WASHINGTON – Donald Trump has suddenly distinguished himself from the pack of Republican presidential candidates in two significant ways:
- He is the first candidate to outline a detailed plan to deal with immigration.
- He is also the first candidate to address the problems of legal immigration.
The second item particularly separates Trump from the field, as Republicans have appeared loathe to acknowledge problems with unprecedented levels of legal immigration, most likely out of fear of alienating Hispanic voters.
Released Sunday, Trump’s plan would address legal immigration in the following ways:
- Suspend green cards to lower unemployment: “Before any new green cards are issued to foreign workers abroad, there will be a pause where employers will have to hire from the domestic pool of unemployed immigrant and native workers.”
- Increase prevailing wage for H-1Bs (foreign worker visas): “We graduate two times more Americans with STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) degrees each year than find STEM jobs, yet as much as two-thirds of entry-level hiring for IT jobs is accomplished through the H-1B program. More than half of H-1B visas are issued for the program’s lowest allowable wage level, and more than eighty percent for its bottom two. Raising the prevailing wage paid to H-1Bs will force companies to give these coveted entry-level jobs to the existing domestic pool of unemployed native and immigrant workers in the U.S., instead of flying in cheaper workers from overseas. This will improve the number of black, Hispanic and female workers in Silicon Valley who have been passed over in favor of the H-1B program.”
- Requirement to hire American workers first: “Too many visas, like the H-1B, have no such requirement. In the year 2015, with 92 million Americans outside the workforce and incomes collapsing, we need to companies to hire from the domestic pool of unemployed. Petitions for workers should be mailed to the unemployment office, not USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services).”
- Enhanced penalties for overstaying a visa: “Millions of people come to the United States on temporary visas but refuse to leave, without consequence. This is a threat to national security.” “Completion of a visa tracking system – required by law but blocked by lobbyists – will be necessary as well.”
Trump’s new concern about the perils of unprecedented levels of legal immigration may be because, as he announced late last week, the leading GOP presidential contender is now consulting with the office of U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. The senator has long warned of dangers of runaway levels of immigration, both illegal and legal.
Sessions released a statement about the Trump plan that read, in part: “This is exactly the plan America needs. Not only would the plan outlined in this paper work, but more quickly than many realize. Most importantly, this plan reestablishes the principle that American’s immigration laws should serve the interests of its own citizens.”
Trump told the Washington Post he liked Sessions, calling him a “tough guy.”
“I like that,” Trump said. “We have a similar thought process.”
With characteristic exuberance, Ann Coulter tweeted her zeal for the Trump immigration plan, calling it, “The greatest political document since the Magna Carta.”
Even a top immigration expert who does not appear to be a Trump fan had praise for the plan.
Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, or CIS, told WND, “Whatever his drawbacks as a candidate, Trump’s immigration paper is forcing the media and politicians to discuss immigration policy in concrete terms, moving beyond the empty cliches that too often pass for argument.”
On Monday, Krikorian wrote in National Review, “[T]here’s a lot of specifics in Trump’s paper, and they’re mostly quite good.”
“I sincerely hope one of the other candidates makes these ideas his own in order to ‘knock Trump from his perch,’ but whether or not that happens, the Overton window (the range of ideas the public will accept) for discussion of immigration has moved appreciably in the direction most of the public prefers.”
CIS announced just last week that its latest analysis of monthly Census Bureau figures showed immigration levels (legal and illegal) hit a record high of 42.1 million in the second quarter of this year.
Most Americans are likely unaware that current immigration levels have reached staggering proportions, unlike anything before in American history.
A graph of the numbers over the years vividly illustrates just how different today’s astronomical immigration levels are from the historic norm.
As the graph above shows, the U.S. is experiencing an unprecedented immigration explosion:
- According to U.S. Census numbers, immigration averaged only 195,000 per year from 1921 through 1970.
- With the change in immigration law in 1965, immigration levels skyrocketed from an average of 250,000 to one million a year.
- The number of foreign-born persons in the U.S. has doubled from 1990 to 2010, almost tripled since 1980, and quadrupled since 1970.
- Most estimates are that at least 11 to 12 million of the 42 million are illegal immigrants. However, some estimates put that figure as high as 38 million.
- A recent report from the Congressional Research Service indicated the foreign-born population may increase by another 27.4 million people by 2022, climbing from 40.8 million in 2012 to 58.3 million after 10 years.
As WND has reported, traditionally, the United States had allowed relatively few immigrants to legally enter the country, with the exception of two great waves. During the first wave in the 1880s, almost six-million immigrants entered the country. The second wave hit a peak of 8.7 million a little more than 100 years ago. Today’s immigration level dwarfs the previous historic peaks and is ongoing and ever-increasing.
Analysts point to the dramatic changes made in immigration policy in 1965 when President Lyndon Johnson signed the Hart-Cellar Immigration Bill into law.
According to Steve Camarota of CIS, the 1965 changes unwittingly ushered in a new era of mass immigration.
Admission to the U.S under the old system depended mostly upon an immigrant’s country of birth. Seventy percent of immigration slots were reserved for those from the United Kingdom, Ireland and Germany, and most went unused.
That quota system (established in 1921 and most recently modified in 1952) was abolished in 1965, along with other various nationality criteria. Family reunification became the most important criterion for entry into the country. It was the first time relatives of American citizens were given higher preference than those with special job skills.
Trump’s plan is the first presented by any presidential candidate to address some of the problems created by legal, as well as illegal, immigration.
It is called, “Immigration Reform That Will Make America Great Again,” and can be read here.
The plan declares:
“Decades of disastrous trade deals and immigration policies have destroyed our middle class. Today, nearly 40% of black teenagers are unemployed. Nearly 30% of Hispanic teenagers are unemployed. For black Americans without high school diplomas, the bottom has fallen out: more than 70% were employed in 1960, compared to less than 40% in 2000. Across the economy, the percentage of adults in the labor force has collapsed to a level not experienced in generations.
“The influx of foreign workers holds down salaries, keeps unemployment high, and makes it difficult for poor and working class Americans – including immigrants themselves and their children – to earn a middle class wage. Nearly half of all immigrants and their US-born children currently live in or near poverty, including more than 60 percent of Hispanic immigrants.
“Every year, we voluntarily admit another 2 million new immigrants, guest workers, refugees, and dependents, growing our existing all-time historic record population of 42 million immigrants. We need to control the admission of new low-earning workers in order to: help wages grow, get teenagers back to work, aid minorities’ rise into the middle class, help schools and communities falling behind, and to ensure our immigrant members of the national family become part of the American dream.”
“The effects on job seekers have also been disastrous, and black Americans have been particularly harmed.”
The short preamble reads:
“When politicians talk about “immigration reform” they mean: amnesty, cheap labor and open borders. The Schumer-Rubio immigration bill was nothing more than a giveaway to the corporate patrons who run both parties.
“Real immigration reform puts the needs of working people first – not wealthy globetrotting donors. We are the only country in the world whose immigration system puts the needs of other nations ahead of our own. That must change. Here are the three core principles of real immigration reform:
1. A nation without borders is not a nation. There must be a wall across the southern border.
2. A nation without laws is not a nation. Laws passed in accordance with our Constitutional system of government must be enforced.
3. A nation that does not serve its own citizens is not a nation. Any immigration plan must improve jobs, wages and security for all Americans.
Highlights of the plan include:
- Make Mexico pay for the wall
- Triple the number of ICE officers
- Nationwide E-verify
- Mandatory return of all criminal aliens
- Detention – not catch-and-release
- Defund sanctuary cities
- Enhanced penalties for overstaying a visa
- Cooperate with local gang task forces
- End birthright citizenship
- Increase prevailing wage for H-1Bs
- Requirement to hire American workers first
- End welfare abuse
- Jobs program for inner-city youth
- Refugee program for American children
- Immigration moderation
Follow Garth Kant @DCgarth