Trump’s immigration proposal sounds nice, but he’ll probably let his supporters down again – Washington Examiner

There’s no reason for anyone to get excited about the White House’s “new” immigration proposal. If he treats it anything like he treated the nearly identical bill introduced two years ago by Sens. David Perdue, R-Ga., and Tom Cotton, R-Ark., President Trump will forget about it 10 days after it’s introduced.

White House officials have been dripping out details on the plan for two weeks, and so far it’s set to look more or less the same as the Perdue-Cotton plan. The main difference is that while that one sharply reduced legal immigration numbers, the White House one, hatched by senior adviser Jared Kushner, maintains the current level.

Otherwise, like the Perdue-Cotton bill, the crux of the “new” one is to put a priority on admitting foreigners who know English and have work skills. It will reportedly put more restrictions on who qualifies for asylum, which is very important, but it will also require that new immigrants pass some kind of dumb “patriotic assimilation” test.

Citing an unnamed “administration official,” the Washington Post reported Wednesday that green card applicants “would be required to pass an exam based on a reading of George Washington’s farewell address or Thomas Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptist Association.”

Literally anybody can memorize a speech or a letter. That is not what makes an American American. A more accurate assessment on a potential immigrant’s capacity and enthusiasm for assimilation would be to ask about their favorite (or least favorite) musicians or bands, favorite books, and favorite movies and actors. Do they watch “Big Brother” or “The Bachelor”? Have they seen “The Godfather”? Are they familiar with Oprah? How many strikes and you’re out? What’s their favorite NFL team?

And if they say they prefer soccer, they’re disqualified.

That’s a joke (sort of). But they should at least have a demonstrable knowledge and enjoyment of mainstream American culture.

Trump is the embodiment of an ideal 20th century secular American: Rich, famous, and influential. But I really don’t want to ask him to recite a George Washington speech from memory. Most Americans wouldn’t be able to do it.

The “new” White House proposal would use a type of scorecard to evaluate a candidate’s ability to contribute to society, such as their education level, their career field, and whether they have a job offer in the U.S. — preferably one with a high-paying salary.

That’s nice, but if the purpose is only to send a signal to Trump’s supporters ahead of 2020, and it is, this is a waste of time. Even Trump’s good friend Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Wednesday that the proposal is “not designed to become law.”

Trump is in the White House in large part because voters liked where he stood on immigration. He gave the issue a half-hearted effort during the first two years of his office, and if this “new” proposal is more of that, we can all ignore it.


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