The United States and Mexico have just announced an agreement to limit the flow of illegal immigrants from Central America, especially Guatemala, into the U.S. Mexico has agreed to accept and hold more immigrants seeking U.S. asylum inside Mexico until their claims have been adjudicated.
The U.S. now has an estimated 11,000,000 illegal immigrants and also a huge labor shortage indicated by our currently very low 3.6% unemployment rate. In fact there are currently 7.5 million unfilled job openings including, for example, 360,000 in construction and 1.4 million in trade and transportation.
The key to fixing our broken immigration system and simultaneously providing the workers needed by the American economy is to adopt a comprehensive guest worker visa program so that American businesses can legally hire and bring in immigrants from other countries.
Along this line, President Trump has recently announced a new immigration proposal. Highlights are:
- Fully secure the border. This would involve strategic barrier construction as well as combatting visa overstays through legal and infrastructural enhancements.
- Protect American workers. The number of legal immigrants selected based on skill or merit would increase from 12% to 57%.
- Promote national unity. Green card applicants must pass a U.S. civics exam and demonstrate English proficiency.
- Prioritize the immediate families of U.S. citizens. Spouses and children of U.S. citizens will have priority for receiving a green card.
- Current levels of legal immigration would not be reduced. This includes letting more students educated in American universities stay to work in the U.S.
Summary. We not only have a border crisis caused by a huge influx of illegal immigrants, we also have an acute labor shortage as indicated by our very low unemployment rate. This provides an opportunity for comprehensive immigration reform. Is our broken political system capable of performing this task?