Trump immigration policy is being criticized by some as anti-immigrant and closed-minded. After all, Trump’s newly released travel ban on some travelers from 6 Muslim countries, including Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, did not affect citizens from those countries.
He has also proposed cutting the number of green card and refugee slots available for entry, from 110,000 in fiscal year 2017 to a maximum of 50,000.
In the U.S., this has understandably led to a crackdown on illegal immigration. A growing number of illegal immigrants have been deported, including most recently, NBC News reported on August 10 that more than 5,000 illegal immigrants were arrested, most of them by the FBI, between January and June. Over those three months, they managed to arrest an average of 6.7 illegal immigrants per day.
Back home, many American citizens find themselves stranded. Since Trump’s new restrictions went into effect in late January, the New Zealand government has housed about 7,000 U.S. citizens, but the government wants to establish an open immigration policy.
A spokesperson for the Prime Minister, this week said that, “As a family-based system, NZ immigration policy has always been somewhat differentiated, with family citizens being given preference, but that’s not a fundamental point of difference between us and the United States.”
According to U.S. Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-NY) and his wife, Laura, who have spent 10 years in New Zealand, New Zealand’s immigration policy still leaves most U.S. citizens in a precarious position. They moved to New Zealand in 2012 but since then have been forced to sleep on a floor of a student’s home, as they have nowhere else to go. They have had to postpone their wedding, but they have no real choice. Their passport is expiring and their home has been foreclosed.
In response to this, Mr. Zeldin wrote an open letter to New Zealand’s Premier, saying, “I ask you why it is so hard to secure housing for people for whom a good home, close to a hospital, school and work have been promised.” He also wrote, “Why is your government so reluctant to accept our concerns that in order to be considered refugee you must be protected at the point of entry?”
Mr. Zeldin continued by saying that the U.S. Attorney General should “prosecute officials who refuse to accept New Zealand residents who are in need of safe shelter. You do not represent the American values and ideals we have borrowed from you when we came to freedom.”
The Prime Minister responded by saying, “We have to be honest with ourselves. I would love to turn back the tide of destitution. The only way we’re going to be able to do that is to help people find a way to settle.” She added, “We have to accept that this is a temporary solution. And more clearly than ever after the tsunami in 2016, when New Zealand became the first country to formally declare its national emergency, we must strengthen our migration policy as a whole.”