President Trump’s promotion of immigration reform on Wednesday sent critics and much of the media into a whirlwind despite the fact that what he proposed is common in many parts of the world.
The new system, contained in a Senate Bill, would replace the current system which is largely based on extended family ties. The proposed bill prioritizes education, English language proficiency, age, vocational skills and high-paying job offers as well as considering any criminal record and possible national security risks.
“The idea of using a point system to select immigrants is a completely conventional idea,” Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Immigration Studies, said.
The proposal resembles policies in Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea and the United Kingdom.
But just like with everything else the President has done so far, it didn’t take long for the critics to give their two cents.
“Once again White Nationalists are pushing their ethnic cleansing agenda, scapegoating immigrants for their own inability to create a labor market that works for everyone,” Sulma Arias, a spokesperson for the Fair Immigration Reform Movement, said in a statement.
“Today’s announcement … is a direct attack on all immigrants, on our legal immigration system, and on one of the core principles that drives immigration — family reunification.”
Supporters of the bill stressed how mainstream the proposed policy is.
“How you pick the immigrants is a separate question from how many people you take,” Krikorian said. “It is just a scurrilous lie to say that somehow is it racist to use a point system to select immigrants,” he said.
NumbersUSA said the bill reflects popular sentiments.
“Our polling confirms that American voters overwhelmingly want far less immigration because they know mass immigration creates unfair competition for American workers,” Roy Beck, the group’s president, said in a statement.
“Seeing the President standing with the bill’s sponsors at the White House gives hope to the tens of millions of struggling Americans in stagnant jobs or outside the labor market altogether.”