Digging into the Trump plan to cut immigration

The Migration Policy Institute published an analysis of the four point White House immigration plan of January 25. It wrote:

The Trump administration has proposed drastic cuts in legal immigration, unlike any seen since the Immigration Act of 1924, as part of its price tag to legalize the DREAMers

Family reunification:

Under the plan, Americans would lose the right to petition for their parents, adult or married children, or siblings to join them, allowing them only to reunite with spouses and minor children. [These account for 317,000 green cards issued in FY2016.] And legal permanent residents, who have had more limited ability to reunify with relatives, would no longer be able to petition for their adult children. The effects would be greatest for parents of U.S. citizens, who received 59 percent of the green cards [174,000 in 2016] in the categories slated for elimination under the White House proposal.

According to the State Department, as of November 1, 2017, there were 3.7 million individuals waiting in the categories listed for elimination.


The White House also is seeking to eliminate the diversity visa lottery, and repurpose those 50,000 green cards to reduce the family and employment-based backlogs. The lottery…is currently used primarily by nationals from countries in Africa, Central and Western Asia, and Eastern Europe.

Overall impact:

Together, these family-sponsored and diversity categories proposed for elimination made up one-third of all new green-card holders in fiscal year (FY) 2016. These cuts align with those proposed by the Trump-endorsed RAISE Act—whose authors estimated their bill would eventually lead to a 50 percent reduction in legal immigration.

While family-based and diversity visa applicants are not selected on the basis of high educational attainment, recent Migration Policy Institute (MPI) findings show that nearly half of all recent immigrants, through all streams, have a college degree—a significant increase over earlier arrivals and the U.S.-born population. Paradoxically, the ultimate effect of the White House’s proposed legal immigration changes would be to reduce immigration of highly skilled workers.

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