Kushner is RIGHT on Immigration, Pt 2

Many from the president’s base will complain that the plan does not limit legal immigration, as it is believed Stephen Miller wanted. For them, the problem is not just illegal immigration, but too much legal immigration as well.

My reply to them simple: every study shows at least 34% of the workforce in the next 20 years will have to come from immigrants. Our birthrate is declining, and the baby boomers are retiring. Case closed. Kushner is right.

The tough border enforcement provisions, including a wall (in whole or in part), promised by previous administrations are long overdue. There cannot be immigration reform without border security.

We need immigration reform, but we need smart and realistic immigration reform.

Skeptics on the left have pointed out the plan leaves out the Dreamers and all other illegal immigrants from consideration. I sincerely hope that the president and Kushner have these two groups very much in mind. There is no way to do real immigration reform without addressing what is to be done about the 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S.

I believe there is consensus across the board that the 2 million Dreamers should get a path to citizenship, provided they meet certain criteria. A more difficult question is what will happen to the other 9 million illegal immigrants.

My position has been that illegal immigrants—including those under protected status (or TPS)—who have lived in the U.S. for at least 15 years or more, are working, and have no criminal record—about 5 million—should be granted legal status (not citizenship) to work in the U.S.

Since all studies show that the nation will need immigrants as never before, why not consider the proven labor force that is already here and working? Why even think about deporting them, when you are going to have to let them back in again to fill our jobs.

Coming back to the issue of merit and skilled labor, I strongly advise the administration that the needs of our economy labor market, not some idealized or artificial criteria for admission to the U.S., should be the guiding light in how we appraise the skills that our economy demands. This much the 1965 Act got right.

The high skills and higher educational standards being proposed are good; but engineers, scientists, and medical doctors are not going to build our homes, harvest our crops, serve our tables, and clean our hotel rooms. High skills are not the only skills we need or the only skills with merit. Just try to pick up jalapeño peppers or tomatoes under a searing sun for eight hours!

We need immigration reform, but we need smart and realistic immigration reform.

Tagged with: