Last week many media outlets began frantically spreading the White House’s new immigration plan using dramatic headlines. Their idea was to attract more visitors to their sites, but they left out an essential aspect of this news: the president’s new immigration plan has no chance of becoming law. Thus, many media outlets momentarily gained followers, but were used to persecute a vulnerable community, the undocumented.
Since it was presented on , the immigration plan that was designed by Jared Kushner, son-in-law and advisor to Donald Trump, has received multiple criticisms. This is because it does not offer any solution for the 11 million undocumented people who are already in the United States. Moreover, it discards family reunification as a guiding principle of the immigration system, replacing it with a
merit-based system that favors immigrants who are highly qualified or have a lot of money.
The president’s attack on the principle of family unity, which he calls
chain immigration, is not new; however, this is nothing more than the process of
family reunification that was officially introduced in 1965 when the Immigration and Nationality Act was passed.
Before this law, the U.S. immigration system was based on quotas per country, which primarily favored European immigrants. The Immigration and Nationality Act changed this, giving priority to the arrival of immigrants who had family ties with U.S. citizens or with legal permanent residents.
Although for decades the Republican Party has preached the importance of family values, and although many conservative leaders see Trump as a defender of Christian principles, the president is not a person characterized by defending family unity. It is no secret that the eccentric millionaire has had trouble honoring his wedding vows (after two divorces and several sex scandals). In addition, his
zero tolerance plan implemented last year at the border made the forceful separation of children from their parents a state policy.
In practice, there is a paradox that the White House does not want to see: an immigration system based on family ties and a system based on
merit are not mutually exclusive. According to data from the American Immigration Council, those who come to the United States with a family visa (mainly in cases of parents and siblings) have a high rate of self-employment and receive higher incomes than other groups.
On the other hand, if legal immigration is restricted by placing barriers to family unity, this would make the United States a less attractive country for highly qualified immigrants, who also have families.
This plan has been rejected by legislators from both parties, thus analysts believe it has little chance of becoming law, especially now that the House of Representatives has a Democratic majority.
As a prelude to next year’s elections, Trump continues to use the media (including many Spanish-language media outlets) to spread his fallacies about immigrants, repeatedly using the publicity trick of generating controversy and running away from solutions. Trump is using this immigration bill (and some media) as a vehicle to reassure his anti-immigrant base and to scare the undocumented, knowing full well that this will not become law.