President Trump is ready to unveil an immigration plan that would greatly change who is allowed into the United States. Trump will present the plan in a speech from the White House Rose Garden Thursday afternoon.
The new plan would center on reducing family-based immigration to the U.S. in favor of employment-skill-based immigration. But overall, the number of green cards issued under this plan would not change, and there would be no reduction in net immigration.
One administration official said that the bottom line politically is: “We want to show the country that Republicans are not against immigrants.”
Democrats have not been communicated with on the formulation of this plan. And getting it to pass the Democratic-controlled House or the Senate, where Republicans do not have a filibuster-proof majority, will be next to impossible.
The plan, according to a senior administration official, addresses six issues:
- Securing the border: Finishing the border wall
- Protecting American wages: Stemming the flow of low-wage labor
- Attracting and retaining the best and brightest immigrants
- Prioritizing nuclear families: It would limit the family members who can come to the country to children and spouses
- Importing labor for critical industries
- Preserving humanitarian values: Keep the asylum system, but limit it
The formula currently for who comes to the country is 12% skill-based, 66% with ties to family members and 22% humanitarian, or asylum-seekers.
Trump would change that calculation to 57% skill, 33% family, 10% humanitarian. In order to determine who is a highly skilled immigrant, people would be awarded points based on their education and their language proficiency.
There are four pillars that the administration has always stressed — border security, citizenship, a guest-worker program and what to do with immigrants who have entered the country illegally, including DREAMers. The last two are not addressed in this new plan.
President Trump has taken a hard line toward immigrants entering the country illegally or seeking asylum. It’s part of what got him to the presidency and made his base loyal to him.
A more moderate tone may suggest that the White House is concerned about Trump’s political standing as the 2020 election gets underway.