President Biden recently announced two massive proposals that are completely at odds with each other. His American Jobs Plan aims to invest trillions to create new jobs and modernize American infrastructure. But his U.S. Citizenship Act, which offers amnesty to an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants and vastly expands legal immigration, would make it harder for citizens to get those jobs.

The president’s immigration proposal is a step in the wrong direction. In addition to offering amnesty, it also increases the number of employer-sponsored green cards and loosens the per-country limits on family-based visas. Dependents of immigrants here on an H-1B visa would receive work permits under Biden’s plan. And some immigrants who were deported during the Trump administration would have the opportunity to apply for re-entry into the United States.

The Biden proposal also increases diversity visas from 55,000 to 80,000 per year.

The financial cost would be enormous, with $100 million for English instruction, another $100 million for “Workforce Development,” and up to $25 million for “Existing citizenship education grants” as part of the “national citizenship promotion program.” They are even helping with the paperwork with “a pre-filled Naturalization application.”

It should also be noted, in contrast to the 2013 U.S. Senate bill that contained $46.3 billion for border enforcement, there is no provision for enforcement measures of any kind.

This is not the time to have a flood of migrants, legal and illegal, coming into the country. For decades we have granted 1 million green cards annually, according to the DHS 2019 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics and, if anything, we should be cutting back on this level, especially considering the plight of hard-working Americans.

Here in Maine, one in eight adults and one in five children suffers from food insecurity. And one-fourth of the state is struggling with household expenses.

Low-income and less-educated workers are hit hardest by competition from foreign workers. A recent national poll from the Pew Research Center finds that 34% of Americans with a high school diploma or less are having difficulty keeping up with their bills, while nearly a quarter are struggling to pay rent. Among low-income people, meanwhile, nearly half report falling behind on their bills.

Working class people here in Maine and across the country are struggling. Our U.S. senators, Susan Collins and Angus King, can stand up for them by speaking out against Biden’s immigration proposal.

Bob Casimiro of Bridgton is executive director of Mainers for Responsible Immigration.


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