Jared Kushner’s dreaded immigration plan is set to be released soon, and everybody will likely hate it.
The deal and its specifics have not yet been released, but Kushner’s plan is expected to grant more guest worker visas, increase border security, and clamp down on chain migration. It will also reportedly emphasize “merit-based” immigration. The plan’s details have irritated both immigration patriots and immigration boosters. Groups such as NumbersUSA see the plan as a gift to the cheap labor lobby, which doesn’t reduce immigration numbers. [Jared Kushner wades into the immigration debate, with little to show so far, by Molly O’Toole and Noah Bierman, Los Angeles Times, May 13, 2019]
Liberal immigration boosters see it as an “anti-immigration” deal that will alienate Democrats.
This is good news for immigration patriots. This proposal has little chance of passage and looks pointless. It is also less sinister than what some, including the Watcher, thought it may look like just a few months ago. It does not increase immigration levels, it only keeps them at the current rate. It does not offer any form of amnesty. It also includes positive reforms such as restrictions on chain migration and more money for border security. The plan may also include mandatory e-Verify. [White House may include mandatory E-Verify in immigration proposal, by Ted Hesson and Anita Kumar, Politico, May 9, 2019] In early March, it looked like the plan would just increase immigration without any hint of immigration patriotism.
It’s not ideal that Trump wants to screw over American workers with foreign replacements. Yet, it is still good that he and his administration have not totally abandoned immigration patriotism.
If the deal looks dead on arrival, then what’s the point of it?
One theory is that it’s a gambit for the 2020 campaign. Sen. Lindsey Graham, a long-time advocate of mass immigration, thinks this plan will unite the GOP on immigration. [Inside Jared Kushner’s two missions impossible, by Eliana Johnson, Politico, May 13, 2019]
The plan also has the goal of making Trump and Republicans look sensible when compared to Democratic extremism. “My only running theory is that they know this isn't going to pass and that it's really just there to help the president with the upcoming election to show that he has a picture and a vision for the future of our immigration system," Migration Policy Institute scholar Sarah Pierce told US News. "And that really plays against the weaknesses of Democrats, because Democrats haven't put out any sort of vision of what the future of the immigration system is." [An Unsatisfying Immigration Proposal, by Claire Hansen, US News, May 10, 2019]
That is not good news for immigration patriots. Trump ran and won on a plan that implicitly would have reduced immigration and explicitly put Americans first. The president also endorsed the restrictionist RAISE Act in his first year of office. This current plan favors corporate interests over American workers and is no RAISE Act.
Worst is the dismissive attitude Trump officials show for immigration patriots in these negotiations. One senior administration official told Politico that immigration restrictionists were a “pretty fringe group” and not “an important part of the president’s base.”
That’s a vile lie. If the President wants to win election, he should drop the Kushner plan in favor of the RAISE Act. It’s the only plan that puts America First—the slogan Trump won on.