Donald Trump. the same president who only a few months ago signed a "Buy American, Hire American" executive order directly aimed against the H-1B specialty worker visa program, has now unveiled a hypocritical proposal, in the form of a Senate bill introduced by two if his strongest Republican Senate supporters and known as the "RAISE" Act to reduce lower skilled legal immigration in America by eliminating certain family-based green card categories, abolishing the diversity visa lottery entirely (a program which particularly benefits immigrants from Africa), and cutting annual refugee admissions in half.

For details, see:

Despite Trump's well-publicized attacks against H-1B and by extension all high skilled immigration, he and the two Senators, Cotton and Perdue, are calling their bill, which is obviously intended to and very likely could in reality drastically cut back on legal immigration from Latin America and other non-white areas of the world, a "merit-based" immigration proposal.

It is easy to see the "merit" in this proposal for Trump and his white nationalist supporters - many fewer legal immigrants from Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East, by rolling back the race and religion neutral immigration system that America has had (at least in principle) for the past 50 years, and going back to the time of the notorious Nordics-only "national origins" immigration act of 1924, if not to the equally bigoted Chinese and other Asian exclusion laws beginning in the late 19th century.

In a typical Trumpian blend of hatred and falsehood directed against mainly non-European legal immigrant population, the president introduced the bill as follows according to the above news item:

"Instead of today's low-skilled system - which is a terrible system where anyone comes in, people who have never worked, people that are criminals, anyone comes in, we want a merit based system."

Once again, the president never loses an opportunity to conflate immigration, even legal immigration in this case, with crime.

There are also some exceptions to his attempts to demonize and stir up animosity against both legal and unauthorized immigrants - witness the 70 cooks, waiters, and other less skilled workers whom Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort is sponsoring for H-2B visas, as I have written about in a recent Immigration Daily post.

As long as they have the "merit" of helping Trump's businesses keep their costs down against his competitors, we can safely assume that these particular low skilled workers will be welcome in the United States.
Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. For more than 35 years, Roger has been helping skilled and professional workers from many diverse parts of the world, without regard to ethnic or religious background, but based only on their qualifications, obtain work visas and green cards.

This is consistent with America's most fundamental values as a nation of immigrants. Roger's email address is