New Trump immigration plan would overhaul green card system

President Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner departs the Capitol after a meeting with Senate Republicans

President Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner departs the Capitol after a meeting with Senate Republicans

Brainchild of Trump's son-in-law, Jarred Kushner, the new plan primarily focusses on strengthening border security and revamping the system of Green Card or legal permanent residency so that people with merit, higher degrees and professional qualifications could get an easy access to the immigration system.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham proposed legislation on Wednesday to deal with the surge of migrants from Central America at the southern US border, changes the administration officials described as needed to address the immediate crisis. Factors such as age, English language ability and employment offers would be taken into account. The legislation would also allow unaccompanied minors to be returned to their country of origin, which Graham said would be treating them the same way as minors from Canada and Mexico.

Now about two-thirds of immigrant visas are doled out based on family ties, while only a little more than 10 percent go to employment-based visas.

It also seeks to end the diversity lottery system that grants entry into the United States to about 55,000 people from underrepresented countries every year. Officials insisted diversity would be addressed in other ways.

Senior administration officials have framed the plan as one that Republicans might be able to unite behind, giving the party a road map they can say they're "for".

As part of the plan, officials want to shore up ports of entry to ensure all vehicles and people are screened and to create a self-sustaining fund, paid for with increased fees, to modernize ports of entry. A White House spokesman did not respond to requests for comment on the speech.

Democrats have not been consulted on the formulation of this plan. But those talks collapsed over White House demands to curb legal immigration and a dramatic Senate showdown in which lawmakers rejected three rival proposals that aligned with the "four pillars" immigration plan Trump unveiled that year.

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.

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.

Republicans on the Hill, too, voiced skepticism, even as administration officials insisted the plan had been embraced by those who briefed on it.

Graham, who is close to Trump, rolled out his own proposal Wednesday to address a recent flood of migrants seeking asylum at the U.S. -Mexico border. "We're just looking to change the composition".

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