Update, January 27 at 4:25 pm:

For another perspective on the same topic below, see Juan Escalante in the January 26 Huffington Post:

The White House Deamer Deal Isn't a Compromise. It's a Racist Ransom Note

The title says it all. (Link to be provided.)

My original comment appears below.

In a proposal which is strongly opposed by both sides, Trump has offered to trade deportation relief and eventual US citizenship for up to 1.8 million DREAMERS in exchange for making two major changes in the legal immigration system which would drastically reduce immigration from Asia, Africa and Latin America. These changes would consist of ending family-based green cards for the parents and siblings of US citizens and eliminating the Diversity Visa lottery.

These changes in the legal immigration system would be consistent with personal views which the president has expressed on many recent occasions. He has indicated sympathy for the plight of DREAMERS (whose DACA protections he himself abolished), while calling "Chain Migration" (a pejorative term for extended family immigration) "horrible" and the Diversity Visa lottery "ridiculous" (in a December 29, 2017 tweet sent to his 43 million Twitter followers).

Trump also referred to African, Caribbean and Central American countries whose citizens have benefited from the current family and lottery immigration programs as "shithole" countries, which he considers to be undesirable sources of immigration compared to "countries like Norway" (in a January White House meeting with a group of Senators which caused outrage throughout America and around the world, including, among many other critics, a human rights spokesman for the United Nations who, as reported in the Associated Press, called Trump's comments "racist", "shocking and shameful"; and said they were "opening the door to humanity's worst side".


Both immigration progressives and restrictionists have vigorously condemned Trump's proposal, virtually ensuring that it will never become law.


When one looks at the numbers of people who would benefit from these respective proposals - slightly under 2 million mainly Latin American immigrants, compared to approximately 1 million immigrants mainly from Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America who have benefited from the Diversity Visa lottery in the past 20 years - a program which would be abolished under the White House proposal - there would certainly appear to be some parity in the scope and effect of the two proposals.

Therefore one could justifiably argue that abolishing the visa lottery in exchange for deportation relief and eventual citizenship for DREAMERS is not unfair or unreasonable. This is especially true in light of the fact that the DREAMERS, almost by definition, are people who have spent most of their lives in the United States and know no other country, were brought to America through no fault of their own, and are Americans in all but their paperwork.

In contrast, visa lottery applicants are, again almost by definition, people who have little or no connection with the US. If they did have a connection, they would presumably have some other means of immigrating to this country.

But the equation changes dramatically when the proposal to eliminate immigration by parents and siblings of US citizens, which has enabled some 30 to 40 million legal immigrants to come to America over the past half century from non-European parts of the world and changed the demographic face of America, is taken into account.

Ironically, the provisions for extended family immigration, which the president and supporters are not only attacking with the racially coded term "chain migration". as mentioned above, but have been trying to link with a recent attempted terror attack by one single immigrant out of tens of millions of other legal immigrants who have come to America to join their families, were originally added to the landmark 1965 immigration reform act in order to preserve the mainly white, European character of US immigration as it had been prior to that time.

This is explained in detail in a comprehensive analysis by writer Tom Gjelten of the 1965 law in The Atlantic:


The visa lottery was initially instituted around 25 years later for the same purpose. The original visa lottery, known as AA-1, was openly intended to increase the proportion of white immigrants, after it became apparent that the family immigration provisions if the 1965 law had increased immigration from non-white parts of the world far more than it had from Europe.

The AA-1 lottery was limited to applicants from predominantly white countries, mainly in Europe, with especially large set-asides for Ireland and Poland in particular. There were only two major non-white countries in the list, Japan and Indonesia.

In order to make sure that the purpose of bringing in more white immigrants was accomplished, the AA-1 lottery included automatic waivers of inadmissibility for both visa fraud and previous deportation for immigrants selected in the lottery process!

These automatic waivers, were, to the surprise of no one, eliminated when the AA-1 lottery was changed to the present Diversity Visa lottery open to all parts of the world. For a fuller discussion of the history of the visa lottery, see POLITICO:

The Irish Roots of the Diversity Visa Lottery


Regarding family immigration, which is at the top of the Trump/restrictionist hit list along with the diversity lottery, a vox.com article dated December 29, 2017 in reaction to Trump's above referred to tweet explains:

"...'chain migration' has been a longtime target of immigration restrictionists, even when the Republican party as a whole was attempting to welcome legal immigrants. For people whose biggest fear regarding immigration is that immigrants will change the face of America - that they'll trample the country's 'traditionally' white, Christian majority - there's little more potent than the idea of immigrants bringing over huge families - replanting their communities in American soil."


'Chain migration', and why Donald Trump wants to end it, explained


And as a January 18 vox.com comment by Jane Coaston sums it up in the context of Trump's "shithole" statement about dark skinned immigrants from Haiti and African countries:

"Bannon may be out of the White House (and Breitbart News). But his attitudes regarding immigration and immigrants remain in place, voiced by fellow immigration restrictionists like Sessions and Miller who believe that immigration poses a danger to American culture and American life - unless that immigration is from a predominantly white country."

Significantly, the author adds:

"This has a direct impact on immigration policy, including current negotiations regarding DACA and discussions of so-called merit-based immigration."


The scary ideology behind Trump's immigration instincts.


To be sure, Trump's offer of relief from deportation and eventual citizenship to 1.8 DREAMERS is welcome on its own terms, and generous enough to attract fierce opposition from "amnesty" opponents such as Numbers USA and the Heritage Foundation which normally are part of Trump's base on immigration.

But relief for just under 2 million DREAMERS, whose present predicament Trump created himself as pointed out above, is a one-time action with limited, if any, effect on America's overall demographics. In contrast, eliminating family immigration outside the immediate nuclear family, which Trump refers to as "chain migration", would affect America's immigration demographics far into the future. It would be a major step toward accomplishing the goal of those who believe that making America Great Again means making America White Again.

This is why, reasonable as Trump's offer to the DREAMERS may be by itself, or even as part of a trade off in return for ending the visa lottery alone, it is only a bone thrown to immigration advocates in comparison with the red meat of ending "chain migration" being offered to Trump's white supremacist base.

Roger Algase
Attorney at Law