Immigration Reform to Put America First
An immigration system that prioritizes the needs of Americans and our nation.
America First Policies believes our immigration system should serve the interests of American citizens and legal residents. Immigration to the U.S. is a privilege, not a right, and we should admit legal immigrants and non-immigrant temporary workers who share our values, speak our language and have the education and skills to contribute to the betterment of our nation and our people. We should eliminate the outdated “diversity visa lottery” system that awards visas simply on the basis of geography. Chain migration, which awards visas on the basis of extended family connections, should be replaced with a merit-based system that prioritizes education, skills and English language proficiency. We can increase wages and opportunities for American citizens and legal residents by reducing the overall level of legal immigration from the current level of approximately one million a year. A continuing inflow of high numbers of low-skill immigrants depresses wages for those most vulnerable, who are at the bottom end of the wage scale, and disproportionately minorities and recent immigrants. The H1B visa program and similar non-immigrant temporary worker programs should be reformed to prevent their abuse by employers to depress wages, limit opportunities and replace Americans and lawful residents in IT and other fields with lower paid foreign-born labor. Congress should replace the arbitrary and unconstitutional Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, created by presidential order in the previous administration, with a statutory program providing for a lawful, long-term solution.
The United States currently admits about one million legal immigrants a year. In contrast, in 1980, 530,639 people were granted permanent lawful residence status in the U.S. https://cis.org/Immigration-Statistics-Data-Portal
In 2016, 1,183,505 people were granted lawful permanent residence status. Of those, nearly half (565,255) are listed as having “no occupation/not working outside home.” https://www.dhs.gov/immigration-statistics/yearbook/2016/table8
Studies show that an influx of large numbers of low-skill workers can depress the wages of comparable workers. https://cis.org/Report/Immigration-and-American-Worker
The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (DV Program), or diversity visa lottery, makes up to 50,000 immigrant visas available annually, drawn from random selection among all entries to individuals who are from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. The program is administered by the U.S. Department of State. https://www.uscis.gov/greencard/diversity-visa
“Chain migration” allows a legal immigrant to sponsor the entry of extended family members, who themselves can then sponsor members of their extended families. https://web.archive.org/web/20090603213642/http://travel.state.gov/visa/frvi/bulletin/bulletin_4497.html
Family-based chain migration accounts for nearly 50 percent of all new legal immigrants admitted to the U.S. in recent years. https://cis.org/Report/Immigration-Multipliers
Other immigrant-receiving countries including Canada and Australia use a point system in which potential immigrants are “graded” on the basis of their education, age and English-language skills, and those who pass the test are granted admission. http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-29594642
In 2016, the U.S. admitted 3,896,674 temporary workers and their families, including 534,365 individuals through H1B temporary work visas. https://www.dhs.gov/immigration-statistics/nonimmigrant
Information from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the federal agency that oversees the H-1B program, shows that major outsourcers, largely based in India, are obtaining the lion's share of the 85,000 H-1B visas issued each year. https://www.infoworld.com/article/3004501/h1b/proof-that-h-1b-visa-abuse-is-rampant-in-tech.html
The leading American companies using the H-1B program pay their H-1B workers far below the average wages in information technology. https://www.epi.org/publication/congressional-testimony-the-impact-of-high-skilled-immigration-on-u-s-workers-4/
DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is a use of prosecutorial discretion to defer removal action against certain people who came to the United States as children. https://www.uscis.gov/archive/consideration-deferred-action-childhood-arrivals-daca
California, Florida, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, and Texas account for approximately 59 percent of the illegal immigrant population according to Pew.
“Lies, Damned Lies and Immigration Statistics,” George Borjas National Review 2016, https://www.nationalreview.com/2016/01/immigration-statistics-mariel-boatlift-low-skill-wages/
The Wage Impact of the Marielitos: A Reappraisal, George Borjas Harvard University, October 2015.
“LaborEcon, Common sense on immigration and other labor market issues,” a blog of George Borjas, Robert W. Scrivner Professor of Economics and Social Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. He is regarded as America’s leading immigration economist. https://gborjas.org/
“We Wanted Workers, Unraveling the Immigration Debate,” George Borjas, Harvard Kennedy School, W.W. Norton & Company 2017, http://books.wwnorton.com/books/We-Wanted-Workers/
Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) Act, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Sen. David Perdue (R-GA), https://www.cotton.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=765
“Trump Sets Up a Grand Bargain on Immigration,” New York Times February 2, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/02/opinion/trump-immigration-dreamers.html
“The Impact of High-Skill Immigration on U.S. Workers,” Testimony by Ron Hira, Associate Professor of Public Policy at Howard University before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest of the Judiciary Committee March 1, 2016, https://www.epi.org/publication/congressional-testimony-the-impact-of-high-skilled-immigration-on-u-s-workers-4/