It’s become a loaded term that means different things to different people.
For conservatives who believe in the preservation of U.S. jobs and “America first,” President Trump’s announcement this week that he backs a plan to cut green-card issuances in half and make them based on an applicant’s merit rather than family ties was music to their ears.
But for Democrats, and Republicans like Sens. John McCain, Marco Rubio, Jeff Flake and Lindsey Graham, “immigration reform” means something entirely different. It means giving amnesty to millions of illegals and keeping the spigot of legal immigration running wide open at break-neck speed.
Green cards hold the key to legal migration to the U.S. They provide permanent legal residency to 1 million foreign nationals every year and serve as the most likely pathway to full citizenship.
But it didn’t always used to be that way.
The number of foreign-born persons living in the U.S. on green cards has exploded since the 1970s [see graph below].
So it’s no coincidence that McCain, fresh off of brain cancer treatment, came out gunning for Trump’s green-card reforms. Reforming the system to drastically rein in the number of green cards issued would strike the globalist agenda at its heart, dealing them a much more significant blow than even building a wall to keep out illegal migrants.
“I wouldn’t do it,” McCain told the Arizona Republic.
That’s because McCain wants all forms of immigration running wide open, so-called “low-end” migrants who come to the U.S. without any English-speaking or work skills, as well as “high-end” migrants with advanced degrees and skills in software development, engineering and other fields [remember the case of Disney where IT workers were forced to train their own replacements from India, a model that has been replicated at many other companies].
“I think you have to consider that we do want high-tech people, but we also need low-skilled people who will do work that Americans won’t do,” McCain told the Arizona Republic. “I wouldn’t do it. Even in my misspent youth, I wouldn’t do it.”
The RAISE Act, which was announced Tuesday by the President and Sens. Tom Cotton, R-Ariz., and David Perdue, R-Ga., would favor green-card applicants who demonstrate skills, education and English ability over family relations to people already here. It also seeks to cut legal immigration in half over the next decade.
Green cards are currently handed out to everyone from illiterate refugees to low-skilled farm workers, hotel maids, meat-packers, winners of an annual “diversity” visa lottery, and family members of existing green-card holders. This system has grown exponentially over the last 50 years, even as illegal border penetration also soared under Presidents Bush and Obama.
Just before leaving Washington to undergo cancer treatment, McCain said he spoke with Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., about reviving the immigration-reform debate through the “Gang of Eight” senators. This is the same “gang” that orchestrated the failed 2013 bipartisan effort at reform.
“To think that a wall is going to stop illegal immigration or drugs is crazy,” McCain told the Arizona Republic this week, demonstrating once again that even as he sometimes speaks in favor of the wall he is actually against it. Just like he’s against reforming legal immigration.
In the end, there is no immigration program that McCain will not support, as long as it leads to more migrants and fewer jobs available to Americans, his critics say.
Studies show that most modern immigrants have socialist tendencies that cause them to vote Democrat. Previous WND reports have described the migrant population explosion as a “ticking time bomb” that will eventually catch up with Republicans, turning traditional GOP strongholds like Texas, North Carolina and Georgia into “blue” states that vote for Democrats committed to socialist policies like gun control, socialized medicine and higher taxes.
McCain is not the only GOP senator to balk at Trump’s merit-based immigration proposal. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., released a statement Wednesday saying the cuts to legal immigration would be “devastating” to his state’s economy.
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., and Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., echoed those concerns.
The number of green cards handed out has averaged about 1 million per year over the last five years, topping out at 1.3 million in 2015.
According to some experts, this is historically unsustainable for any nation.
One of those experts is Mark Krikorian, president of the Center for Immigration Studies. He says Trump’s version of reform is the correct version, one that is long overdue if the U.S. is to remain a nation of laws built on the individual freedoms embedded in the Constitution – freedom of speech/religion and the right to bear arms just to name a few.
“In the long run the more important questions are: What are the rules? How many people should the federal immigration program admit each year? How should they be selected? How can we minimize the harm from the program while maximizing the benefits?” Krikorian wrote in a recent op-ed for the National Interest.
He said the RAISE Act introduced by Cotton and Perdue resumes the effort undertaken by civil rights icon Barbara Jordan’s U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform in the mid-1990s.
“Two decades ago, the corporate Right allied with the cultural Left to kill Jordan’s recommended immigration changes,” says Krikorian. “But the logic of those changes didn’t go away. And today’s announcement picks up where she left off.”
The Cotton-Perdue bill makes a number of significant changes to the program. First, it focuses family immigration more narrowly. Currently, two-thirds of the million-plus foreign citizens who get green cards each year qualify only because they have relatives already here, according to Krikorian.
“This nepotistic system does not screen for skills or education. It also drives chain migration, as each cohort of immigrants sponsors the next one.”
This pattern of immigrants inviting their relatives to join them and then those relatives inviting more, and so on, is a death spiral that will lead to a smothering of the conservative, middle-class voters. With their votes canceled out, their interests will also be buried by politicians in Washington who get re-elected by a newly empowered welfare class with voter-registration cards in their wallets.
The RAISE Act would limit family immigration rights to the actual nuclear family: husbands, wives, and little kids of American citizens and legal residents. The current categories for adult siblings, adult sons and daughters, and parents would be retired. U.S. citizens could still bring in their elderly parents in need of caretaking, but only on renewable non-immigrant visas (no green cards or citizenship) and only after proving that they’ve paid for health insurance up front.
The bill would also eliminate the egregious Diversity Visa Lottery and cap refugee admissions at 50,000 per year, rather than allow the president let in as many as he wants, as is the case today.
“The level of immigration — now running at over a million a year — would likely drop by 40 percent, and then drop some more over time, as the number of foreign spouses declined,” Krikorian wrote. “(Most U.S. citizens marrying foreigners are earlier immigrants, so as they age, and fewer new immigrants come in behind them, the demand for spousal immigration is likely to fall.)”
That would still mean annual permanent immigration of 500,000–600,000 a year, which is more than any other nation.
The bill isn’t perfect, he said. “It leaves the level of skills-based immigration, for instance, at the current 140,000 a year — the world doesn’t generate 140,000 Einsteins annually. It preserves a category for the spouses and minor children of green-card holders, which I don’t think is justified. (That relates to spouses acquired after immigration; if you’re married at the time you get your green card, your spouse automatically gets one too.) And I don’t think there’s any justification for resettling even 50,000 refugees (as opposed to helping a far greater number at the same cost in the countries where they’ve taken refuge).”
Neither does this bill address so-called temporary immigration, where businesses exploit the over-generous visa programs to import cheap labor — both higher- and lower-skilled — to make an end-run around the American labor market.
“But these are quibbles. With the RAISE Act, Senators Cotton and Perdue have done an exceptional job of restarting the debate over the shape of the federal immigration program,” according to Krikorian. “And President Trump is to be praised for moving beyond the easy issue of enforcement. As Cotton said at the White House event today, our current immigration program is ‘an obsolete disaster.’ Fixing it to admit fewer unskilled workers, phase out chain migration, and simplify the admission of truly exceptional talents would be an enormous accomplishment.”
Even if John McCain doesn’t think so.