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Commentary By Jason L. Riley

On Immigration, Washington Doesn't Know Best

Economics Immigration

Two GOP congressmen have a plan to give states authority over visas and work rules

For the time being, President Trump has determined, the wall will have to wait.

The president is expected to sign a federal budget agreement this week that includes no funding for a barrier along the southern border. Supporters will be disappointed that Mr. Trump has yet to follow through on a signature campaign promise, but they can take some solace that his presidency is still young and the administration remains adamant. “Make no mistake,” said White House spokesman Sean Spicer on Monday. “The wall will be built.”

Whether or not that happens, some Republicans in Congress hope that Mr. Trump isn’t confusing a border wall with more meaningful immigration reform. “My concept of border security includes a robust guest-worker program,” said Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin in an interview with me on Tuesday. “It’s going to be a whole lot easier to secure the border when you’re not having to clamp down on people coming here to seek the opportunities that America provides.”

I contacted Mr. Johnson, who heads the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, to ask about legislation he’s been crafting with GOP Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado. Their proposal, not yet formally introduced, would create a visa program that gives states a much larger role in managing immigration based on local needs. The rationale is that different parts of the country have different labor demands, and state leaders are in a better position than Washington lawmakers to assess local economic conditions. The number of visas available would be determined by the federal government and indexed to economic growth.

To guard against foreign nationals gaming U.S. welfare programs, the bill....

Read the entire piece here at The Wall Street Journal


Jason L. Riley is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a columnist at The Wall Street Journal, and a Fox News commentator.

This piece originally appeared in The Wall Street Journal