I can only say “wow” and “amazing” – I’ve been an immigration legal practitioner for 30 years and never expected to see US immigration in the limelight and forefront that it now occupies in our national conversation! This is truly astounding! Since President Trump took the oath of office nearly two years ago (initially launching the Travel Ban, refusing to extend DACA, and, later, opting to end TPS for nationals of many qualifying countries, ending birthright citizenship, etc., just to name a few of the Trumpian initiatives), immigration has rapidly emerged to become the central topic in our country-even more prevalent than the state of the economy, trade, health care, the environment, etc.! Isn’t there something wrong with this picture – does it seem right?
POTUS said today before a rally in Florida that a vote for any Democrat on Tuesday will “destroy your jobs, slash your incomes, undermine your safety, and put illegal aliens before American citizens.” Really? Who could have foreseen this? Moreover, POTUS focused on the so-called caravan of immigrants from Central America slowly heading north through Mexico – which, I believe, was a product either of the Russian controlled social media or the Far Right! Come on, the timing is just too contrived and convenient to be considered legitimate. Clearly, someone or somebody set this up as a political incendiary device designed to implode just in time for the national elections! President Trump also said, “When you look a that caravan coming up – that’s not what we want.” “That’s not for us, folks,” he said. “They have to come in legally. They have to come in absolutely through a process and they have to come in through merit so they can help all the companies moving back to Florida and the United States.” In short, POTUS said that we need to “have a a great strong powerful border.” As a result, the press is reporting that U.S. militia groups are now planning to form their own caravan at the border to enforce our country’s immigration laws! Now, this is getting to be very serious-and quite frightening! What truly concerns me is that in the midst of this bizarre debate, many Americans tend to confuse and conflate legal with illegal immigration! They are not making the distinction and this is definitely worrisome and cause for concern. There is a difference!
The Silver Lining For US Immigration
On the other hand, however, we have learned that the Trump administration is now pushing for big, positive changes to our H-1B working visa Lottery System that represent very good news! According to reports, the administration plans on placing all H-1B applicants in the same “general pool” of 65,000 visas (which, by the way, is far too small considering the extreme need for foreign nationals in STEM occupations) Currently, H-1B applicants holding US master’s degrees (or higher) are placed in a visa pool limited to only 20,000. Essentially, this would lead to an increase in the number of H-1B visa holders with advanced degrees! Certainly, this will benefit the tech companies, especially large ones such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, IBM, etc. Still, this is far from enough to satisfy the tremendous demand for highly educated and skilled workers in our growing economy!
America Runs On Immigrants
Let’s face it: America Runs On Immigrants! Immigrants are truly good for the United States – whether it be in service occupations, farms, restaurants, health care, etc. – not to mention technology! Does anyone really think that our American farms can function without foreign workers? Who else will pick the vegetables and fruits in farms throughout the country? Who will work in service occupations? When my late mother suffered a severe hip fracture it was foreign nationals to the rescue – and they stood by her through her last days! Many studies have shown that immigrants work very hard, pay taxes, respect the law, educate their children here – and statistics show that most do not commit crimes – despite attempts to portray all foreign nationals as members of MS-13! That is really not the case when you take the time to look at the actual numbers and seriously study the facts!
They’ve All Come To Look For America
What is truly astounding is that despite all of this anti-immigrant hysteria, foreign nationals continue to see America as the land of opportunity – including those interested in investment, working for US companies, creatives, etc. Why? Because there has been a dramatic and very frightening shift to the right in many countries around the world including Brazil, Poland, the UK, France, Germany, etc. As a result, America continues to be extremely attractive – we have reduced our tax rate for corporations. And, EB-5 remains a terrific program enabling foreign nationals to obtain green card status relatively fast – especially for those from India and China which experience lengthy quotas! As Simon & Garfunkel, sang many years ago, and these words certainly continue to hold true today, “they’ve all come to look for America.”