The Washington Post reports that President Donald Trump is “changing the face of legal immigration.” It’s a minor makeover, at best.
The number of people receiving visas to move permanently to the United States is on pace to drop 12 percent in Trump’s first two years in office, according to State Department data.
These decreases represent a gentle shift away from the Obama era, when immigrant visas jumped 33 percent, surging to 617,752 in fiscal 2016.
“The history of immigration policy in the United States is one of ebbs and flows,” a White House official told the Post. “Yet in recent years, the U.S. has [had]record immigration without any consideration of this influx’s impact on American workers or wages.”
There hasn’t been much ebbing lately. It’s been pretty much flowing at greater and greater rates for the past 40 years.
New lawful permanent residents (green-card holders) soared from 297,000 in 1965 to an average of about 1 million each year since the mid-2000s. The foreign-born population rose from 9.6 million to 45 million in 2015, according to the Pew Research Center.
Despite alarmist rhetoric from the open-borders lobby, the Trump administration will still be issuing more immigrant visas than Obama did in earlier years of his presidency.
While visas granted to people from Mexico, the Dominican Republic, the Philippines, China, India, Vietnam, Haiti, Bangladesh, Jamaica, Pakistan and Afghanistan have declined under Trump, among the 10 countries that send the highest number of immigrants, only El Salvador is projected to receive more visas: an increase of 17 percent.
The top 10 sending countries, which have unfairly benefited from family chain migration, account for about 60 percent of all green cards. Correcting that imbalance will inevitably affect those who have benefited from it disproportionally.
The Post noted that “visa backlogs and processing times are so extensive that even a significant drop in applicants is unlikely to put a major dent in the same year’s immigrant visa issuances.”
Immigration enthusiasts have nothing to worry about. America has years of backlogged visas in the pipeline. This is all the more reason to slow down; the U.S. has been approving applications far faster than it can issue green cards.
President Trump, and the voters who elected him, recognize that America needs a breather from decades of breakneck immigration that has vastly expanded the welfare state, distorted the job market and strained the environment. The sooner Congress enacts sustainable immigration laws, the better.
Bob Dane writes for the Federation for American Immigration Reform.