Red Column: Modern Gateway for Immigration
By: Robert Barker
Trump’s Four Pillars
First Pillar: Path to citizenship for 1.8 million undocumented immigrants brought to the US by parents.
Second Pillar: Fully-secured border, building border wall on Southern border.
Third Pillar: End visa lottery, move to a merit-based immigration system.
Fourth Pillar: End “chain migration,” limiting sponsorships to spouses and minor children.
President Donald Trump introduced his vision of addressing the issue of illegal immigration at the January 30th State of the Union address. He renewed his call for a wall along the Southern border, called for legalization for 1.8 million undocumented immigrants, and announced the visa lottery system needs to be brought to an end. The President also called for limiting chain migration to spouses and minor children, originally it was the whole and extended family. It has the ability to extend past the family.
Immigration reform passed into law in 1986 placed new requirements on employers in an effort to reduce the incentives to illegal immigration, as part of the policy, some illegal immigrants who performed agricultural work were legalized. Illegal immigrants who entered the United States before January 1, 1982 and remained in the country were given legal status. They had to pay a fine, pay back taxes due, admit they immigrated illegally, and prove they had no criminal history. In addition, they needed to prove English language skills and knowledge of US History and Government. The measure passed the House of Representatives 283-173 and passed the US Senate on a 63-24 vote. This immigration reform had bipartisan support.
Once again, there’s discussion in America about extending citizenship to millions of illegal immigrants. Since 1986, millions have crossed the border illegally or overstayed legal, temporary stays. Our current system, despite the reforms of 1986, hasn’t done enough to bring our borders under control. A wall on the southern border and the end to chain migration will slow illegal inflows, allowing the US to get the immigration situation under control. Border enforcement was increased under the Obama administration, and the reduction in illegal immigration can be seen in the numbers from the last several years. There’s still more work to do.
President Trump was elected mainly because he said he would address the issue of illegal immigration. Trump received major support from Republican voters who wanted to see progress on this issue. Many Democrats and Republicans agree that increased border security (54 percent support), a path to citizenship for Dreamers (2 in 3 voters support this), and reforms such as a shift to merit-based migration (79 percent support) and end of the lottery system (68 percent support).
Democrats and Republicans have worked for over a decade to agree on a plan to address America’s illegal immigration problem. Each time a plan was making its way through the Congress, it failed to materialize in the passage of legislation. The American people are tired of waiting for Congress to solve the problem. The President’s leadership on this issue will help America to finally address the growing illegal immigration problem.