Donald Trump expected to unveil Jared Kushner-Stephen Miller immigration overhaul Thursday

Evarado Alatorre
May 16, 2019

US President Donald Trump plans a speech in coming days to lay out his views on how immigration laws should be overhauled, Republican senators said on Tuesday after top White House advisers briefed them on the plan. A more moderate tone may suggest that the White House is concerned about Trump's political standing as the 2020 election gets underway. Factors such as age, English language ability and employment offers would be taken into account. Aides said the plan would call for modernizing legal ports of entry to help prevent illicit drugs and human trafficking, while also proposing to changes to US asylum laws - something Democrats have called a non-starter.

For decades, US immigration laws have given priority to family-based immigration, and about two-thirds of all people granted green cards each year have family ties to people in the United States.

Trump will propose ending the diversity lottery system, which offers applicants from countries with low immigration rates the chance to move to the United States.

The officials offered fewer specifics on border security, but said the administration hopes to create a fund, paid for by increasing certain fees, and use the money to modernize security and ports of entry. Trump is scheduled to roll out his plan at the Rose Garden of the White House Thursday afternoon. A "four pillars" proposal previous year fell by the wayside after Republicans failed to get behind corresponding legislation.

"Word is out on the streets in Central America that if you bring a child with you - regardless of whether or not it is actually your child - America's laws can be manipulated to allow you to stay in the United States", said the South Carolinar Republican said in a statement. This time, the White House is taking a more hands-on process, drafting legislative text itself.

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Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham proposed legislation on Wednesday to deal with the surge of migrants from Central America at the southern USA border, changes the administration officials described as needed to address the immediate crisis. He said the proposal would make the USA a less attractive destination.

Under the plan, migrants seeking asylum in the US would have to make their claims at processing centers in places such as Central American countries and Mexico, not in the U.S. The plan tries to accomplish six goals, according to officials: securing the border; protecting American wages; attracting and retaining highly-skilled immigrants; focusing on legal migration for immediate family; attracting labor in critical industries; and preserving humanitarian values.

Despite Graham's call for Trump to work with Democrats, Democrats in the Senate seemed skeptical of Graham's legislation.

Jill Colvin of the Associated Press wrote this story. This story will be updated as it develops.

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