Perdue’s plan for immigration seeks to reduce the number of immigrants and refugees, separate families and freeze employment-based green cards. The Trump-backed plan would be disastrous for families. It would also have noticeable effects on businesses like agriculture, which relies heavily on immigrants.
His plan seeks to separate families by prioritizing “high-skilled foreigners” over the extended family members of people who are already here. Currently, there is also no provision for “Dreamers,” people who were brought to the U.S. as children, and in many cases, raised their entire lives living in American communities, going to American schools and working legally at American companies.
Perdue’s plan would cut the number of refugees allowed in annually by more than half and freeze the number of employment-based green cards at about 140,000, prioritizing immigrants who are experts in their fields and are fluent in English. It would also bar would-be immigrants from using welfare and other benefits for five years after immigrating.
Perdue’s plan would also kill the State Department’s Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, a lottery system that currently grants 50,000 people a year, 0.3 percent of applicants, the ability to move permanently to the U.S.
The bill won near-instantaneous rebuke from Democrats as well as earning some criticism from the GOP, since many businesses rely on immigrants. The AJC pointed out that “Even [Perdue’s] Georgia colleague, U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, has hedged on the proposal.”
“The president is not going to give up on this, by the way, and I’m not either,” said Perdue of his measure. “We’re moving behind the scenes to try to engage in some of those conversations,” he added.
Rather than making it their mission to tear families apart and block refugees from fleeing war and famine, our elected officials should be working on an immigration reform plan that provides a clear, affordable path to citizenship. Set aside, for a second, the fact that the U.S. is a country built by and for immigrants — and that’s a huge part of what makes our nation great. But even the most callous, so-called “fiscal conservatives” should agree that allowing an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants to come out of the shadows, work legally and start paying income taxes would be a massive boon to the economy. Aren’t Perdue and Trump supposedly good businessmen?