Does Donald Trump Plan To Admit 2.5 Million Immigrants A Year? (Hint: Kind Of Like Canada)

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Donald Trump leaves after speech to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017. (Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool Image via AP)

In recent days, Donald Trump has praised the Canadian and Australian immigration systems. But does Mr. Trump understand how high the annual flow of immigrants into those countries is relative to the United States? If the United States were to admit legal immigrants at the same rate as Canada and Australia, relative to population size, then America would admit two to three times as many immigrants a year as it does today.

Table 1: U.S. Immigration Levels If Admitted at Same Rate as Canada and Australia

Source: Dept. of Homeland Security, CIA, Gov’t of Canada, Gov’t of Australia. Rate equals annual immigration level as a percentage of country’s population.

In 2015, Canada admitted 271,847 new legal immigrants with a population of approximately 35 million for an annual flow of 0.77 percent of its population.

In 2015, the United States admitted 1,051,031 new immigrants with a population of about 324 million for an annual flow of 0.32 percent of its population.

If the United States were to adopt Canada’s system and admit immigrants at the same rate (percentage of the population) as Canada, then the U.S. would admit approximately 2.5 million immigrants a year, two and a half times the current annual level of legal immigration.

The situation is similar with respect to Australia. In 2015-16, Australia admitted 207,325 new immigrants with a population of 23 million for an annual flow of 0.90 percent of its population. (This underestimates immigration to Australia, since it does not include New Zealanders who settle permanently after entering freely under the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement.)

If the United States were to adopt Australia’s system and admit immigrants at the same rate/percentage of the population as Australia (0.90 percent of its population annually), then the U.S. would admit 2.9 million legal immigrants a year, about 3 times the current level.

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I asked Noah Klug, director at the law firm Fragomen Worldwide and an attorney dual-qualified in the U.S. and Australia: Is it is fair to say that a key part of Australia’s immigration system is not just its selection criteria but that it admits a fairly highly level relative to the size of its population? He replied: “Yes, this is a fair statement and it is clear from a simple glance at the numbers.”

“The annual cap on total employment-based immigrants to the U.S. is 140,000,” said Klug. “Australia is almost as high, with 128,500, despite being a tenth of the population size of the United States. This is also borne out in the context of temporary work visas – a cap of 85,000 for the U.S. H-1B visas (including the additional 20,000 for Masters graduates) vs. 85,611 similar skilled 457 work visas issued in fiscal year 2015 for Australia (no cap).”

It is much the same for Canada. “If we brought in the same numbers every year as the Americans do on a per capita basis we would get through our spouses and a few parents and some refugees and really have very little room left for the economic immigrants,” explains Peter Rekai, attorney, Rekai LLP in Toronto.

Many economists would argue increasing U.S. immigration levels would help U.S. economic growth, although it seems unlikely this is what the White House has in mind.

Serious observers recognize that President Trump’s call to admit immigrants based on “merit” is code word for admitting many fewer immigrants. Yet if Donald Trump wants to adopt Canada or Australia’s immigration system, then the most honest approach would be to adopt the entire system, of which a key ingredient is relatively high annual levels of immigration in proportion to the Canadian and Australian populations.

A number of anti-immigration organizations have praised Donald Trump’s call for a “merit-based” immigration system because they believe it would lead to lower annual numbers and ending the ability of Americans to sponsor many close family members, including children 21 or older. Would such groups still favor a system of “merit-based” immigration if 2.5 million or 3 million people began immigrating each year to the United States “based on merit”?

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This article was sourced from http://news06460.com