Trump just quietly cut legal immigration by up to 65%

(Oct. 9, 2019) With one proclamation signed late Friday evening last week, President Donald Trump made his adviser Stephen Miller’s dreams of restricting legal immigration a reality.

When it goes into effect November 3, the proclamation will make getting into the US much harder for immigrants sponsored by family members, the phenomenon Trump has excoriated as “chain migration.” It will throw up a barrier to those coming through the diversity visa lottery — the subject of Trump’s “shithole countries” rant — which allows the US to accept 55,000 immigrants annually from countries with historically low levels of immigration.

Researchers estimate it could keep up to two-thirds of future immigrants out who would be admitted under current law.

Under the proclamation, immigrants who do not have health insurance and cannot afford to pay medical care costs will not be able to move to the US permanently.

The move could bar roughly 375,000 immigrants annually, based on projections of data from fiscal year 2017, according to Julia Gelatt, a senior policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute.

Those 375,000 immigrants won’t be affected at random. The proclamation targets immigrants who have come to the US legally under policies Trump and his advisers often attack.

He has blamed the diversity visa lottery and chain migration for bringing in the perpetrators of two terror attacks in New York in December 2017, claiming during his State of the Union address the following January that “these programs present risks we can just no longer afford.”

“Chain migration is a disaster, and very unfair to our country,” he said during another address in February 2018. “The visa lottery is something that should have never been allowed in the first place. People enter a lottery to come into our country. What kind of a system is that? It is time for Congress to act and to protect Americans.”

 Trump has already been waging a quiet and effective campaign to reduce overall legal immigration, the long-held goal of groups like the Center for Immigration Studies and the Federation for American Immigration Reform have long sought.

But Friday’s proclamation could be the most drastic of those changes — reshaping the immigration system in the US during Trump’s time in office along exactly the lines restrictionists have wanted.

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Nicole Narea