Trump to propose plan to make USA immigration more merit-based

J. Scott Applewhite  AP

J. Scott Applewhite AP

In a major policy speech Thursday, US President Donald Trump is all set to announce a new proposal to overhaul the country's immigration policy that would give preference to foreigners based on merit rather than the existing system that gives preference to family ties, a move that could end the agonising Green Card wait for hundreds and thousands of Indian professionals. Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and senior adviser, has been leading the administration's efforts.

As of now, about 66 per cent of the green cards are given to those with family ties and only 12 per cent are based on skills. The number of migrants entering the country would be left roughly unchanged.

It would harden the border by building more of Trump's coveted southern border wall and improve inspections of goods and people at ports of entry to fight drug smuggling. However, some individuals reportedly left the meeting feeling uneasy about its prospects. "He didn't give many details about what was in [his plan] ..."

The first phase, according to those involved in the immigration talks, is to build GOP support for the plan.

"I don't think it's created to get Democratic support as much as it is to unify the Republican Party around border security", Republican South Carolina Sen.

Lindsey Graham discusses the growing number of investigations following the release of the Mueller report on 'Hannity'.

Trump's plan would keep legal immigration steady at 1.1 million people a year, but family-based immigration would account for only a third of that.

John Sanders, acting commissioner of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency, said on Wednesday that the number of people apprehended at the border since October 1 was almost 520,000, the highest level in a decade.

Graham introduced an immigration bill of his own on Wednesday. The South Carolina Republican is calling for more immigration judges, requiring Central Americans to lodge asylum claims within their home countries, and reforming how the government handles noncontiguous illegal immigrants. Sometimes, it actually does eventually go into effect, like when Trump tweeted about his transgender military ban (which this report says he impulsively did right after he promised aides he'd hold off on doing so).

"I am willing to sit down with Democrats to find a way to address the underlying problem in Central America".

Both Trump and Kushner are believed to have briefed Republican lawmakers on the issue.

However, the plan faces an uphill task mainly because of the bitterly divided Congress on partisan lines, especially on the issue of immigration reform.

The president has scheduled an afternoon speech from the White House Rose Garden where he will make his pitch.

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