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Will President Trump follow President Putin's lead in welcoming more legal immigrants who can benefit the economy and society? Roger Algase

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In view of the anticipated warming in relations between the US and Russia after America's new president takes office on January 20, 2017, it would be instructive to examine whether the new US administration might look to Russia for some cues or ideas on immigration policy.

This is of interest particularly in the light of a lengthy and comprehensive proposal, discussed in detail below, which Russian President Vladimir Putin issued three and a half years ago, on June 13, 2013 concerning measures needed to attract more legal immigrants to Russia in order to benefit that country's economy and society.

According to the Russian Legal Information Agency (RAPSI - see my Immigration Daily post for December 14), Russian experts believe that:

"...a full scale rejection of migrants could lead to an economic collapse."

http://rapsinews.com/legislation_pub...268590432.html

Moreover, it would be logical to expect America's incoming president to look to President Putin for suggestions about immigration policy in view of the growing post election friendship between the Russia and the US, based on mutual admiration and support between these two presidents:

http://www.npr.org/2016/12/16/505890...n-the-election

There are many indications that both countries' presidents have similar views on a number of important policy issues that are related to immigration in a larger sense, such as the roles of presidential power and democratic institutions:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/09/us...utin.html?_r=0

and

http://www.newsweek.com/putin-and-tr...asparov-436556

as well as on economic policy:

http://www.newsweek.com/2016/09/09/v...mp-493946.html

the right to free speech:

http://thefederalist.com/2016/02/29/...-donald-trump/

and other fundamental human rights according to international law

http://www.businessinsider.com/syria...-putin-2016-11

With regard to immigration policy specifically, the US and Russia are also both large, ethnically diverse countries, with substantial immigrant populations and an aging base of native born citizens.

In addition to their expanding immigrant populations, in large part from Latin America and South and East Asia in the US, and from Central Asia in the case of Russia, there are also widely perceived needs for skilled and entrepreneurial immigrants.

However, in both countries, there are also influential nativist movements which are seeking to reduce all immigration.

As will be shown in my next post on the topic of legal immigration policy, while America's incoming president had the enthusiastic support of this nativist movement in his election campaign and has appointed at least two figures associated with this movement, Senator Jeff Ssssions and Breitbart News chief Stephen Bannon, to high positions in his coming administration. Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, has come under criticism from his own "Alt-Right" for being too much of a moderate on immigration.

In my December 14 Immigration Daily Post, I discussed some possible or actual similarities that might exist between Vladimir Putin's announced policies and those of the incoming US president with regard to immigration enforcement.

These include proposals such as Putin's plan announced nearly four years ago to build more than 80 illegal immigrant detention centers located near major cities throughout Russia, compared with the plan of America's incoming new chief executive to deport up to 3 million "criminals aliens" (most of whom might turn out to be immigrants who may have have been been charged with, but not actually convicted of, any crime).

But what about legal immigration? Here, we can find what may be a very significant difference, if not a chasm, between the long standing restrictionist rhetoric of US anti-immigrant organizations such as FAIR, Numbers USA and Center for Immigration Studies which was echoed in our incoming new president's August 31 Phoenix, Arizona immigration address, and the much more welcoming, immigrant friendly proposals that Russia's President Putin announced on June 13, 2013.

The English version of these proposals, appearing on the official Kremlin website, has the title:

President of the Russian Federation approved the Concept of the state migration policy for the period up to 2025

(In Russian: Prezident utverdyil Konseptsyoo gosydarstvennyoi migratsionnoi politiki Rossiiskoi Federatsii na period do 2025 goda)

http://kremlin.ru/events/president/news/15635


(If the above link comes up in Russian, click on Google "translate" or go to the following page and click on the link provided there):

https://www.gfmd.org/pfp/ppd/2487


Highlights of these proposals are as follows:

"11. Migration of the Russian Federation Legislation does not fully comply with current and future needs of economic, social and demographic development, the interests of employers and Russian society as a whole. It is focused on attracting temporary foreign workers and does not contain any measures to facilitate the move to a permanent place of residence, adaptation and integration of migrants."
(Emphasis added.)

...

"13. ...there are no programs to attract a permanent place of residence of migrants in the country with the demand [for immigrants with] professional, educational, economic, demographic, socio-cultural and other characteristics that can successfully adopt and...integrate into Russian society. Difficulties in obtaining a temporary residence permit complicate the process of obtaining citizenship for the majority of law-abiding immigrants." (Emphasis added.)

"14. The system of temporary migrant workers and determin[ing] the need for foreign labor needs to be improved...The current quota system is not perfect and requires excessive [lengthy] consideration of employer's applications and does not provide [for] the attraction of foreign workers for jobs in accordance with the stated needs of the employer."

...

"17. Important elements of the state migration policy of the Russian Federation [should be] creating conditions for the adaptation and integration of migrants [and] protection of their rights and freedoms...Solving these problems is difficult [because of] undue difficulties in maintaining permanent resident status in the Russian Federation as well as the unresolved legal status of foreign citizens. As a direct result of the lack of state programs of adaptation and integration of migrants is the [sic] isolation from the host society and increase in negative attitudes toward immigrants."
(Emphasis added.)

Putin's above proposal is not only aimed at attracting qualified foreign workers, rather than putting unnecessary obstacles and barriers in their way, but also shows concern for fulfilling humanitarian obligations to refugees and displaced persons:

"18. The need for state assistance in settling [and] housing internally displaced persons, improvement of the procedure for granting refugee status and temporary asylum for humanitarian reasons. In the 1990's...the Russian Federation received...1.5 million people [with the status of refugees or internally displaced people], but still legislatively fixed [sic] social obligations to them are not fully met."

(The above paragraph does not specify how many, if any, of the millions of refugees or internally displaced persons who are fleeing from the Russian-backed Assad regime in Syria Putin is planning to accept into Russia.)

Putin's proposal then continues in the above essentially immigrant-friendly vein as follows:

"19. The experience of countries with an active immigration policy shows that migration processes accelerate socio-economic development and ensure the growth of the population's welfare. To realize the positive potential inherent in migration processes, the entire management system of the Russian Federation should be modernized." ​ (Emphasis added.)

Certainly, the United States has to be counted among the counties with "an active immigration policy" that President Putin was referring to when he issued the above proposal almost four years ago.

Nor is there any reason to believe that Putin's interest in following developments in the United States in any less now than it was then.

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/1...nal-law-232787

However, while Trump may be avidly following President Putin's lead on a variety of other issues, and there are also similar approaches between the two leaders regarding enforcement of the laws against illegal immigration, when it comes to attracting or admitting qualified, law-abiding legal immigrants to the United States, Trump gives every indication of heading on a path leading in the opposite direction from Putin's.

This was evident from the strongly restrictionist tone of Trump's August 31 immigration manifesto, with its antipathy and suspicion toward all immigrants, as well as the president-elect's appointment of the head of Breitbart News, Stephen Bannon, to be his senior policy adviser.

Just as some Russian extreme right wingers have attacked President Vladimir Putin for allegedly being too open to immigration from Central Asian countries, Bannon's Breitbart News, especially, has advocated undoing the half century of racial equality in our legal immigration system that America has had since the monumental immigration reform law of 1965 was enacted.

Both of these developments will be discussed in further detail in my next post on this topic.
_____________________________
Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. For more than 35 years, he has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants from diverse parts of the world obtain work visas and green cards.

Roger believes that America's economy, society and democracy will benefit from continuing to attract qualified legal immigrants to the US from every part of the world, without discrimination or exclusion based on ethnic background, religion or national origin, and in keeping with our immigration laws and principles during the past half century.

Roger's email address is algaselex@gmail.com

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Updated 12-19-2016 at 10:05 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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