White House Immigration Plan: Rhetoric vs Reality

The outline of the newly announced White House immigration reform plan includes adopting a merit-based selection system to replace the current system that, since 1965, has been heavily weighted toward extended family entitlement to visas. This shift in priority for new immigrants has been long advocated – most notably by the blue ribbon, national study chaired by former Congresswoman Barbara Jordan (the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform – see https://www.fairus.org/issue/legal-immigration/us-commission-immigration-reform)

Opponents of this proposed shift in immigrant admission have already launched attacks on the new proposal even before the full details have been publicly presented. The attacks allege that it would separate families and would be elitist and discriminate people who have not had as much opportunity to gain high-skilled credentials. These arguments play on the widespread, but erroneous, belief that U.S. policy is enshrined in the Emma Lazarus poem that includes, “give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses,,,”

The outline of the new reform proposal makes clear that it is extended family visas that are targeted, not visas for nuclear family members. The difference is that, under the White House outline, a legal immigrant may sponsor a spouse and minor children but there will be no automatic entitlement to sponsor siblings, and through them other extended family members. This was also the recommendation of the Jordan Commission.

In the far past, immigration of healthy unskilled workers made sense as the country was settled coast to coast and the industrial revolution began. But that epoch ended long ago.

The current system was adopted when those petitioning for their extended family members to join them had themselves qualified for a visa based on work or academic experience.  The irrationality of family chain migration became even more obvious with the amnesty for illegal aliens enacted in 1986 that gave legal status to nearly three million aliens who in most cases had sneaked into the country, or who had come to do seasonal agricultural work and stayed illegally. This change meant that increasingly those sponsored for family visas had low skill and educational credentials. This change has been continuously compounded since that amnesty with additional amnesty provisions.

The time for change is overdue.

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).


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    For one thing, we need to eliminate the verbiage on the Statue of Liberty. We no longer have room or money for “your tired, your poor, your huddled masses,,,” We have plenty of our own who are homeless and hungry. We do nothing to house or feed them, provide medical services, etc. That would be a good start!

  2. avatar
    Don Richardson on

    As soon as they enter the U.S., give each invading criminal a booklet of addresses of politicians who are promoting illegal immigration and let them choose one. Then provide the invaders with free tickets to whatever politician’s home that they choose. Send them to live with the politician of their choice.
    We really should shut down immigration except for persons who fill a critical need in our country, at least until our unemployment levels are under 2%. Obviously that would require us to vote out all Demoncraps and some on the other side.
    If you want Americans to have first choice of American jobs, think about it.
    If you want to reduce the billions of your tax dollars that are spent on invading criminals, their housing, schooling, medical needs, law enforcement which deals with those invaders, etc, Vote out all who support or promote the invading criminals.

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    ConcernedAmericanITworker on

    Where I live, in the Dallas area, it has been taken over by indian H1B Visa IT workers stealing away jobs from us local Americans who actually LIVE here!!! My apartment complex, once home to American families, is now near 98% indians!!! And not just 1 or 2. Nooooo, they bring about 10+ of their relatives with them!!! And under the not well known H4B Visa, they too are allowed to steal even more jobs away from local Americans!!!

    And now imagine 2 bedroom apartments, stuffed with 10+ extended family in them!!! There is even this senile old indian man always walking around, in dirty pajamas!!! I wouldn’t dare trust letting any children near him, he is so evil looking!!!

    Trump needs to abolish the H1B Visa and the H4B Visa, and kick all these parasitic maggots out of OUR country, and begin protecting American IT workers, please?

    • avatar
      Don Richardson on

      As long as the law allows companies like Disney and the tech companies to replace American workers with H1B visa holders at half the price of American labor, IT WILL CONTINUE. These H1B visa holders are required to keep the same job that the visa is for, thus they get no raises and their benefits are very minimal. That means the companies can frequently hire them for half or less of what they would have to pay Americans. The Americans get laid off while the company execs make bigger profits, get bigger raises and laugh all the way to the bank. It is corrupt and should be illegal but these same execs give big campaign contributions and their in-pocket politicians assure that it will continue. Vote out any politician who supports this abuse of the American taxpayers and workers.

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      Microsoft Replaced the NW High School Kids in Seattle With H-1Bs from India too

      Apparently the H-1Bs bring their extended families in groves too, with unlimited chain migration. They get here and spend all their $CASH$ on real estate and take all the jobs [for less pay]. I see old folks from India with turbans all over…a section of east hill Seattle is all India now…

      The over-crowding is clogging our freeways to a stand-still too and the MSFT S/W quality brand is degrading with H-1Bs too…weekly O/S patches and virus S/W both worsening. Both India and Russia are known for their “Organized Crime Hackers”…now they work for Microsoft too?

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    Somehow the left believes that merely because a person wants to come here and applies to do so, that means we are bad guys because we don’t admit them immediately and with no waiting. Never mind whether it’s good for the country. No one promised your aunt or second cousin they get to come here. You get the chance to apply, period. Pelosi just gave a college commencement speech and her priority is “comprehensive reform”, meaning amnesty for every illegal here. Never mind that our border is overrun monthly with a hundred thousand illegals, probably twice that are not caught, and we have absolutely no idea who most of them are. Ok with Pelosi though. She says MS13 gang members have a “spark of divinity”. All altar boys apparently.

    Russian collusion blah blah. But no mention by the media about when the Obama administration sold 20% of our uranium reserves to Russian companies and those companies gave millions in “donations” to the Clinton Foundation while she was SOS. The Pope says he would confront Trump over the wall. How about someone confronts him and says when are you going to change your birth control policies so children don’t go hungry. Instead everyone fawns all over him.

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      Dems Want to take over and be a One World Order like they started when Bill was in white house or before. It goes back further.

      • avatar
        Don Richardson on

        Yup, as FLYNT says, it goes back further. The ‘Progressive’ movement got powerful back in the 1890’s as Karl Marx’s writings became well known. They got our constitution changed to allow income taxes and the Federal Reserve system. Woodrow Wilson was a major progressive, reintroduced such policies as segregation of federal workers, etc.
        Some are operating on emotion (no logic) and want to give the poor everything they need or want, but don’t consider that will 4 billion or more poor folks out there that would leave nothing for us natives.
        Some see the criminal invaders as a source of cheap labor, thus putting Americans out of work. The Demoncraps see the criminal invaders as a source of votes. You say that illegal aliens can’t vote? Well, it may be illegal for them to vote, but it was illegal for them to come across the border uninvited and that didn’t stop them. It won’t stop them from voting either.