aside Republican Senators Cotton And Perdue Are Looking to Cut Back On Legal Immigration, Bigly

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When the republican President Donald Trump’s Chief of Staff General John Kelly recently attended a meeting with the US Congressional Spanish Caucus members, he said something that raised my hackles. He advised them to work with the republican Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue instead of the senators who had been working on a bipartisan plan for democrats to sign onto the republicans’ budget proposal. This included an extension of protections for the Daca program (the program that protects young peoples from deportation who came to the USA as children with undocumented parents and who know no other country) as well as funding for CHIP (a health insurance program for poor children) and aid for Puerto Rico where a large number of American citizens still do not have power after 2 major hurricanes.

This was like asking the sheep to negotiate with the wolves. It can be argued that General Kelly’s anti-immigration bias has been coloring his judgment to where he has been an impediment to a resolution between the republicans and the democrats. The two senators Cotton and Perdue, also with strong anti-immigration sentiments have worked on a bill to cut back on LEGAL IMMIGRATION. (See below article.)

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This tells me that the chaotic reality TV show that we have been watching with the President Trump, his staffers, republicans in the US Congress in the starring roles, leading democrats into the abyss of a government shut down, has really been about the White House and others wanting to cut back big time on legal immigration.

Pay attention to the republicans latest demands which is to end chain immigration, which translates into certain family members being NO LONGER reunified with those living in the USA; and to end the  Diversity Visa Lottery, a cut back on immigrants from certain parts of the world.

What this really means, is that the hard-line anti immigrant proponents who have the president’s ear like the president’s Chief of Staff General John Kelly, the president’s senior adviser Stephen Miller and Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) want to limit legal immigration bigly to where they may very well have fantasies of using the DACA dreamers as pawns to further passage of their anti-legal immigration legislation.

An indication of the republicans duplicitous intent occurred when the republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell shut down a motion by Senator Claire McCaskill to make sure our military heroes were paid during this shutdown as was done during the 2013 US government shut down.

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There is no better time than right now to pass DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program). Democrats remember that the Hispanic base will be motivated to come out to vote in 2018 (See: Hispanic Voting Power Swells to Record for 2016, Pew Study /Bloomberg)

Why should the democrats be forced to sign off on the US House’s republicans’ short term one month CR bill which includes the republicans’ arbitrary Sophie’s choice option with it, the funding for CHIP (healthcare for children of working parents) when Democrats had also been asking for at a minimum, funding/ fix for DACA, (protections from deportation for young peoples who came to US as young children with undocumented parents but who know no other country); CHIP; and emergency aid to Puerto Rico? Instead , the democrats are being forced to decide which children should be saved.

Democrats need to stand firm on DACA while getting their message out to the public. The facts are on the side of the democrats who want to base immigration policy on facts, credible empirical data to counter republicans hard-line anti-legal immigration sentiments. (See:Fact check: Immigration doesn’t bring crime into U.S., data say | PBS …/ or See:Trump’s claim that immigrants bring ‘tremendous crime’ is still wrong …/ Washington Post

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Here’s the rest of the story…

On January 18, 2018, Ronald Brownstein of the Atlantic penned the following report, ‘The Purpose of This From the Beginning Has Been to Cut Legal Immigration’ (Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue claim their bill would increase the number of high-skilled immigrants in the United States. But it would do the opposite.)


“President Trump and his Senate allies are now presenting their goal for immigration reform as increasing the number of high-skilled immigrants allowed into the United States. But the immigration legislation from Senators Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia that Trump has endorsed would almost certainly reduce the total number of high-skilled immigrants.” (See: 3 Reasons Why Immigrants Are Key To Economic Growth – Forbes  or Immigrants Are Making the U.S. Economy Stronger – Bloomberg

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“That stark contradiction has been overshadowed by reports that Trump used a vulgarity to describe immigrants from Africa and Haiti during a private White House meeting last week—and by the widely disputed accusation from Cotton and Perdue, who attended, that their colleague Dick Durbin lied when he recounted the president’s language.”

“But by trumpeting high-skilled immigration, Trump, Cotton, and Perdue are also obscuring the most significant impact of their proposal: a 50 percent cut in legal immigration. Within that smaller pool of immigrants, high-skilled workers could very well comprise a larger share than they do now. But if that shift were to happen, it would only be because immigration levels would fall even faster for those who are lower-skilled.”

“They are not talking about immigrating 1 million scientists and engineers,” said Stuart Anderson, the executive director of the National Foundation for American Policy and a former immigration aide to two Republican senators. “It’s completely untrue that it would bring in more skilled immigrants. The purpose of this from the beginning has been to cut legal immigration.”

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“In 2016, the United States admitted nearly 1.2 million legal immigrants. They mostly fall into four big categories: those who are sponsored by employers (about 140,000 annually); refugees and asylum seekers (160,000); those admitted through a diversity lottery (around 50,000); and the relatives of American citizens and legal permanent residents (about 800,000).””The Cotton and Perdue bill that Trump has embraced would limit refugee admissions to 50,000 annually, terminate the diversity lottery, and severely reduce family-based immigration. U.S. citizens could still sponsor spouses and minor children in unlimited numbers, though the age limit for eligible children would be lowered. And legal permanent residents could sponsor those relatives up to an annual cap. But almost all other forms of family reunification—or “chain migration,” as conservatives call it—would be eliminated: Neither citizens nor permanent residents could sponsor their adult children or siblings.” 
“The 140,000 employment slots include workers’ immediate families. On average, that means only about 70,000 workers are admitted through this category. Increasing the share of workers with a college degree might enlarge the number of skilled immigrants the United States admits by a few thousand. But any such gain likely would be overwhelmed by the number of skilled immigrants the bill would exclude by retrenching other categories, especially family and diversity immigration.”
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“Those two categories alone could face a combined reduction approaching 300,000 in the bill’s first year.””The Migration Policy Institute has calculated that nearly half of all immigrants admitted in the past five years have a college degree. Even if the numbers are lower for family members or diversity participants—that precise data isn’t available—the likelihood is that the bill would exclude many more college graduates by shutting those doors than it opens on the employment side.”“If you are thinking about the number of college graduates who would be getting green cards each year, that number would go down,” said Julia Gelatt, a senior policy analyst at MPI.””The Trump administration has also indicated it is considering administrative changes that would make it harder for high-skilled immigrants to remain in the United States under the tech-focused H-1B program, and harder for foreign students to work in the country temporarily after graduation. “Their entire regulatory agenda is to have fewer high-skilled people work in the U.S., especially in the long term,” Anderson said.”
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“But despite its supporters’ rhetoric, the Cotton-Perdue bill wouldn’t increase the 140,000 visas available for employment-based immigration. Instead, it would shift those slots out of the current framework—where specific employers sponsor specific workers—and into a new points system, which ranks prospective immigrants on such qualities as their education and English proficiency. The sponsors’ claim that the bill would increase skilled immigration is based almost entirely on the possibility that this point-based approach would admit more highly educated immigrants than the existing employer system.””The bipartisan immigration-reform plan the Senate approved in 2013 offers a revealing contrast to the Trump agenda. “
“That bill—which passed with support from every Senate Democrat and 14 Senate Republicans before House Republicans killed it—eliminated three categories of non-employment immigration: siblings, married adult children, and the diversity lottery. But it shifted the visas it eliminated into a new merit-based system that supplemented the employer-sponsorship track, rather than replacing it as Cotton and Perdue’s bill would. Unlike the new legislation, the 2013 Senate plan actually would have admitted more high-skilled immigrants.”

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“Cotton has signaled he might agree to transfer some of the family-based slots he would eliminate into skills-based immigration. But as long as he’s attempting to slash overall legal-immigration levels—at a time when the country will need more workers to fund Social Security and Medicare for its growing senior population—he’s unlikely to find many takers among Democrats or even centrist Republicans. The 2013 precedent shows there’s a path to bipartisan agreement on shifting the balance of new immigrants more toward those with high skills—but not if the real goal remains locking out as many future immigrants as possible.”

Related Article: The GOP’s Not-So-Cunning Plan to Blame a Shutdown on DemocratsNY Magazine 1/14/ 2018


  1. Gronda, in normal governance, Cotton and Perdue can raise the issue of reduced immigration. Yet, they decide to work with the President to use sleight of hand. We now know Cotton and Perdue’s names as more than sycophants. They lied twice to cover the President’s racism and demeaned Senator Durbin. What they did is far from ethical. Keith

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  2. Dear Keith,

    Senators Cotton and Perdue have crossed a line where I, for one would never take anything they said at face value. Their anti-immigration bias is showing and it is determining policy which is NOT based on sound credible empirical data. For economic growth, legal immigration needs to be increased. It is a lie that immigrants are responsible for additional criminal activity. They have done real harm and on top of that, they are flat wrong.

    Hugs, Gronda


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