Family-based immigration has ‘merit,’ too
By Laura Wides-Muñoz
In the debate over which and how many immigrants to welcome into the United States, the White House has set up a clear contrast between immigrants with “merit” and those with family connections. The first category incorporates “people who are skilled, who want to work, who will contribute to our society, and who will love and respect our country,” as President Trump laid out in his State of the Union address. The second category, the administration claims, encompasses low-skilled workers who put downward pressure on wages and increase the budget deficit while fueling gang violence and terrorism.
Framed that way, it seems obvious that the United States should curtail what Trump calls “chain migration,” in which U.S. citizens and green-card holders can sponsor family members living abroad to come here, too. Indeed, when the Harvard-Harris Poll asked registered voters last month, “Do you think immigration priority for those coming to the U.S. should be based on a person’s ability to contribute to America as measured by their education and skills or based on a person having relatives in the U.S.?” nearly 80 percent chose skills and education over blood.
But the idea that immigrants with family ties in the United States don’t have skills and don’t contribute is among the many misconceptions about the impact of immigration on this country.
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