Trump Supports Legislative Plan Cutting Legal Immigration by 50%
August 10, 2017
President Trump has thrown his endorsement for a bill that will reduce legal immigration
by more than 50% over a decade. The bill was put forward by Sen. Cotton and Purdue. The legislation will radically overhaul the US immigration system by eliminating the ability of US citizens and legal permanents to petition family members for legal permanent residence.
The bill recommends a skilled-based immigration point system and eliminates the Diversity Visa Program and all other family preference categories will be eliminated. The family-based immigration scheme left in place will be available to only spouses and children of US citizens. High-skilled applicants who speak English would be favored over low-skill workers. Adult parents of US citizens could apply for a special renewable temporary visa.
The new system “will reduce poverty, increase wages and save taxpayers billions and billions of dollars” Mr. Trump said. Critics of the bill however firmly disagree, arguing that cutting legal immigration will do enormous damage the US economy.
Skilled and unskilled immigrants are important to the US labor market. But cutting low-skill immigration will create labor shortages in certain labor intensive industries. The changes will obstruct Mr. Trump’s economic agenda of rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure. A drastic decrease in immigration will also affect tax receipts that social programs like Social Security, Medicare Medicaid, needed to offset retiring baby boomers, of which 10,000 retire every day. Immigrants make significant contributions in income and sales taxes. According to one estimate, in 2016 immigrants paid $224 billion in federal taxes and contributed $105 billion in state and local taxes.
A change to our current immigration system is long overdue. However reducing immigration in half, as this bill proposes, is nothing but a misguided policy.