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Trump’s Latest Immigration Reform Bill Will Target Non-English Speakers

In what he’s calling “the most significant reform to the immigration system in half a century,” President Trump submitted a bill to the Senate today that would slash the number of green cards issued by half, prioritize English speakers and introduce a merit-based point system for applicants seeking green cards.

The Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) ACT was initially introduced in the Senate in April. The new proposals submitted today added harsher stipulations as to who receives the “golden ticket,” as Trump’s senior advisor for policy, Stephen Miller, referred to green cards during a White House press conference.

Currently, 1 million green cards are issued. Under the new policy, that number would be cut in half. Immigrants are eligible to apply for a green card through various categories, including through family members who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents or through employment. Green cards provide residency and work authorization to individuals, and also provide a fast track to citizenship, the ability to assist in immigrating family members and access to benefits afforded to citizens, like welfare services.

Under the new proposal, those seeking green cards would be ranked on a points system that would give higher priority to people who:

1. Speak English.

2. Have the ability to financially support themselves and their families.

3. Have a skill considered to contribute to the U.S. economy.

4. Are paid a high wage in their field. They would receive incremental points if their hiring company pays one, two, three, etc. times the median wage.

The updated bill also strictly limits “chain migration,” meaning the ability to assist relatives in immigrating to the U.S. Under the reform, people can only bring their spouse and a minor child/children to the U.S. Elderly relatives, siblings or other relatives would have to apply through the points system.

In today’s press conference, Miller said chain migration has lead to a large influx of unskilled migrants. As a result, immigrants are to blame for high unemployment rates amongst African-American, Hispanic and blue collar workers, as well as previous immigrants who have to compete with them for jobs. According to Miller, they are also to blame for companies paying low wages because they’re willing to work for less.

Miller did not provide any hard evidence or statistics when asked to do so during the press conference, and mostly relied on what he called “common sense.”

The current green card system also, according to Miller, costs tax payers since half of immigrant households receive welfare benefits.

This proposal falls in line with Trump’s campaign promises and, as Miller claims, reflects the desires of the American people.

“Maybe it’s time we have compassion for American workers,” Miller said in the press conference.

The proposal and Miller’s statements during the press conference caused an uproar on social media and among the journalists at the press conference.

CNN’s Jim Acosta accused the Trump administration of “trying to engineer the racial and ethnic flow of people into this country” by prioritizing English speakers. Acosta added that it goes against what is written on the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

Acosta said: “It doesn’t say anything [on the Statue of Liberty] about speaking English. Aren’t you trying to change what it means to be an immigrant coming into this country if you are telling them they have to speak English?”

That did not go over well. See the whole exchange below.

Credit: WH.gov 

It’s no doubt Latino immigrants would especially be affected by this new addition to the bill.

The Migration Policy Institute (MPI), a nonpartisan nonprofit that analyzes migration data and refugee policies, reports that in 2015, 45% of U.S. immigrants identified as Hispanic or Latino. That accounts for 19.5 million people. They also report that in the same year, the largest population with limited proficiency in English are Spanish speakers, who account for 64 percent of the U.S. population. Forty-nine percent of the 43 million immigrants in America in 2015 spoke little-to-no English. So it’s safe to say that Spanish speakers are especially being targeted by the new policy favoring English speakers.

The bill also discriminates against the elderly, who are less likely to earn merit points. It also directly targets Latinos as they make up a large portion of the workforce in the fields of hospitality, agriculture, and construction, which are widely considered as jobs in which unskilled immigrants are employed. In other words, migrant workers picking fruit in fields will have a much harder time attaining green cards as the new bill prioritizes immigrants with higher education levels and with careers that pay high wages.

As Miller put it, the bill ends “unskilled chain migration, but making sure great minds, inventors, innovators, scientists can come into the U.S.”

Trump’s administration assumes American citizens are willing to do the jobs immigrants have taken on. If this ill passes, we will see if that’s true, though many have heavy doubts.

Still, Miller insists public support for this bill is “immense” and challenged media outlets to poll their readers.

READ: President Trump Is Pushing Idea That MS-13 Is A Big National Threat

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9-Year-Old Migrant Girl Drowns While Trying to Cross the Rio Grande in the U.S.

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9-Year-Old Migrant Girl Drowns While Trying to Cross the Rio Grande in the U.S.

Photo via Getty Images

On March 20th, U.S. Border Patrol agents found a 9-year-old migrant girl unresponsive along with her mother and sibling on an island in the Rio Grande.

U.S. Border Patrol agents attempted to resuscitate the family. The agents were able to revive the mother and her younger, 3-year-old child. The Border Patrol agents transferred the 9-year-old migrant girl to emergency medics in emergency medics in Eagle Pass, Texas, but she remained unresponsive.

In the end, the 9-year-old migrant girl died–the cause of death being drowning.

The mother of the two children was Guatemalan while the two children were born in Mexico.

The death of the 9-year-old migrant girl is notable because this is the first migrant child death recorded in this current migration surge. And experts worry that it won’t be the last.

And while this is the first child death, it is not the only migrant who has died trying to make it across the border. On Wednesday, a Cuban man drowned while trying to swim across the border between Tijuana and San Diego. He was the second migrant to drown in just a two-week period.

Why is this happening?

According to some reports, the reason so many migrants are heading towards the U.S. right now is “because President Trump is gone”. They believe they have a better chance of claiming asylum in the U.S.

Another factor to take into consideration is that a large number of these migrants are unaccompanied minors. According to migrant services volunteer Ruben Garcia, Title 42 is actually having the opposite effect of its intent. President Trump enacted Title 42 to prevent immigration during COVID-19 for “safety reasons”.

“Families that have been expelled multiple times that are traveling with children,” Garcia told PBS News Hour. “Some of them are making the decision to send their children in by themselves, because they have families someplace in the U.S., and they know their children will be released to them.”

Is there a “border crisis”?

That depends on who you ask. According to some experts, the numbers of migrants heading to the U.S./Mexico border aren’t out-of-the-ordinary considering the time of year and the fact that COVID-19 made traveling last year virtually impossible.

According to Tom Wong of the University of California at San Diego’s U.S. Immigration Policy Center, there is no “border crisis”. “This year looks like the usual seasonal increase, plus migrants who would have come last year but could not,” Wong says.

As the Washington Post explained: “What we’re seeing right now is a predictable seasonal shift. When the numbers drop again in June and July, policymakers may be tempted to claim that their deterrence policies succeeded.”

What is the Biden Administration planning on doing about it?

As of now, it is pretty evident that the Biden Administration has not been handling this migrant surge well, despite ample warning from experts. As of now, President Biden has put Vice President Harris in charge of handling the issues at the border.

As of now, the game plan is still very vague. But in the past, the Biden Administration has stated that they plan to fix the migrant surge at the source. That means providing more aid to Central America in order to prevent further corruption of elected officials.

They also want to put in place a plan that processes children and minors as refugees in their own countries before they travel to the U.S. The government had not tested these plans and they may take years to implement. Here’s to hoping that these changes will prevent a case like the death of the 9-year-old migrant girl.

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Biden Administration’s Handling Of The Border Criticized By Both Sides Of The Aisle

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Biden Administration’s Handling Of The Border Criticized By Both Sides Of The Aisle

The Biden administration inherited more than an out of control pandemic when they got to work in January. The former administration also left the Biden administration an orchestrated crisis at the border. For some, President Joe Biden is not acting fast enough to fix the problem.

President Biden announced that Vice President Kamala Harris will lead the response to immigration at the border.

The approach, according to Politico, is going to be a two-pronged approach to effectively curb irregular immigration. First, the vice president will focus on stopping the migration journey by addressing the issues in the countries that people are fleeing. Particularly, Vice President Harris will be focusing on the issues in the Northern Triangle countries, which are El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

At the same time, the vice president will be working with the countries directly to solve the root problems. Vice President Harris will be working to strengthen the nation’s relations with Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

“I can think of nobody who is better qualified to do this,” President Biden told reporters at the White House.

There is a lot of talk about the U.S.-Mexico border right now from both Democrats and Republicans.

Bruno Lozano, the Democratic mayor of Del Rio, Texas, is calling on the Biden administration to take steps to curb the issue. Mayor Lozano was a guest on Fox News recently and spoke about what he saw as an influx of migrants coming into his town. Mayor Lozano told Fox News that the number of people coming to the border has strained Customs and Border Patrol in his city.

“You have a breach on national security levels that have never before been seen in modern history and you’re not even batting an eye about it, you’re not even calling it a ‘crisis‘, you’re calling it a quote-unquote challenge,” Mayor Lozano, told the New York Post on Sunday. “It’s a slap in the face.”

Some residents of Del Rio are critical of their local leaders shifting blame for their own shortcomings.

The brutal winter storm that recently shut down Texas depleted many municipalities of their resources. Residents in Del Rio are putting the blame on their local leaders who have tried to pass the buck. Weeks after the winter storm crippled Texas, grocery store shelves remained empty and residents felt overlooked.

Mayor Lozano has been pleading with President Biden to step up and help them deal with the influx of migrants. Del Rio has one processing center for migrants and the increase has left the city and the processing facility strained.

The Biden administration has faced backlash after photos of detention centers show people sleeping on floors.

There have been several reports that the Biden administration is building new places to hold migrants that have come to the border seeking asylum. The administration is currently taking in unaccompanied minors who are arriving at the border while preventing other migrants from crossing the border.

The Biden administration promised to change the approach to the border, but Title 42 has been left intact. Title 42, which was enacted by the former administration at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, keeps people from entering the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an order that invoked Title 42, which closed the border indefinitely due to public health concerns.

At the root of the attention is the claim that there is a surge of migrants.

Some Republican politicians are claiming that news of more lenient immigration laws is prompting a “surge” of arrivals. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California claims that what is happening is a “crisis … created by the presidential policies of this new administration.”

Yet, a Washington Post report debunks the idea that there is a sudden surge. Rather, what is happening, according to the report, is a usual seasonal trend. CBP has reported a 28 percent increase in apprehensions at the southern border in January and February but data shows an annual spike in migrants from March to May every year.

The issues on the border are complex and will require a lot of time and energy to handle effectively and compassionately. The Biden administration promised to tackle the complex issue of immigration during the campaign.

READ: Biden Is Counting On Mexico’s President To Help With Immigration But That’s A Risky Move

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