A recent article published in the Los Angeles Times reported that the White House is considering a compromise in its current immigration reform proposal: one that would ensure legal immigration would remain at its current level of 1.1 million annually.
In late January, President Trump unveiled his approved guidelines for any legislation on immigration, which included a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients, restrictions on family visa sponsorship, and the end of the visa lottery program. This series of measures would reduce legal immigration by at least 40%, which was met with criticism from many. Democrats considered immigration cuts to be wholly unnecessary, while Republicans felt concessions on DACA equated to an unjust amnesty, and that the immigration cuts would only have noticeable effect in a decade.
While many have considered Trump’s proposal “Dead on Arrival,” we think eliminating options for reform without proper consideration is disingenuous to the many Americans looking for common ground on immigration.
In 2016, Progressives for Immigration Reform commissioned a study on the environmental impact of the United States’ population growth, notably through immigration. Projections found that if no action was taken to reduce immigration levels, America’s population would increase by over 215 million, or 70 percent, to 524 million by 2100. Likewise, the kind of increases in annual immigration some groups are lobbying for would lead to over 669 million by 2100, and a reduction in annual levels to roughly 200,000 would lead to a population of 379 million by 2100 – still more than today. The impact of this increased population would show itself through dangerous levels of habitat loss, increases in overall water and energy demand, and widespread loss of farmland to urban sprawl.
In the effort to help preserve our environment and stabilize our economy, we should consider reducing immigration levels to below the current 1.25 million annually. By doing so, we could improve the quality of life for both immigrants and Americans by deterring exploitation and encouraging fair wages.
While both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan have promised to hold debate and a vote on an immigration proposal this week, whether any bill will follow Trump’s guidelines is up in the air: It’s doubtful that House Republicans would support any bill that they could call an amnesty, but an immigration bill without a DACA solution would meet heavy resistance in the Senate. Regardless of ones’ position, all Americans will be watching to see how these debates unfold.