President Trump Vows to Pass Merit-Based Immigration Plan
President Trump is laying out a new immigration plan to convince the public and lawmakers that the U.S. legal migration system needs to be overhauled.
A new immigration proposal from President Donald Trump focuses on bolstering border security and rethinking the green card system.
The shift would favor people with high-level skills, degrees and job offers instead of relatives of those already in the country.
Trump says the immigration plan he's proposing would prioritize "totally brilliant" immigrants.
Trump on Thursday laid out a merit-based plan that would give preferential treatment to high-skilled workers. He says right now the U.S. immigration laws "discriminate against genius" and "discriminate against brilliance" because most of the green cards are given to low-skilled people who would make low wages.
Under the plan, the country would award the same number of green cards as it now does. But far more would go to exceptional students, professionals and people with high-level and vocational degrees. Factors such as age, English language ability and employment offers would also be considered.
Far fewer green cards would be given to people with relatives already in the U.S. Fifty-seven percent would be awarded on merit as opposed to the current 12%.
The plan doesn't address the millions of immigrants already living in the country illegally. They include hundreds of thousands of young "Dreamers" brought to the U.S. as children. Their fate is a priority for Democrats.
The plan also doesn't reduce overall rates of immigration, as many conservatives would like to see.
Trump's latest plan has been spearheaded by his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says President Trump's emphasis on merit-based immigration is "condescending" because families have merit, too.
Pelosi said they want to attract "the best to our country." But she asked if Trump means family is without merit. She said it's what merit means "in the eyes of Donald Trump."
(The Associated Press, CBS News contributed to this report.)
President Trump's "immigration plan" isn't serious. Any deal that fails to protect our DREAMers, prioritize family unity, and treat asylum seekers with dignity is dead on arrival. We must work in a bipartisan way to tackle the challenges in our immigration system.— Senator Cortez Masto (@SenCortezMasto) May 16, 2019