President Trump is set to unveil an immigration plan that would vastly change who is allowed into the United States. On Thursday, Trump is expected to deliver a speech in which he proposes an overhaul of the US immigration system, including the number of immigrants accepted, development of a wall between the USA and Mexico and how visas are granted. Several Republican senators are expected to attend, officials said.
Trump will present an overview of the plan, with details of the "very large document" to be released in coming weeks, the official said.
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.
"This is his proposal", said a senior administration official. "He's been intimately involved in crafting it".
President Trump is constantly making waves with sudden Twitter directives, but oftentimes, nothing much comes of it - in some cases, reportedly because the request is just forgotten or ignored. Ronil Singh of Newman, Calif., who was killed by an unauthorized immigrant during a traffic stop in December.
The bottom line politically, said the administration official: "We want to show the country that Republicans are not against immigrants". "They can't come in like this killer came in".
Support from Democrats would be needed to advance any kind of immigration through Congress.
A prime example is Trump in March declaring that the US would be cutting off aid to Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.
The key change is to shift the immigration system away from one where immigrants pick the USA, and toward one where the US picks immigrants.
The plan developed by Kushner aims to distribute a significantly larger proportion of green cards to immigrants based on such factors as their professional skills, education levels, age and English ability, rather than on family ties, White House aides said.
It does not address some of the hot-button issues in the immigration debate, such as what to do about the surge of people crossing the southern border from Mexico. The Atlantic says the administration is not now advancing this issue, despite Trump's pronouncement.
The White House proposal is "not created to become law", Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), a Trump ally, said at a news conference Wednesday during which he unveiled his own bill to deal with the border crisis.
Under the Trump plan, merit-based visas would rise to more than half.
The latest effort, spearheaded by Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, focuses on beefing up border security and rethinking the green card system so that it would favor people with high-level skills, degrees and job offers instead of relatives of those already in the country.
Immigration hawks are likely to be wary of a plan that does not cut immigration numbers, particularly heading into elections, said Jessica Vaughan of the Center for Immigration Studies, a group that advocates for immigration restrictions.