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The real immigration principles that House GOP leaders seem prepared to ignore


I hope House Republican leaders will surprise me and prove me wrong when they release their Immigration Principles that the news media have been hyping the last two weeks.

But from all the leaks from GOP aides and interviews from GOP leaders, I'm not seeing much sign that their principles will be "Ethical Principles."  I'm expecting instead to see "Expedient Principles" designed to meet various political goals, to please their corporate funders and to trick Republican back-benchers into supporting them.

Are these really principled "Principles" that the House Republican leaders have put together?  I've not heard a word that indicates their principles recognize the need to protect the most vulnerable citizens of our national community, for example. Again, I would love to be proven wrong.

Here's a short list of ethical principles that I believe should undergird all immigration policies. I propose these to inform the writing and the implementation of all policies having to do with both legal and illegal immigration. 

Whether you are a constituent or a Member of Congress, please tell me why any one of these should not be an honored principle. 


1. PROMOTES THE NATIONAL INTEREST:  Just as every other country has immigration policies to protect its own citizens, the purpose of U.S. immigration policy is to advance the national interest in benefitting the citizens of the United States. 

2. PROMOTES THE FAMILY:  U.S. citizens should be allowed to bring in immigrants through marriage and adoption, and new immigrants should be able to bring their spouse and minor children.

3. PROMOTES PRODUCTIVE CITIZENS:  Unless there is a compelling national interest to do otherwise, every part of an immigration policy should be designed to protect the ability of non-working Americans to obtain a job, and of those with jobs to earn promotions and raises for their contributions to society.

4. PROMOTES THE MOST DISADVANTAGED: Special attention should be devoted to ensuring that policies don't reduce incentives for employers to recruit and train workers from U.S. demographic groups with persistently high joblessness and poverty, including Black, Indigenous and Hispanic Americans, veterans, the disabled, young adults, the less-educated and ex-offenders.

5. PROMOTES ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY: Policies should expedite the immigration of foreign citizens with extraordinary skills whose presence creates economic opportunity for Americans while not violating the previous-stated principles.

6. MEETS COMPELLING HUMANITARIAN NEEDS:  Policies should reflect the national interest in providing for asylees, for a fair share of  internationally recognized special needs refugees with no long-term chance of return to home countries, and for  some immigration lawbreakers with compelling cases, provided other parts of immigration policies are adjusted to help offset the harm these humanitarian admissions may cause disadvantaged Americans.  

7. PROTECTS QUALITY OF LIFE, LIBERTY and SECURITY:  Since immigration policy, especially through its numerical level, can profoundly and quickly change a community, it should be set by deliberate actions, not by accident or acquiescence, with careful consideration to ensure that it does not adversely affect the quality of life, security or liberty of U.S. citizens and their communities.  

-- ROY BECK is Founder & President of NumbersUSA

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