Plan Reforms Legal Immigration System From Family-Based to Merit-Based, and Border Security
President Donald Trump at the White House on Thursday unveiled a plan to modernize the immigration system. It focuses on reforming the legal immigration from family-based to a merit-based, and border security.
“Our plan includes a sweeping modernization of our dysfunctional legal immigration process,” the president said in the Rose Garden. “The system will finally be fair, transparent and promote equality and opportunity for all.”
“If adopted, our plan will transform America’s immigration system into the pride of our nation and the envy of the modern world.”
The first part of the president’s plan limits the number of low-skilled immigrants who enter the U.S. based on family ties. The merit-based system would replace them with high-skilled workers, while leaving the number of migrants entering the country each year essentially unchanged.
Only about 12% are admitted based on employment and skills, while 66% are admitted based on family ties. If the president’s plan was adopted, the administration estimates that would shift to 57% and 33%, respectively.
“Currently, 66% of legal immigrants come here based on random chance,” President Trump said. “They’re admitted solely because they have a relative in the United States, and it doesn’t really matter who that relative is.”
Opponents of mass low-skilled immigration have long-argued the damage to Americans’ wages has been severe over decades of congressional paralysis on the issue. In the fourth quarter (Q4) 2018, wages rose 3% or greater for the first time since the Great Recession. They rose more than 3% on an annual basis for nine consecutive month last month.
But the administration argues that would be a much higher if the president’s plan was adopted.
The number the average yearly wage for legal immigrants is about $43,000. But immigrants admitted based on merit — such as education and skills — would see an average income of $126,000. That would push the average annual wage for all immigrants to about $96,000.
The release of the proposal comes only one day after Senator Lindsey Graham, S.C., the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, proposed the “Secure and Protect Act of 2019”. The chairman’s proposal would end a legal loophole that allows illegal immigrants to remain in the U.S. without valid asylum claims.
President Trump praised Chairman Graham for his work and encouraged Congress to pass it. But it’s a less sweeping reform than the plan outlined at the White House.
“This plan was not developed — I’m sorry to say — by politicians,” President Trump said. “It was designed with significant input from our great law enforcement officials.”
“Everyone agrees that the physical infrastructure at the border and at the ports of entry is inadequate and woefully underfunded.”
The White House immigration plan is the result of a months-long effort headed up by Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser. Mr. Kushner, Vice President Mike Pence and White House senior adviser Stephen Miller met with a select group of Republican senators on Tuesday to discuss the plan.
Sources tell People’s Pundit Daily (PPD) that Mr. Kushner offered little as far as details, and Chairman Graham himself said he believed it was meant to draw a distinction between the parties ahead of the 2020 election cycle.
“I don’t think it’s designed to get Democratic support as much as it is to unify the Republican Party around border security,” he said on Tuesday after the meeting.
The president called on Democrats to work with him on the plan, though Democrats have neither an interest in reforming family-based legal immigration nor serious border security.
“We will keep our communities safe,” President Trump said. “Americans can have complete and total confidence that under this plan our borders will finally be fully secured.”
“We cherish immigration in this country. But a big proportion of them must come in through merit and skill.”