President Trump Introduces Jared Kushner's Immigration Plan

Evarado Alatorre
May 18, 2019

But this lack of support says more about the irreconcilable differences between left and right than it does about the virtues of the proposal itself, which are considerable.

Even before the speech, Democrats, whose votes would be needed for any Bill to be approved by the divided Congress, lambasted the effort and questioned the Republican Party's commitment to families.

Setting aside some of his hardline rhetoric on illegal immigration, the president said he wants to recruit "top talent" to the nation with his merit-based plan.

Why is that such a big deal?

"We discriminate against genius", Trump said of current policies, which he contended excessively favor family-based immigration.

President Trump sought to retake the reins of the immigration debate Thursday by announcing a bold plan to refashion legal immigration from its heavy reliance on family ties into a points-based system that would boost those with preferred skills. Countries like Korea, Japan, Australia, Canada have merit-based systems.

The plan will prioritize visas based on skills. For starters, this is the same guy who endorsed Tom Cotton's RAISE Act, which *did* pointedly call for reducing legal immigration.

The merit-based visa system would take into account age, English proficiency and offers of employment and would require civics tests, health screenings and criminal background checks.

He attacked asylum seekers, claiming working class migrants escaping death, persecution and torture are "abusing" the system: "Asylum abuse also strains our public school system, our hospitals and our shelters, using funds that should go to elderly veterans, at-risk youths, Americans in poverty, and those in genuine need of attention".

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Under the new plan, the US would award the same number of green cards as it now does. "You will get more points for having a valuable skill and offer of employment and advanced education or a plan to create jobs".

One Democratic congressman from California, Jimmy Gomez, called Trump's plan "ignorant" and "against our values".

Trump's proclamation said "domestic conditions of competition must be improved by reducing imports" and said a strong USA auto sector is vital to U.S. military superiority.

The administration did note, in a briefing given Thursday morning, that the new immigration proposal isn't meant to become law - that it's just a "starting point" for what the administration hopes is a long-term immigration solution.

Keeps immigration numbers the same: The proposal keeps the numbers of immigrants coming to the United States the same while changing the composition of people entering the U.S.

Far from shutting the door, he said, his plan would "increase the diversity of immigration flows". A majority of immigrants from Asia have bachelor's degrees, and would therefore have a decided advantage in vying for work visas under this new system.

Charlie Chesbrough, senior economist at Cox Automotive, said that by jacking up tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese merchandise last week Trump had shown Brussels his tariff threats were not idle.

Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, which advocates for lower immigration rates, applauded a "very positive effort" on legal immigration, but said it was "undermined by the embrace of the current very high level of immigration". Because of limits on how long children can be detained, many migrants are released into the United States with a date to appear in immigration court. It appeared to be a shift away from the priorities of 2017, Trump's first year in office, that sought to prevent the influx of foreign workers who could displace American workers in favor of a new approach preferred by more traditional Republicans, particularly those close to the corporate sector who are desperate to attract more foreign workers to fill USA factories and tech hubs.

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