Yesterday, Donald Trump announced a new plan to reform America’s legal immigration system which, if implemented, would prioritize merit-based immigration and reduce family-based immigration. The proposal is reminiscent of the Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) Act from 2017 and the Immigration in the National Interest Act, the House companion bill to the RAISE Act.
Anastasia Tonello, AILA President, commented, “Our country needs a strong immigration system that recognizes the value of families and the needs of U.S. businesses. Yes, high-skilled immigration is important, but it’s not the only type of immigration that adds to our shared prosperity. Americans recognize the value of family – we all know that strong families contribute to the economy and that keeping close family members apart isn’t good for anyone. What concerns AILA the most though, is that vast swaths of needed reforms aren’t addressed in the president’s plan. A majority of Republicans and a majority of America recognize that we must create a path to legalization — including one for Dreamers — and that there is a large and growing demand for jobs that don’t require a degree. We need laws that allow for the immigrant workers that businesses and communities legitimately need to come legally. A points-based system that fails to adequately take into consideration the needs of U.S. employers will not make our economy stronger. If U.S. companies cannot access the workers they need to grow and thrive in the United States, they will turn to other options, such as expanding operations abroad. If this happens, we all lose.”
Benjamin Johnson, AILA Executive Director, noted, “We can find common ground without eviscerating the long-held American principle of providing protection to those fleeing persecution and honoring family values. Family-based immigration creates strong communities which foster an environment for the development of local businesses. Family-based immigrants also fuel innovation: more than half of new companies in Silicon Valley were started by immigrants, many of whom came to the country on family-based visas. Further, a points-based system would be an unprecedented intrusion by the federal government into U.S. businesses’ decisions on the type of talent they need to fit their needs. AILA looks forward to working with elected officials from both sides of the aisle on a plan that would truly work for America.”