Why Support Immigration Reduction? Ask Bill Clinton

Newly introduced legislation by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) would reduce legal immigration by nearly half. This proposal is likely to be portrayed by open border supporters and business interests as draconian and anti-immigrant. But, you don’t have to search far to find support for these reforms from national figures with liberal credentials.

Foremost among those figures was former U.S. Representative (D-Texas) Barbara Jordan. She was a Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient and two-time keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention as well as chair of the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform (USCIR). Her role in leading that multi-year study was noted by President Clinton at her funeral.

“After I became President, I asked her to chair the United States Commission on Immigration Reform. And she made us listen again when she reminded all sides on that delicate and difficult issue that we must remain both a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws.”

The proposed immigration reform measures proposed in the RAISE Act come out of the Jordan-led USCIR. Like the legislation, it recommended for scaling back legal immigration to a level of 550,000 per year and setting an annual base level of refugee admissions at 50,000. The reduction would be accomplished by narrowing family sponsorship of new immigrants to immediate family members and opening opportunity for increased skilled immigrants. Like the USCIR proposals, the visa lottery visas would be eliminated. The legislation, like the USCIR proposal, also includes a provision for entry of aged parents to be cared for by a U.S. resident child.

According to the Washington Post of June 8, 1995, “President Clinton yesterday endorsed the recommendations of a congressional commission calling for a substantial reduction in the number of legal immigrants allowed to enter the country.”

So, why is adoption of immigration reduction still pending? When Congress debated legislation to implement those recommendations and others dealing with tightening controls against illegal immigration, business interests and ethnic advocacy groups convinced the Senate to split off the legal immigration reforms from the illegal immigration reforms and enact the latter while deferring action on the legal reforms for a later date. Although those legal immigration reforms have resurfaced in Congress periodically, to date no action has resulted.

With a new interest in immigration reform in the Trump administration, the time has come to fulfill to legacy of Barbara Jordan by implementing the USCIR recommendations included in the Cotton-Perdue legislation.

About Author


Jack, who joined FAIR’s National Board of Advisors in 2017, is a retired U.S. diplomat with consular experience. He has testified before the U.S. Congress, U.S. Civil Rights Commission, and U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform and has authored studies of immigration issues. His national and international print, TV, and talk radio experience is extensive (including in Spanish).


  1. avatar
    Not Politically Correct on

    I remember being one of the working poor, that made too little to afford heath insurance on my own , but made too much to qualify for any type of public assistance; and taking my young son to the emergency room where most of the waiting room was speaking Spanish and I’m sure not paying a time for their hospital visit. I had to make arrangements to make monthly payments.

  2. avatar

    We are not obligated to let every Tom, Dick, and Hector in just because they want to. It’s the same thing as saying, I won the lottery, now everyone who treated me like crap comes around expecting money and gifts. Its a no brainier for all other countries and they are VERY careful of who they let in, rightly so. So why can’t we? I’m a Navy Brat so I believe we need to fortify our already strong Military, secure our borders, rid ourselves of the ones here that commit crimes, vet the ones here already and leave them alone to continue as they are, who love our country. And be very careful who WE allow in here. Living in the Dallas area, I watched them dump several hundred unvetted Syrian refugees here without our permission and as it was happening for notice too. No one was happy about that. Who knows if they really were refugees or just blended in terrorists.

  3. avatar

    American is for illegals immigration because illegals immigration making an American rich. For why no Senate can not say anything about legal immigration reform.

  4. avatar
    Lawrence Schreiber on

    Legal residents who happen to have excessive skin pigmentation through no fault of their own should welcome this proposal. This change will tighten the job market in their favor. Immigrants won’t be taking their jobs. Plus, consider the reduction in taxes (a benefit to current residents) for not having to support social services for immigrants. Additionally, there would be an immediate reduction in education costs caused by these baby factory immigrants.

    • avatar

      No fault of their own? Perhaps they see it as through the blessing of “excessive pigmentation”. It’s not a fault, it’s the way we are all created.

      I do agree with you on the social services. I accompanied a niece who is a natural born citizen and Caucasian, to a clinic when she was pregnant. Married, but very poor, and needed assistance in the way of Medicaid and she received help for healthy baby care in our State. I observed about 15 expectant mothers in the waiting area. My niece was the only Caucasian in the waiting room. We also heard very little English being spoken, it was mostly Spanish speaking people.

      Same thing in the building I worked in. There was an eye clinic on the top floor, and all day long foreigners were on the elevator going up to the top floor for free eye clinic. Only it’s not free. We contribute to those clinics with tax dollars.

      The local elementary school teaches 1/2 of the day in English and 1/2 of the day in Spanish because of so many Mexican children in the school. They also are fed one meal a day during the summer months so they don’t go hungry. This is good, but it costs money for these programs and my neighbor said their little boy is behind in his age group because he is confused trying to learn everything in two languages. Some kids prosper in this environment, some suffer. Not sure what the answer is.

  5. avatar

    Pandering and spinelessness prevail with the majority of our utterly useless Congressional representatives, period!

  6. avatar

    It just proves that what is said about the Clintons is true. They have no true beliefs and whoever can give them the most money or will give them the most votes is going to be catered to. Hillary was saying little more than a decade ago that she “didn’t like illegals”.