But this is trump we're talking about. So the plan he's backing is obviously fucked up to begin with. Via Tom Gjelten at the Atlantic:
The bill’s proposed changes are certainly significant, but their consequences may not be easily predicted. The key lesson of the 1965 reforms is that social engineering through the adjustment of immigration policy is no simple matter—and almost any such effort will produce dramatic, unintended consequences...
The 1965 Act overturned a longstanding policy of allocating immigrant visas on the basis of national origin, whereby people from northern and western Europe were given highly preferential treatment over those from southern and eastern Europe, the Mediterranean, Africa, or Asia. Once people of all backgrounds were given a roughly equal opportunity to move to the United States, the flow of immigrants changed dramatically.
At the time the Act was passed, arriving immigrants were almost entirely white and European. Fifty years later, nine of 10 newcomers were from outside Europe, and—to the consternation of Miller and other immigration critics—their share of the American population was nearing an all-time high...
The legislation introduced by Cotton and Perdue and enthusiastically supported by the White House would aim to cut legal immigration to the United States by half, mainly by severely restricting the allocation of legal permanent residence status (green cards) on the basis of family ties...
The priority instead would be immigrants who score “points” as a result of their ability to speak English, their income prospects, and their marketable job skills. During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump promised to select immigrants “based on their likelihood of success in U.S. society” and their ability “to successfully assimilate...”
For starters, how does any of this improve our situation with illegal immigration? What is happening here goes against the LEGAL kind, which is, you know, supposed to be a good thing.
By cutting back on the number of legal arrivals, this merely shifts the burden back onto illegals getting into the country, something that had been decreasing over the past decade. People are coming to the United States because of better opportunities and relative safety, and that's not going to stop by making the rules harder.
Second, the standards trump and the other anti-immigrant Republicans want to set up are impossible to meet. Requirements such as fluency in English AND a Master's Degree in STEM (Science/Engineering) AND a paying salary that puts you in the upper income bracket would winnow out the vast majority of under-educated immigrants we already get.
But being under-educated isn't a problem for immigrants: In fact, studies show that immigration overall boosts the economic conditions - and education access - for native Americans (um, not the Native natives, sorry, but the long-standing Euro-Caucasians). So weeding down the number of immigrants would have a chilling effect.
Just try to remember one other thing: Everything trump touches turns to shit. His obsessive anti-immigrant push can easily collapse on itself... especially since Congressional Republicans know full well that most Americans support improvements to immigration not restrictions.
This is still a scary situation. We're still a nation under the whims of a fearful uneducated White Republican voter base. This is one more thing to add to the daily phone calls to Congress to stop any erosion to the American Dream.