Groups Criticize President’s Move Against Family-Based Migration

by Suzanne Potter

Nevada groups say they want Congress to hammer out a comprehensive immigration reform deal that includes a path to citizenship for DACA recipients. (Nevada Immigration Coalition)

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Groups that advocate for immigrants’ rights are criticizing President Donald Trump’s proposal – unveiled yesterday – to begin favoring educated, higher-skilled, English-speaking immigrants over those who have family ties to the U.S..

Hear an audio report from Suzanne Potter.

The proposal would establish a point-based system that would require migrants to be proficient in English and pass a civics test before being considered. The new system would also limit the categories of people that legal immigrants can sponsor: to their kids, spouse or parents – but not grandparents, grandchildren or cousins.

Bliss Requa-Trautz, director of the Arriba Las Vegas Worker’s Center, sees it as another example of the president playing to his base.

“This proposal is not designed to pass,” says Requa-Trautz. “I believe it is designed to give political cover for the Trump administration to continue to engage in anti-immigrant efforts that are motivated by racial animus.”

The proposal would also work to ferret out what the president calls “frivolous” claims of asylum from people trying to escape poverty rather than political repression.

According to the American Immigration Council, Nevada is home to 210,000 undocumented immigrants. Almost one in five Nevadans is foreign-born, and another 16% are native-born with at least one immigrant parent.

Requa-Trautz says the president’s rhetoric is in keeping with previous attacks on immigrants, which she calls ‘un-American.’

“And it’s ending the long tradition of this country to ‘Bring me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free,'” says Requa-Trautz. “It’s a distinct move away from the values that this country has been built upon.”

The proposal does not mention the fate of the Dreamers, people with temporary protection status, or the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living the U.S., and thus is not expected to gain the support of Democrats in Congress.