Trump proposes new immigration plan favouring skills over family

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"We want immigrants coming in; we cherish the open door", Trump said in the White House Rose Garden. The proposed change is part of the new merit and points-based immigration system, which would rejig the incumbent procedure of entering the U.S. and availing the country's citizenship.

Trump's proclamation said "domestic conditions of competition must be improved by reducing imports" and said a strong United States auto sector is vital to U.S. military superiority.

A notable aspect of the plan, which has been coordinated by Trump's son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner, is a cut to current allowances for immigrants bringing in family members.

But shifting away from a family-based immigration system to one that favors immigrants with high skills is running into resistance from Democrats. But Trump called the plan "pro-American, pro-immigrant and pro-worker".

But this lack of support says more about the irreconcilable differences between left and right than it does about the virtues of the proposal itself, which are considerable.

The vast majority of new immigrants to the US would come based on education or skills, not family connections, according to White House estimates. While potentially more detailed, this proposal is less comprehensive than previous offers by Trump and his administration. Similar efforts to overhaul the immigration system have gone nowhere for the last three decades and prospects for an agreement between a divided Congress and the president seem unlikely.

Under the proposed reforms, immigrants will be "required to learn English and to pass a civics exam prior to admission", Trump said. U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officials say they made 100,000 apprehensions at the border in March, the biggest number in 12 years.

"You're going to see people who want to assimilate into our country".

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Lisa Koop, director of legal services at the National Immigrant Justice Center, also criticized the various planks of the proposal, including its failure to address those brought to the USA illegally as children who are now protected from deportation by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, or DACA, which Trump has tried to end. The issue has been a top priority for Democrats.

Nor does it reduce overall rates of immigration, as many conservative Republicans would like.

President Trump sought to retake the reins of the immigration debate Thursday by announcing a bold plan to refashion legal immigration from its heavy reliance on family ties into a points-based system that would boost those with preferred skills.

The president talked about replacing existing green cards with a new "Build America Visa". 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 taken into account. And those who are American citizens will not be able to sponsor some relatives.

Asked Wednesday how failing to first confer with Democrats or include anything on so-called "Dreamers" amounts to anything more than a reelection strategy, the official said, "If they don't want to engage then it would be part of the election". The new system will consider merit and qualification of applicants, instead. I think it remains to be seen, "Mulvaney said at the Milken Institute in Beverly Hills referring to the infrastructure deal, adding, "I think there's a much better chance of getting NAFTA passed than getting an infrastructure deal passed". Democrats, who control the House of Representatives that will have to pass the plan, have already come out against it.

"We have 11 million undocumented immigrants and a lot of them are dreamers who are highly skilled", Matuz said.

The White House officials said they wanted to streamline the application process for people with legitimate asylum claims while reducing the number of those making fraudulent claims.

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