- - Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Why enact a law or write an executive order to reform a broken immigration system when a poem will do? President Trump endorsed new immigration legislation Wednesday, moving to a merit-based system, and it was greeted with predictable cries and squeals from advocates of open borders.

Two Republican senators, Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia, joined the president at the White House to announce that they have been working with the administration to revise and expand legislation introduced earlier this year that would reduce by half the number of immigrants who would receive legal permanent residence over the next decade.

The two senators said their legislation would move the United States to a merit-based immigration system and away from the current model, which is geared to approving applicants with family members already in the United States. It’s a model rife with fraud, deceit, swindle and chaos.

The president said the legislation would be the most significant reform to the broken U.S. immigration system in a half-century. “As a candidate,” he said, “I campaigned on creating a merit-based system that protects U.S. workers and taxpayers and that’s why we’re here today.” He said the changes would “reduce poverty, increase wages and save taxpayers billions and billions of dollars.”

The legislation would eliminate immigration preferences now extended to family members and adult children of American citizens seeking green cards, and would cap the number of refugees accepted at 50,000, half of the Obama administration’s target for this year. The State Department’s so-called diversity lottery, which the senators say is “plagued with fraud,” would be eliminated.

Conservative advocacy groups say the legislation — officially called the Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy Act, or RAISE — will smooth a pathway for a smarter immigration system and protect American workers. The Cotton-Perdue bill, says Roy Beck, president of Numbers USA, will “do more than any other action to fulfill Mr. Trump’s campaign pledges on immigration.”

Stephen Miller, the senior White House policy adviser, got in a raucous exchange with reporters when he explained the president’s goals to a press conference at the White House. Jim Acosta of CNN, a frequent player in the Gotcha Game at the White House, accused the administration of violating the Emma Lazarus poem inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor.

“What the president is proposing here does not sound like it’s in keeping with American tradition when it comes to immigration,” he said. “The Statue of Liberty says, ‘give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses.’ It doesn’t say anything about speaking English or be a computer program. Aren’t you trying to change what it means to be an immigrant coming into this country if you are telling them you have to speak English?”

Mr. Acosta makes the mistake that many apologists for open borders make. Sentiment is nice, but no one has a right to come to America (or to go to any other country), and every nation has the right to set down its own ideas about who comes here, and how. Applicants could legally be required to dye their hair green, learn English, and have a basic understanding of U.S. history and government, as indeed all applicants must do to become American citizens. (Green hair is optional.) There just was not enough space on the base of the Statue of Liberty to get all that down.

America will always be a nation of immigrants; it’s in our DNA. Immigrants will always be welcome, just not everybody all at once. America is the land of opportunity, with harmony and good order. That’s why immigrants want to come here. We owe it to prospective immigrants, as well as to our children and grandchildren, to keep it that way.

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