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Noah Smith

Trump’s Immigration Plan Offers a Lot to Like

Shifting the system to one that gives preference to skills rather than family ties is the right idea.

That’s the ticket.

That’s the ticket.

Photographer: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Most of President Donald Trump’s immigration policies and initiatives have been both harsh and ill-advised. From his policy of separating migrant adults and children at the border to his reduced acceptance of refugees to his encouragement of more aggressive tactics by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Trump has needlessly targeted the most vulnerable people trying to get into the country. Meanwhile, various Trump administration initiatives have made life harder for H-1B visa applicants and holders, immigrant entrepreneurs, overseas students and immigrants serving in the U.S. military. Trump, who campaigned in 2016 on a vow to limit immigration to the U.S., seems to be doing his best to keep that promise.

However, so far, Trump has been nibbling around the edges, unable to touch the main pillar of U.S. immigration -- the green-card system. In 2017, the U.S. granted more than a million lawful permanent residencies, a number little changed from recent years: