President Trump on Wednesday endorsed a new bill in the Senate aimed at slashing legal immigration levels in half over a decade, a potentially profound change to policies that have been in place for more than half a century.

Trump appeared with Republican Sens. Tom Cotton (Ark.) and David Perdue (Ga.) at the White House to unveil a modified version of a billthe senators first introduced in February to create a “merit-based” immigration system that would put a greater emphasis on the job skills of foreigners over their ties to family in the United States.

The legislation seeks to reduce the annual distribution of green cards awarding permanent legal residence to just over 500,000 from more than 1 million. Trump promised on the campaign trail to take a harder line on immigration, arguing that the growth in new arrivals had harmed job opportunities for American workers.

“Among those who have been hit hardest in recent years are immigrants and minority workers competing for jobs against brand-new arrivals,” said Trump, flanked by the senators in the Roosevelt Room. “It has not been fair to our people, our citizens and our workers.”


I wish I had a nickel for every time I head people say they weren’t against immigration, just illegal immigration.  The recently proposed bill regarding immigration shows that simply is not true.

One of the most draconian aspects of the bill is that  it limits the number of legal immigrants.  If people cannot immigrate legally they will do so illegally.

Furthermore, the bill is a lie.  Hordes of Americans aren’t lined up to do agricultural work, hotel work, lawn care work,  restaurant work in the back of the house, or many of the jobs we rely on immigrants to do.   We aren’t spending tens of thousands of dollars each year on students’ education so they will be fit to do those kinds of unskilled and semi skilled jobs.  Let’s not kid ourselves.  Americans don’t want those jobs.

The requirement for immigrants to know English is  absurd.  Why?  Do we need more skilled workers coming here and taking American jobs?  Millions of Chinese and Russian students know how to speak English.  They also would want white-collar and skilled jobs if they immigrated.  They aren’t going to line up to pick tomatoes or grapes.

I am beginning to think that really people just don’t want foreigners here.  That kind of nativist thinking is truly the bottom line and one of the main reasons for Trump supporters.

I also don’t believe the bill will pass.  Shame on us if it does.

24 Thoughts to “Immigration debate raises its ugly head, again”

  1. IVAN

    I bet 9500 Liberty will make a comeback. Can Annabel and Eric be far behind?

  2. NorthofNokesville

    Afternoon, Moon. It’s a bit of a stretch to claim less legal immigration means more illegal, particularly when legal includes more higher-skilled workers with degrees and tech backgrounds, though still about 2/3 of legal is for family reunification. About half of illegal immigration comes from Mexico, but not much of the skilled immigration. For someone with skills and a shot at an H1-B, the next-best move likely isn’t sneaking in (because they’re not going to get the same quality of job as an illegal), but either staying in place or seeking another venue. Canada may be a net recipient of tech talent the US deflects.

    That said, the policy may not work as hoped in the short-term. About half (just under according to latest stats) of illegals that “enter” each year actually just overstay their visas. This move might help the top end of that funnel, but it still leaves many in place and cohorts who have yet to become illegal by staying, as distinct from illegal border crossing. 2017 stats may change that, since border crossing have reportedly fallen under Trump.

    As always, the devil is in the details, of course.

    1. If X number of people want to come to the United States, they can come legally or illegally. If coming legally isn’t possible, that leaves two other options, depending on where you are from. Sneak in or overstay. People without means of some sort aren’t given visas, as I understand it.

      If people are experiencing misery and poverty, they will do what they have to do for a better life. Trump is just bellowing to his base. I also don’t think Congress will ever pass this immigration bill.

      1. NorthofNokesville


        Not quite so simple. Some may still come illegally or come and stay. Others may do nothing. Others who have options may go elsewhere. If the border were simply a porous membrane, risk factors wouldn’t matter so much. The fact that just the threat of increased enforcement and deportation has slowed illegal entry shows potential illegal immigrants do make a cost/benefit analysis. Other stats such as skilled workers seeking Canada entry suggest skilled immigrants do the same. All points to need for nuanced policy with an eye toward desired outcomes versus. We don’t get the equilibrium we want – we get the equilibrium we incent.

        Of course, as RH notes, this is likely DOA and will be enacted piecemeal by executive order a la BHO.

      2. Has there been any statistically proven change in illegal border crossings since the administration change? I dont think so. I believe Trump bleats that it has all but disappeared but I don’t believe a word he says. The last few years of the Obama administration showed a marked decrease in illegal crossings. Most people attribute the decline to the economy in Mexico being better. On the other hand, such is not the case for the Central Amrican countries.

        I am not sure what you mean by the options in the first couple of sentences.

      3. NorthofNokesville


        Actually, there has been a documented slow down. Trump can lie, for sure, but him saying something doesn’t make it false.

        Ask NPR: http://n.pr/2urkmWM

        Or the BBC: http://bbc.in/2oC3g9o

        Or the LA Times: http://lat.ms/2oYad4E

        Educated people with options may choose Canada, or stay in their country of origin, or any number of other places. This is part of the reason US-based tech companies are concerned, and why they started taking steps after the winter 2017 ban fallout.

      4. Fewer arrests doesn’t necessarily mean fewer crossings. I think there was already a decline and Trump hasn’t been in office long enough to draw any long term conclusions.

        You are right though, I don’t believe a word that comes out of Trump’s mouth because he lies.

        We shall see.

      5. I also don’t think Obama’s base gives two figs about the H1-B workers. I think their main concern is about low skilled or semi skilled immigrants from south of the border.

        Frankly I think it is the pecking order. I saw the rally in WV. I was embarrassed for them. I guess everyone needs someone to look down on.

      6. Robin Hood


        That’s Trump’s style: fix blame instead of the problem. What is his track record so far? He has promised a wall that Mexico would pay for and asked the Mexican president to help him perpetuate the lie by claiming to talk it over. Then there was the Muslim ban that had to be called a travel ban until the courts got involved. He has to change the subject each time he fails or gets caught in another lie.

        When I was a child I saw a dog chasing its own tail. At first it was amusing but then it became boring. That’s what this reminds me of.

      7. Trump throws out noise and shiny objects to create confusion. I guess he figures if he makes enough noise no one will really see what an ill-prepared, dishonest reprehensible person he is.

        It might also distract people, especially his base, from Russia-gate.

      8. Richard Hertz


        You’re right Moon, Obama’s base doesn’t give two figs about H1-B workers… until they have to train them to take their jobs and if they don’t they don’t receive a severance package.

        During the Obama years the H1-B visa program was one of the most abused immigration programs. Some would say that the abuse was allowed to happen because of the support and donations tech companies provided Democrats and President Obama but the abuse started back in the later Bush years. It just accelerated under President Obama.

  3. Robin Hood

    Save yourself some time. This bill is reportedly dead on arrival. How can anyone take this clown seriously? There are also plans for the Senate to hold pro forma meetings during the recess in order to protect Jeff Sessions

    1. I never thought I would be wanting to protect Jeff Sessions.

      1. Robin Hood


        That’s something Mitch McConnell and Lisa Murkowski can agree on. Word is that he put her in charge of the pro forma meetings to block recess appointments, I think I understand why she would volunteer for that.

  4. Pat.Herve

    H1-B visas are an exploration of the immigrant and the American worker. There are many many documented cases where workers were replaced with H1-B visa holders. So, they just move the job – not created one – and put an American out of a job. Disgraceful.



    1. I tend to agree, Pat. The company who did the original ACA was full of H1-B visa holders. They also screwed it up. They didnt make what an American worker made nor were they held to the same standards.

      On the other hand, if you need a French chef or a Russian ballet dancer, it’s hard to get them home grown.

  5. Richard Hertz

    There are a few things to address…

    Americans don’t want those jobs” – Americans would want those jobs and did do many of them before wages were suppressed by an endless supply of lower cost labor.

    The requirement for immigrants to know English is absurd” – I actually agree with you on this in that I do not think that English should be a requirement. When my mother-in-law came here from Korea she couldn’t speak English but she learned and she actually ended up working in the Clinton White House believe it or not. What I do not agree with having to have everything provided in multiple languages. Someone can come here and not learn English if they want, that is up to them, but we shouldn’t be forced to provide materials in multiple languages. I also have a co-worker who came here from Poland and couldn’t speak English. She not only learned English but got her Masters in Accounting.

    I am beginning to think that really people just don’t want foreigners here. That kind of nativist thinking is truly the bottom line and one of the main reasons for Trump supporters.” – I would disagree completely with that line of thinking. Have you ever heard of civil rights leader and icon Barbara Johnson? This proposal is almost an identical copy of what her commission came up with for immigration reform years and years ago. Do you think she would have been a Trump supporter? Was she a nativist? Also, what about all of the African-American groups and leaders who have been asking for something similar to this for years; are they Trump supporters or nativist?

    1. I know of very few American folks who want to do stoop work. Many Americans don’t want to do that kind of work and they won’t do it unless circumstances are dire.

      Multiple languages–it does seem like overkill. However, if you need to impart knowledge to non-English speakers, you target those communities. I am thinking specifically of schools and local municipalities. Before the days of info in all languages, I once tried to help a Latino man in the tax line. I thought to myself–how stupid. You want the man to pay his taxes…have the form printed in Spanish.

      I know several people who I would consider nativist. They are always grousing about foreigners, in those terms. Those people weren’t Trump supporters.

      Are you speaking of Barbara Jordan of Texas? I don’t know Barbara Johnson.

      1. Richard Hertz


        “I know of very few American folks who want to do stoop work. Many Americans don’t want to do that kind of work and they won’t do it unless circumstances are dire.”

        I agree, but the reason is because wages have been suppressed for so long by a never ending supply of cheap labor. At one time those kinds of jobs paid pretty well, not so much anymore which is why not many people want to do them. Raise the wages and people would be lining up to do them. This mostly affects the African-American community which is why some groups and leaders have been asking for something like this for years only to be ignored.

        Yes, sorry… multitasking. Barbara Jordan from Texas. After reading some of her writings and learning more about her immigration commission recommendations (which closely mirror this proposal) I find myself wondering if she would be branded a ‘racist’ or ‘nativist’ or any other number of derogatory names by some here.

      2. NorthofNokesville

        Richard Hertz,

        Possibly true in some areas, but other barriers persist, most notably the refusal of unemployed men to move into services jobs traditionally associated with women. Even in sub-sectors and locales where wages increase as employers seek to fill needs, imbalances persist. Look at the workforce participation stats (really the only thing propping up the headline unemployment rate) for a start. Look at the latest JOLTS stats on openings / job seekers. New York Times, Chicago Tribune, PBS all have covered this.

      3. I don’t think suppressed wages has a thing to do with it. Those wages have always been suppressed. Why on earth would anyone want to pick tomatoes, strawberries, or anything else that backbreaking? As Americans have become more educated, they are less likely to do those kinds of jobs.
        Same with crab picking, oyster shucking, and fish cleaning. Those just aren’t high paying jobs and never have been.

        I don’t know much of what Barbara Jordan said about immigration. I met her once, during the Clinton administration. I doubt that anyone here on this blog would call her a racist. A nativist? Not sure. Was she one?

    2. Robin Hood

      Richard Hertz,

      Wow! You’re back. I suppose you trust Trump not to throw you under the bus while he’s playing golf.

      1. Richard Hertz

        Robin Hood,

        Wow! What an ignorant comment by Robin Hood having nothing to do with the topic of discussion or anything that I wrote. I see nothing has changed… if nothing else you’re consistent.

      2. Robin Hood

        Richard Hertz,

        At least I am consistent.

        I said I considered this a diversionary tactic and I have better things to do than get drawn too far in on a bill that’s DOA.

        Didn’t the Derecho recently quote Socrates saying that those who lose the debate resort to insults? And here you are!

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