Since its beginning, the current United States government has dehumanised immigrants for political gains by introducing brutal family detention policies, relaunching the border wall, abandoning ‘dreamer’ immigrants and dismantling protection for asylum seekers and refugees.
Immigration has been one of the main items on Donald Trump’s agenda since he took office on 20 January 2017. Now things are even worse, as shown by the plan to reform the country’s immigration system, which was recently made public.
He presented a bill focused on border security and a merit-based system for those wanting to live on North American territory.
During a speech at the White House, Trump explained, with his usual chauvinistic rhetoric, that if the proposal is adopted, the procedure will become the pride of the nation and the envy of the entire world.
According to the President, this initiative, which attracts criticism from various sides for not addressing the situation of 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, aims to radically modernise the currently dysfunctional process.
Trump suggested the creation of a points-based system, meaning that permanent residence on North American soil would be granted based more on professional merits and less on immigrants’ family ties.
He also added that command of the English language and civic responsibility would become essential requirements for people interested in coming to live in the country.
“Are they saying most of the people that come to the United States in the history of our country are without merit, because they don’t have an Engineering degree? (…) Are they saying that family is without merit?”, the democrat and House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, asked at a press conference.
“The biggest change we make is to increase the proportion of highly skilled immigration from 12% to 57%, and we would like to even see if we can go higher”, said Trump, an objective that will bring them in line with other countries and “make [them] globally competitive”.
Equally, he aims to reduce the number of people granted permanent residency based on family ties from 66% to 33%.
There will also be changes to the asylum system to ensure only justified requests are accepted. If there is no legitimate claim, they will quickly be sent home.
Anonymous sources have reported that the government intends to reduce the number of people granted residency for humanitarian reasons or through processes aimed at promoting the diversity of countries of origin from 22% to 10%. This variable could end the so-called visa lottery, which was created in 1990 and randomly assigns up to 50 thousand green cards a year to citizens from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.
Furthermore, the proposal includes a strong security package for the Mexican border that will be self-financed by commercial activity on the perimeter.
However, political analysts believe the possibility of the bill being passed is remote, even more so as the situation of young, undocumented immigrants (so-called ‘dreamers’) brought to the United States when they were children is not addressed. Not only does it leave them unprotected, but it downplays family unity and treats asylum seekers without dignity.
“This plan is a sabotage of our nation’s principals”, Julián Castro, a Democrat candidate in the upcoming elections, said in a statement. (PL)
(Translated by Rachel Hatt – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)