Home General Trump: Immigration Proposal Takes the System Off Autopilot

Trump: Immigration Proposal Takes the System Off Autopilot

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The president first tweeted regarding, then approved, a Presidential Declaration temporarily pausing some categories of immigration. Predictably, the left, much of the media, and the Democrats all decried the new policy as terrible. But the president’s decision was also criticized by immigration hawks, including my colleague Mark Krikorian, who has long argued that reducing the level of immigration would be good for the country. Mark is not alone; many felt that the move was mostly meaningless because of all the things that it did not do.

But I think these critics miss the idea. President Trump justified his decision because it was necessary to “help put unemployed Americans first in line for jobs as America reopens.” The idea that immigration should not result in a reduction in wages or job opportunities for Americans is something the vast majority of Americans agree with. Still, almost no American leaders ever even mention. By framing the issue around jobs, the president has done the country a valuable service.

Those who are unsatisfied with the limited nature of this decision need to acknowledge how crucial it is to have a president who takes the view that immigration should not harm American workers.

It is undoubtedly true that the actual declaration is modest and limited in scope, as opposed to the president’s initial tweet about it.

It deals only with people being issued green cards (permanent residency), not guest workers, and other related programs. Moreover, many of the green card categories remain in place under the new declaration. Nonetheless, it is profoundly significant as a nation to approach the immigration issue by considering its influence on American workers. This is even more vital now given that the unemployment rate may soon match the Great Depression levels.

There were about 7 million people already jobless in March of this year, and some 26 million people have filed for unemployment since the middle of last month. The U.S. labor force, which is the denominator used to calculate the unemployment rates, is about 165 million. It is possible the unemployment will peak 20 percent in April or May when those numbers are published. Before the Wuhan coronavirus hit, the U.S. was issuing about 80,000 green cards each month, all of which come, by definition, with lifetime work authorization.

Also, about 70,000 temporary work visas are issued each month, and something like 150,000 international students, asylum seekers, DACA recipients, unapproved green card applicants, and others are also given work permits monthly.

There is certainly ample evidence that immigration reduces wages and employment for some American workers. Now, with perhaps 30 million Americans unemployed, it makes even more sense to look at immigration levels. Unfortunately, the whole system runs on autopilot, with no regard for the labor market, only to their “morality,” conditions in the United States.

Trump has taken at least part of the system off autopilot, and that is an essential 1st step. Critics should witness his actions in that regard. To be sure, a disproportionate share of the people who have lost their jobs in the last 2 months have modest levels of education. So enabling in large numbers of foreign workers to take unskilled jobs — through, for instance, the H-2B visa and some of the programs under the J-1 visa — is unwise. But there is nothing in the declaration that prevents the president from expanding it to include more green cards and guest-worker programs. The declaration itself calls for the departments of Labor and Homeland Security to present within 30 days suggestions on changes to guest worker programs.

10 COMMENTS

  1. Trump continues to prove how not to be a leader. We are in a virus crisis, we are in a lying crisis from the WH, we are in a me mysel and I crisis. He cannot handle either so he turns his fuel of hate by attacking some of the most vulnerable. He hopes that Americans can forget that he did nothing to stop the thousands of people dying because he did nothing to stop for over two months. He lauded the economy, but the only ones benefiting are the big corporations and ultra rich. The tax cuts were not about the middle class. Now the economic curve has flatten, mark my words, the economy has no direction but up, and he will take credit since it has reached close to 1928 depression. We have soup lines, we have a lack of PPE for our healthcare personnel and first responders. The PPP payed by Congress has benefitted the rich, again. I hope that America will remember all he has not done.

    • It’s just too bad it is all liberal talking points and lies. The only thing liberals are good for is lying and blaming Trump for all their failures.

    • tony, you poor pathetic misinformed dumbocrat. where are all of your dumbocratic heroes at this time? except for blaming TRUMP for everything, they have added no value nor suggested any possible suggestions to help with this crisis. they have significantly divided MY country. i used to vote democrat and because of my ignorance i voted for clinton in 2016. i am ashamed of that. until these vile corrupt dumbocrats change their thinking, or change their politicians, i will never vote dumbocrat again. where are these jackasses when MY country needs them most?

  2. YAY for President Trump!! He takes a lot of flack from Dems/Liberals who would allow this Nation to be torn down. President Trump is Doing the Right things!! President TRUMP 2020!!

  3. FIRST ANYBODY THAT LOOKS AT BIDEN AND CANT SEE THERES SOMETHING WRONG WITH HIM THEN THEIR JUST AS BAD TRUMP HAS DONE EVERYTHING HE SAID HE WAS GOING TO DO .AND WHAT THEY REALY DIDNT THINK HE WAS GOING TO DO HE DID HE CLEANNED THE SWAMP BECAUSE HE WANTS HONESTY NOT CROOKS AND LIARS TRUMP IS THE BEST THING THAT EVER HAPPENED TO THIS COUNTRY

  4. It’s amazing how some people just look at government as democrat or republican, when in fact government is not the solution government is the problem. Like the constitution states “ if you don’t like you government you have a right to change it or eliminate it “ .Our parents raised us and as adults we have government telling us what and where we can go or do ?Sounds like people believe that they are not smart enough to make their own decisions.

  5. yes joe and yes bob trump is a patriot he was impeached for his attempt to expose corruption he need support not accusation ,just look at the clintons bushes or obama look at the big picture don,t be a fish in the lake you see the worm but not the hook .the situation is more tens than you think

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