Take it or leave it. That's how the Trump administration framed its offer to save the "dreamers" in exchange for upending our country’s immigration system. The proposal would potentially allow as many as 1.8 million undocumented immigrants brought here as children to get a pathway to citizenship.
Unfortunately, this deal comes with extreme conditions that render it a dud. While the crisis facing the dreamers is real, it is not worth pitting immigrants against one another, or helping current migrants at the expense of future ones. The White House plan reflects a radical vision for the country that is as unrealistic as it is out of touch with American ideals.
Since President Trump ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in September, the futures of roughly 800,000 DACA beneficiaries have been in limbo. Trump has sent mixed signals on their fate, and the Democrats went so far as to briefly shut down the government over the issue.
The new White House proposal is troubling on multiple levels. The overall problem is that it attempts to shift what should be a narrowly-focused debate over saving the dreamers into a broader one encompassing legal immigration. Yes, legal immigration.
But it makes no sense for lawmakers to wade into a distracting debate over legal immigration. Our economy is currently humming along, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average recently hitting 26,000 and unemployment at a 17-year low. The unemployment rates for Latinos and African Americans are at historic lows, too. Given that there is vast agreement among economists that immigrants are good for the economy, it is hard to see what problem is being solved by restricting legal channels of migration.
Source: USA TODAY
Foreign national parents, children and siblings of American citizens and legal residents have become the latest target as President Donald Trump and Congress tangle over immigration.
While much of the focus of the immigration debate has been on 800,000 to close to 2 million undocumented immigrants, Trump has pushed family-based immigration into the debate.
Late Thursday, he offered up a path to citizenship for the population of undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers in exchange for a list of border security and immigration enforcement resources, a border wall and significant cuts in the visas reserved for parents, children and siblings of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents.
According to the Migration Policy Institute, about 1 million green cards are given to immigrants each year, with about two-thirds of those green cards for family-based immigration. The law allows U.S. citizens to sponsor for green cards spouses, minor children and parents and there is no numerical cap on how many of those visas can be granted.
U.S. citizens can also sponsor adult children and siblings, and legal permanent residents can sponsor spouses, minor children and adult married children. Those visas do have numerical caps.
by Suzanne Gamboa /NBC NEWS
Lazaro Law Group, Managing Attorney