New Trump Immigration Order Does What Congress Rejected In 2018

The pandemic as opportunity. Good explanation of what is covered and what is not covered:

Donald Trump has issued a proclamation that would block indefinitely immigrants in categories the administration failed to eliminate in a bill before the U.S. Senate in February 2018. Economists consider the justification for the president’s action devoid of serious analysis and unconvincing. U.S. citizens will no longer be able to obtain immigrant visas for a parent, adult child or sibling, and the proclamation contains a lit fuse in the form of a 30-day review of H-1B and other temporary visas. In effect, the Trump administration has used the COVID-19 crisis to rewrite immigration law without passing a bill through Congress.

The presidential proclamation contains nearly identical provisions on legal immigration to those of a White House-designed bill the U.S. Senate rejected on February 15, 2018, which it voted down on a “cloture motion” 60-39.

The legislation, like the proclamation issued on April 22, 2020, would have eliminated the ability of U.S. citizens to sponsor a parent, as well as adult children and siblings (the family preference categories). It also ended the Diversity Visa lottery. (See page S1036 here.) The U.S. unemployment ratein February 2018 was only 4.1% when the administration attempted to stop immigrants from entering the United States in the same categories as were included in the April 22, 2020, presidential proclamation.

Originally, based on early discussions, the 2018 legislation was to represent a compromise between Democrats and Donald Trump to provide permanent legal protection for individuals brought to America as children, particularly those granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). However, press reports indicate White House adviser Stephen Miller intervened to ensure any administration-supported bill contained a “wish list” of immigration restrictions that Democrats would be unlikely to support. Miller is credited with drafting the new proclamation.

“Congress considered and rejected legislation that would have cut the same family-based visa categories that President Trump targets in the executive order,” said Lynden Melmed, a partner at Berry Appleman & Leiden and former chief counsel for USCIS, in an interview.

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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