Chris Chmielenski's picture


  by  Chris Chmielenski

When a mainstream media outlet calls for an end to Chain Migration, the debate over legal immigration is heading in the right direction!

Earlier this week, the editorial board for the nation's largest newspaper, USA Today, offered a quasi-endorsement of Pres. Trump's proposal to move the legal immigration system away from favoring extended family connections and towards placing a greater emphasis on one's skills. You can read the full editorial here.

...if what the president means [by merit-based immigration] is that a higher percentage of immigrants to the United States should be selected for their skill levels rather than family connections, he is right.

While America has a number of short-term visa programs for skilled foreigners, the bulk of immigrant visas -- those with a direct path to permanent residency -- are awarded on the basis of a family relationship.

-- USA Today editorial board

This sort of commentary from a mainstream news outlet was unheard of several months ago. The tendency for the MSM has been to side with the big businesses that seek cheap, foreign labor and provide news outlets with coveted advertising dollars. But Pres. Trump's focus throughout the campaign on protecting American workers, particularly those who have been impacted by massive amounts of unskilled labor through legal immigration, has opened the door for a debate shift.

In fact, a few passages from the USA Today editorial sounded less like the country's establishment media and more like what one would find on the NumbersUSA website.

People coming in on a family reunification visa generally have modest job skills. ... when numerous jobs in semi-skilled areas have disappeared, importing hundreds of thousands of low-skilled workers a year makes little sense.

The USA Today editorial wasn't perfect, however. First, they mischaracterized the points-based system in the 2007 Kennedy-Bush-McCain amnesty bill that would have replaced the family-preference system. The bill did eliminate the chain migration green card categories, but replaced it with a system that would have awarded points, not just for skills and education, but also for extended family connections.

Second, the editorial board threw its support behind a proposal similar to the STAPLE Act -- a bill that would "staple" green cards to the diplomas of certain foreign students who graduate from U.S. colleges and universities.

Still, the focus on ending chain migration and adding that "family-based immigration account for about half of the total" of annual green cards is positive and a move in the right direction. That sentiment should spill over to the paper's coverage of the RAISE Act, introduced by Sens. Tom Cotton and David Perdue, that would end chain migration.

NumbersUSA was founded on the mission to reduce overall immigration numbers, including an end to Chain Migration. Ending Chain Migration was also a key recommendation of the last bipartisan commission for immigration reform chaired by the late Civil Rights icon Barbara Jordan. The Commission sought to reduce annual green card numbers to 550,000 primarily by ending Chain Migration and the Visa Lottery. The Cotton/Perdue RAISE Act would do exactly that -- end Chain Migration and the Visa Lottery.

Hopefully, more mainstream news outlets will follow USA Today's lead and expand the immigration debate to include a discussion over issues like chain migration. More examples like this could motivate the Trump administration to move reducing legal immigration up the priority list.

CHRIS CHMIELENSKI is the Director of Content & Activism for NumbersUSA

Chain Migration
visa lottery

Updated: Thu, May 11th 2017 @ 3:06pm EDT

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