When Fardeen Majidi emigrated from Afghanistan this year to start a new life in San Mateo, he followed in the footsteps of generations of new Americans. After years of working for the U.S. State Department in Kabul, the 32-year-old won a special immigrant visa and, someday, the opportunity to bring his mother with him.
But now he worries those dreams will be cut short as the Trump administration moves forward with a new immigration plan that could restrict people like his mom in favor of high-skilled workers and English speakers.
In the space of 24 hours this week, two bombshells emerged from Washington: President Donald Trump endorsed a proposal to dramatically cut back legal immigration and reports suggested the administration was preparing to take a tough new look at affirmative action policies that give preference to minority students.
The developments could dramatically alter two key engines of the American Dream: the country’s relatively open immigration system, which has welcomed millions of new Americans, and access to its universities, which have lifted generations of students from the working class into better jobs and lives.
On Tuesday, the New York Times reported that the Department of Justice was launching a new effort to scrutinize and potentially sue colleges with affirmative action policies that give preference to underrepresented black and Latino students. The next day, Trump endorsed an immigration bill that would slash legal immigration in half by 2027 and prioritize skilled workers.
Both new merit-based policies, Trump and his supporters say, would focus on the best and the brightest, giving the highest-skilled immigrants admission into…
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