Immigration proposal doubles down on hard-right positions

BOSTON, May 16, 2019 – Today President Trump announced a new immigration proposal that reflects his long-standing priorities, including a shift from family-based to “merit-based” legal immigration, weakening of protections for asylum-seekers, and more investments in his border wall.

Based on the details reported so far, MIRA Executive Eva A. Millona has the following comment:

“The proposal outlined today offers no new ideas and no path towards the bipartisan solutions that our immigration system sorely needs. It would sharply curtail family-based migration, a pillar of our current system, depriving millions of Americans of the chance to sponsor their parents and siblings. It would limit protections for asylum-seekers, undermining human rights. It would do nothing to protect millions of Dreamers, Temporary Protected Status holders, and other immigrants with deep roots in our country. And it would continue to militarize our southern border and extend the wall, a multi-billion-dollar symbol of fear and hate.

“Though we strongly oppose limits to family-based migration, we would be open to discussion of a ‘merit-based’ system to prioritize applicants for admission to the U.S. – but only if the system is actually designed to meet American employers’ need for workers with a wide range of skills and talents. If the plan follows the model of the RAISE Act, however, which the President has previously supported, it would set absurdly high standards that would exclude almost all applicants.

“It is clear that this is a political statement, not a serious attempt to address America’s immigration needs. The President is looking to 2020 and playing to his base. This plan is dead on arrival in Congress, but it does serious harm nonetheless, because it entrenches the President and his supporters in extreme positions once held only by the right-wing fringe. That could hinder bipartisan efforts well past 2020.”