Trump To Unveil New Merit-Based Immigration Plan Today
President Trump on Thursday will lay out a new immigration plan that would push the United States toward the kind of merit-based system many other nations use to control who comes into their countries.
The proposal wouldn’t change the number of immigrants who come into America or illegal immigration, but would seek to change who comes into the U.S. Trump will announce the new plan at 2:30 p.m. today in the White House Rose garden.
Under the new proposal, the number of immigrants admitted into the country based on job skills would rise from 12% to 57%. In order to make room for more merit-based immigrants, the percentage of people allowed entry because they have family here would drop from 66% to 33%. In addition, the number allowed in via claims of asylum would also be cut, from 22% to 10%.
“During the last couple years I’ve heard a lot of people try to explain the president’s immigration policy,” a senior White House official told reprtoers at the White House, Politico reported. “And a lot of what people say is not reflective of what he says to his team and to us. What we have put together is the president’s immigration policy.”
The number of legal immigrants, though, would stay the same at about 1.1 million every year.
“If you look at our immigration system, it’s basically a coat of paint on top of a coat of paint on top of a coat of paint — what we want to do is sand it down,” a senior administration official told about two dozen reporters at the White House on Wednesday, The Washington Examiner reported.
The plan calls for elimination of the diversity lottery system, that currently admits about 55,000 people a year from underrepresented countries, and the streamlining of the asylum system. Family unification will prioritize spousal and parental relationships, another long-held Trump priority.
The proposal calls for three high-skilled immigrant categories, recognizing extraordinary talent, professional and specialized vocations, and exceptional students. Applicants in each category would gain points if they achieve certain benchmarks, such as passing U.S. civics and English proficiency tests, a health screen, and a criminal background check.
The points system would also reward offers of employment, youth, and educational and vocational certifications. There additionally would be points awarded for “diversity” to those from countries with historically low rates of immigration, though that qualification alone would not allow for entry.
“We think this is all very pro-immigrant, moving away from the Byzantine bureaucratic system that we have today and instead laying out very clear objectives and metrics as a country. You want to come to the U.S.? Here are the markers you have to hit, and we think they are all pretty attainable,” one official told reporters.
Another official said Trump has been personally involved in the planning, the Washington Post reported. “‘This is his proposal,’ said a senior administration official who, like others in this report, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations. ‘He’s been intimately involved in crafting it. We’ve shown him kind of where some of the criticism might come from on the right, and his response is, ‘I’m happy to talk to them and I’ll convince them of why this is the right thing.’ ”
While Democrats control the House and some political pundits say the new plan will be dead on arrival, Rep. Steve Scalise, Louisiana Republican and House Minority Whip, said the proposal may find some moderate Democratic supporters. And he said the system now is highly flawed.
“Right now, we’ve got some of the dumbest laws on the books. If we educate somebody in America to be a computer scientist or engineer … we force them to leave the country to compete against us, while we’ve got the ‘visa lottery’…” Scalise said on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle.”
“Why don’t we flip that narrative?” Scalise said.