Stephen Colbert Takes On Trump's Immigration Proposal in the Best Way
"Melania, honey, I've got some tough news."
Yesterday, the Trump administration announced a proposal to slash legal immigration to the United States by half, and as always, comedian Stephen Colbert jumped in with the perfect comeback on his “Late Show.”
Colbert pinpointed the moment at which a ban on legal immigration would hit the Trump family directly: the holidays.
“Melania, honey, I’ve got some tough news,” Colbert said, imitating Trump. “Only 50% of your parents can come to Thanksgiving. I say your mom, she’s in great physical shape.”
Colbert’s zingers didn’t stop there.
He also gave the proposed act, called the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act, a new name: the Reforming American Citizenship Is Super Tough (RACIST) Act, and criticized the “merit-based” approach to immigration outlined in the bill.
“Mr. President, wherever you are today, it’s not based on merit,” Colbert quipped.
Colbert wasn’t the only person critical of the bill, which would cut legal immigration from over 1 million people per year to 500,000 in the next ten years, create a merit-based point system for determining green card status, and reduce family-based immigration.
Congressional representatives on both sides of the aisle roundly criticized the bill:
Immigrants don’t just belong in America, immigrants have built America. I oppose the RAISE Act.— Kamala Harris (@SenKamalaHarris) August 2, 2017
I've always supported merit-based immigration. I think we should always want to attract the best and brightest to the United States. (1)— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) August 2, 2017
Unfortunately other part of proposal reduces legal immigration by half inclding many immigrants who work legally in Ag, tourism, & service.2— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) August 2, 2017
SC #1 industry is Ag. Tourism #2.— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) August 2, 2017
If proposal were to become law... devastating to SC economy which relies on this immigrant workforce. 3
The RAISE Act is not the correct way to fix and reform our immigration system. We can do better. Limiting legal migration isn't the answer. https://t.co/do6y1qtETx— Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (@RosLehtinen) August 2, 2017
Has GOP learned nothing? We need bipartisan, practical solutions to solve challenges. RAISE Act is partisan, extremist & hurts our economy pic.twitter.com/I6fBzCST3E— Senator Bob Menendez (@SenatorMenendez) August 2, 2017
The Trump administration has argued that the bill will boost economic growth and create jobs for low-skilled Americans, but some economists feel otherwise.
Economists, Politico wrote, “tend to worry not about there being too much immigration, but rather not enough.”
In his segment, Colbert cited a study that showed “89% [of economists] believe it’s a terrible idea for Trump to curb immigration.”
An estimated 44% of engineering and tech start-ups are created by immigrants and immigrants also file 60% of US patents, studies have shown.
A study from Penn’s Wharton School of Economics found that “immigration leads to more innovation, a better educated workforce, greater occupational specialization, better matching of skills with jobs, and higher overall economic productivity.”
But the chances of the RAISE Act receiving the 60 votes needed to pass the Senate is unlikely, according to the Washington Post.
“I think it’s dead on arrival,” Alex Nowrasteh, at the conservative think-tank CATO institute wrote. “A lot of Republican senators like legal immigration. They think it’s good for the economy. They think family unification is great. They’re just against illegal immigration.”