Published: Thu, May 16, 2019

Trump to propose overhaul of USA immigration system

Trump to propose overhaul of USA immigration system

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.

Republicans and Democrats have fought for years about how to overhaul outdated immigration laws, and the battle has become even more polarized since 2016 when Trump ran for office on a pledge to build a wall on the southern USA border to keep out migrants entering the country illegally. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a close ally of the White House.

The latest effort, spearheaded by Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, focuses on border security and rethinking the current 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 United States.

Kushner briefed the senators on the contours of the plan, a person familiar with the situation said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Democrats and some Republicans tried crafting a compromise with Trump a year ago that would have helped young Dreamer immigrants and added money for border security.

Support from Democrats would be needed to advance any kind of immigration through Congress.

Trump will nonetheless deliver a Rose Garden speech Thursday throwing his weight behind the plan, which has thus far received mixed reviews from Republicans in the Senate. "I think he's right on that", Cramer said.

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.

"If the president botches this, it could cost all Republicans dearly in 2020", Vaughan said.

"We want to start by trying to anchor the discussion by defining border security, defining what the legal immigration should be and then seeing if we can unite Republicans around it and then also unite Republicans around the fact that we're not looking to change the number of legal immigration", one of the officials said. The plan also does not include provisions to help farmers and other seasonal employers obtain more guest workers.

But it will not address what to do about the 11 million illegal immigrants already in the US, nor will it include new guest-worker programs businesses want to keep a flow of foreign labor.

Nor does it deal with the "Dreamer" children of immigrants in the country illegally or immigrants in the country under Temporary Protected Status, both of whom are priorities of Democratic lawmakers.

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