“We don’t need pretend reform that panders to nativist hardliners. We need fundamental reform that keeps families together, creates a line for undocumented immigrants to get into, expands safe and legal channels and puts fairness and due process at the heart of a modernized 21st century system.”
National Public Radio is reporting that presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner is preparing an immigration proposal that would implement a points-based system to determine who has “merit” to be admitted legally to the United States.
The following is a statement by Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
The Boy Prince is at it again. He wants to do for immigration policy what he has done for Mideast peace: make an ugly one-sided proposal that strains to sound reasonable while attracting no meaningful support.
Well, we’ll reiterate our position: to say Kushner’s immigration plan is dead on arrival would be generous.
Let’s peak behind the gauzy language of “merit-based immigration based on a points system.” Kushner is pushing a proposal that embodies Trump’s core belief: that America should admit a small number of white immigrants with lots of education and keep out dark-skinned and working class immigrants with lots of grit.
Assuming, as we do, that this proposal will be a tweaked version of previous Kushner-authored duds, the supposed shift to so-called merit-based immigration comes at the expense of the few virtues of our current legal immigration system. For one, it would eviscerate family reunification, the cornerstone of our current system. For another, it would replace an employer-based immigration — in which employers sponsor particular individuals who have skills that meet particular jobs for which there is no qualified American — with a bureaucratically-driven points system. And finally, it would eliminate the Diversity Visa program, one of the only avenues by which we admit a small number of educated and skilled African immigrants.
We don’t need pretend reform that panders to nativist hardliners. We need fundamental reform that keeps families together, creates a line for undocumented immigrants to get into, expands safe and legal channels and puts fairness and due process at the heart of a modernized 21st century system.
The new system that America needs and deserves requires a creative blend of strategies: administrative reforms and executive actions, as well as legislative reforms incremental and sweeping; the cooperation of local and state governments, and the sustained support and engagement by the American people and our institutions. Here are just some of the key elements:
- We need to create a line to get into for America’s 11 million undocumented immigrants, starting with the more than three million Dreamers who arrived in the United States as children and the 400,000 Temporary Protected Status holders. Instead of Trump’s strategy of trying to drive out and deport hard working immigrant families without documents, we should be creating a roadmap to citizenship for valued members of our communities.
- We need to improve and expand our family and employment-based legal immigration system. Rigid, outdated statutory limits on family and employment-based green cards have created massive, untenable backlogs. As a result, individuals from certain countries and in certain categories must wait many years, even decades, to enter the United States. These backlogs must be eliminated to ensure that immigrants enter this country through safe and legal channels within reasonable time periods. In addition, we need to restore our commitment to being a leader in the rescue and resettlement of refugees.
- We need to unwind the cruel and chaotic deportation, detention and deterrence policies carried out under Trump, Kushner and Stephen Miller. We need to craft a workable and fair process of administering the system and enforcing its new rules. Part of this mix is to recognize the utility of creating expanded safe and legal channels of immigration as a means of achieving an orderly system. Another key part is to restore due process to a system lacking any semblance of it, right-size enforcement agencies and hold enforcement agents fully accountable, and create a presumption of “innocent until proven guilty” and weigh individual circumstances for those caught up in the system.
Immigration helps to strengthen our families, our patriotism and our quest for the American Dream. A well-designed and well-managed immigration system can tap the spirit and drive of those who come to America and put that passion to work for the good of the country, revitalizing our cities, suburbs and farms.
Creating a 21st century immigration system is a big task. But ours is a “can do” nation. We are the wealthiest, most powerful country in the world. It’s time to rise to the challenge of putting in place an immigration system that reflects our values and serves our interests.