California Sen. Kamala Harris denounces the perceived “hierarchies”of immigrants the plan would impose
AS reported by the Asian Journal last week, the Trump administration unveiled its new immigration plan that focuses on curbing the influx of new immigrants by way of a more restrictive “merit-based” system.
In an uncharacteristically softer tone, Trump addressed the growing problem with the country’s current immigration program, noting that “we want immigrants coming in [and] we cherish an open door, but a big proportion of those immigrants should come in through merit and skill.”
Through this plan, nearly 4 million people would be wiped out of the waiting list for a green card, a process that could take decades. More than a quarter of those people are of Asian descent, and nearly 314,000 of those are Filipinos, according to State Department stats.
“Trump’s immigration plan would hurt Filipino immigrants, who rely heavily on the family-based visas that Trump wants to slash. Filipino Americans stand with the more than 30,000 Filipinos waiting to be reunited with their families — some for as long as 23 years,” Western Regional Press Secretary & Director of AAPI Media at the DNC John Santos said in a statement sent to the Asian Journal. “Instead of continuing to push his xenophobic immigration policies, Trump should join Democrats in working to fix our broken immigration system.”
Democrats on The Hill also condemned the president’s plan, including 2020 presidential hopeful Sen. Kamala Harris of California, who is half Indian.
“We cannot allow people to start parsing and pointing fingers and creating hierarchies among immigrants,” Harris said at a meeting with AAPI leaders in Las Vegas. “The beauty of the tradition of our country has been to say, when you walk through the door, you are equal.”
Other elements of the proposal include doubling down on the border wall construction, regulating the flow of lower-wage workers as a way to protect Americans’ incomes and limit the asylum system. Some of those qualified immigrants who would be fit within the merit-based system include laborers for important American industries,
The proposal does not address any pathway to citizenship for young undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, commonly known as DREAMers.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also criticized the proposal as one of “the worst” of Trump’s immigration policy proposals, noting that the plan has little chance of making it through the House.
“The White House has repackaged the worst of its past failed immigration plans: greenlighting the Administration’s barbaric family detention policies, reviving the president’s ineffective and wasteful wall, completely abandoning our patriotic and determined DREAMers and gutting our asylum and refugee protections” Pelosi said in a statement.
Pelosi also scrutinized the proposal’s mandate that would cut family reunification programs, questioning what the president defines as an immigrant with “merit.”
“It is really a condescending word. They’re saying family is without merit?” Pelosi told reporters last week. “Certainly we want to attract the best to our country, and that includes many people from many parts of society. So we’ll see what values are reflected there. We’ve only heard titles like merit, which is non-merit. It means merit in the eyes of Donald Trump.” (Klarize Medenilla/AJPress)