Duff Cooper once described Neville Chamberlain’s infamous deal with Hitler in 1938 as one that was skippered “through the language of sweet reasonableness,” and instead would have been better served by adopting the language, the action, the rationale “of the mailed fist.”
President Trump has found that the pressing issue of immigration is one that deserves the mailed fist. He’s tackling the issue head-on with the announcement of a point-based system for immigration.
It’s hard, but firm, and Trump knows it works. By concentrating on the rule of law, his method sidesteps arguments that play on the heartstrings. After all, it’s difficult not to be affected by narratives about helping the poor and oppressed who seek entry into the United States. America’s needs are no different from that of any other nation’s—be it Australia, New Zealand, or Canada. It does not need low-skilled workers, especially vis-à-vis undocumented migrants.
It only makes sense to ask that immigrants offer proportionate value in their future contributions as American residents in exchange for being taken in. The deal must be fair. Immigrants must also be aware that when they leave their homelands, they must embrace their new lives as Americans and not take with them backwards traditions incompatible with life in the United States.
It goes without saying that as a nation, America is unique. Built on the foundations of liberty, the expectations for living in the US are wildly different from many of the places from which immigrants come. In many ways, many of the nation’s first immigrants traveled to the United States to escape not only poverty and to seek better lives, but to remove themselves from the grips of religious and political tyranny. The same holds true today, as immigrants from impoverished nations seek not just political asylum in the United States, but economic freedom. Upward mobility is one of the many promises the US has to offer that few other countries do.
Those who immigrate are expected to embrace American values in their pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness; and it is the US Government’s duty to represent the interest of all Americans. However, thanks to the globalist efforts of the Democrats and the illiberal left, the average American is keenly aware that this hasn’t been happening. Were it up to them, America would no longer be for Americans.
Contrary to the narrative that permeates within politically correct echo chambers, undocumented migrants have soared in number to record highs. Following an initial dip in early 2017, the spike in illegal immigration reflects an uptick in both poverty rates and the proliferation of crime in Central America.
A point-based system like the one being proposed by the White House tackles one of the most obvious loopholes in current border enforcement programs. Currently, migrant families commit illegal entry because they realize the U.S. isn’t able legally to detain families traveling with children past the court mandate of 20 days. Trump’s proposed legislation would by law allow family detention up to 100 days, and thus disincentivize illegal immigrants from making the crossing.
In April 2019 alone, border enforcement agencies dealt with upwards of 40,000 minors among illegal immigrants, as per official Homeland Security statistics. The group of minors is not a monolith, with many in custody across a variety of different federal organizations. 13,000 minors—a figure predominantly consisting of older children and teenagers—are currently in custody of the Health and Human Services Department. These “children” traveled to the United States without adults and are now scattered throughout a variety of privately run shelters, including a former Walmart in Texas that was converted into a home for children. Jared Kushner’s proposal would see the United States retaining its cap of 1.1 million green cards, but would prioritize younger applicants who speak fluent English and are better educated than those who aren’t.
Under the proposed system, skills are key. Presently, only 12 percent of available visas are given to people based on this strict, but vital criterion. The plan is to raise the figure to 57 percent, reiterating the need to welcome individuals who can truly offer value to a society that’s at its best with only the best and brightest, who have the potential to add to the economic bottom line.
According to Julia Gelatt, a senior policy analyst for the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute, skilled and educated workers often fit into particular industry niches, with tailored, bespoke skillsets that are unlikely to act as a direct threat to American workers.
The nation deserves better, and the President knows it. It’s why he’s proposing it. In a sense, so too do the immigrants, who recognize that having little to offer isn’t going to be a good trade for their host country.
While it is understandable that people unhappy with their lot in life would want to try their luck in the United States, their efforts make it difficult for those more deserving of the opportunity. It may sound like an unsympathetic thing to say about low-skilled immigrants, but the reality is that both skilled workers and the United States loses out when it gives room to those who cannot contribute as much as they receive in return.
It’s a move designed to open America’s arms to self-sufficient individuals who can live without being a burden on the rest of society; who show the willingness to embrace American ideals while leaving their baggage at home, just like the early immigrants.
Furthermore, by rooting the proposal in the rule of law Trump removes the emotional calculus from immigration policy and refocuses it where the rest of the world does—on the benefit to the host country. Outside of Europe, anyway.
As it stands, there are too many low-skill workers in the United States, far outnumbering their highly skilled counterparts, whom America is in dire need of. Smart immigration policies would target the fields we need to make America great again.
The President’s announcement is a move toward an adjustment of our goals to reflect this very need. Other countries already do this; we are the world’s biggest economy, and need an immigration policy to support it.
Saurav Dutt is an author, lawyer and political columnist. He writes for the IB Times, The Times of Israel and his commentary has been featured in TIME magazine, The Spectator and The Times of India. He writes on geopolitical issues, security, governance and political risk.