system would retain immigration preferences for the spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents, but not for most extended and adult family members. It would eliminate the so-called diversity visa lottery, which hands out green cards randomly without regard to skills or family connections, is plagued by fraud and doesn’t even promote diversity. It would also remove per-country caps on immigration, so that high-skilled applicants aren’t shut out of the process because of their country of origin. In addition, the bill would cap the number of refugees offered permanent residency to 50,000 per year, in line with a recent 13-year average.
These changes are pro-worker, pro-growth and proven to work. They would ultimately reduce our annual immigration levels by half after ten years and reorient it toward high-skilled workers, which is just what our economy needs. Furthermore, these changes have widespread public support. They would raise wages for working Americans, create jobs, give immigrants a decent shot at moving up the economic ladder and make America more competitive. It makes no sense to stick with 50-year-old immigration laws. Let’s finally bring them into the 21st century.
Read the full op-ed here.