American families are affected by changing immigration standards

Maria Duque/Staff Writer

Imagine studying for months to pass an exam and paying a fee of over $1000 – just to bring your parents home from Cuba.

As someone who works with immigrants, I have seen naturalized citizens scramble and spend money they don’t always have to bring their parents to live with them.  Now, proposed immigration changes will take away the rights of American citizens as much as the opportunities of hopeful immigrants. 

Republicans’ promises revolved around ending illegal immigration, but this plan, called the RAISE Act, is taking away already legal paths for potential immigrants. 

The act shifts the immigration system from a family-based to a merit-based one. It would dramatically reduce the number of family-based immigrants and asylees while increasing immigration based on skill and education.

The emphasis on skill is a reasonable aspect of the plan. It will give educated immigrants with no family ties in the country a way to enter and bring more skilled workers into the domestic workforce. 

But this is where the positives end. 

If skills were important to the Trump administration, the plan would increase the number of skilled immigrants allowed in while maintaining the volume of family petitions. Instead, it increases skill-based immigration at the expense of family migration.

The current petition system, which critics call “chain migration,” ensures that citizens have the right to live with their families. 

And we can’t forget that the measure that would be removed is the measure that allowed the First Lady’s parents to enter the country and become citizens recently. 

Even worse than limiting family petitions is the reduction of asylees allowed into the country. Considering Trump’s rhetoric against Nicolas Maduro and the support for Venezuelans that he proclaimed at our University in February, it is contradictory to limit humanitarian immigration. 

Trump and his supporters are targeting a particular group that they have determined are not worthy to enter the U.S. The emphasis on skill over family and humanitarian issues prioritizes immigrants from English speaking countries and clearly reflects the Trump administration’s biases against Latin American countries. 

Trump also promised to prioritize Americans and their jobs, but bringing in younger and educated immigrants will make the American job market even more competitive. Again, this indicates that the plan keeps out Latin American immigrants that Trump has so often spoken out against. 

Every new policy that this administration backs reinforces to Americans that our leaders are ready to turn away people fleeing from legitimate danger, as well as those legally joining their families, in the name of keeping out those they consider undesirable. 

Although the plan could benefit the American economy, it would send increasingly hostile messages to people who look, or looked, to the United States as a safe haven and a home for their families. 

 

DISCLAIMER:

The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.

Featured photo by Eduardo Merille on FIU Flickr.

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