Trump's merit-based immigration plan seen favouring Indians

16 May 2019


The United States will shift to a merit-based immigration system to favour applicants who speak English, are well-educated and have job offers, senior administration officials said.

President Donald Trump will today outline a plan to overhaul US immigration laws that have so far given priority to family-based immigration, a move that could be positive for Indian professionals.
Under the new immigration system, applicants would receive points for age, English proficiency and offers of employment at a certain wage threshold in order to protect low-wage American workers, the official said.
The policy proposal also points to immigration systems of other countries. Studies have found that only 12 per cent of migration to the United States was based on employment and skill, compared with 63 per cent for Canada, 57 per cent for New Zealand, 68 per cent for Australia and 52 per cent for Japan.
So far, about two-thirds of all people granted green cards each year have family ties to people in the United States.
Trump’s new immigration policy proposal that favours applicants who speak English and well educated and is harder on illegal immigrants,is seen an effort to rally Republicans on an issue that has often divided them.
The policy proposal, a product of senior advisers Jared Kushner and Stephen Miller and economic aide Kevin Hassett, however, will struggle to get support from Democrats and get approved by Congress.
But, the plan will give Republicans an outline as to why they should be favouring Trump as the November 2020 presidential and congressional elections approaches.
Under the plan, legal immigration into the US would be kept at 1.1 million people a year, and priority would be given to high-skilled people with job offers while family-based immigration would be limited to only a third of the total.
These skilled immigrants would also be allowed to bring with them their spouses and children, While House officials told reporters at a briefing on Wednesday.
On the southern border with Mexico, besides the proposed border wall, the administration plans to improve inspections of goods and people at ports of entry to fight drug smuggling. It would propose an increase in fees collected at the border to pay for border security infrastructure.
"Our goal in the short term is to make sure that we are laying out what the president's policy is in terms of what he's looking for from immigration reform, and we would like to see if we could get the Republican Party to come together on these two pillars, which we think is a very, very logical, very mainstream point of view," said one official.
Trump will present an overview of the plan, with details of the "very large document" to be released in coming weeks, the official said.
The plan also proposes changes to the asylum process, which the Trump administration says is abused. It would result in 10 per cent of green cards being given to immigration for humanitarian reasons, down from 22 per cent currently.
The policy fails to address issues like addressing the surge of people crossing the southern border from Mexico. Nor does it deal with the "Dreamer" children of illegal immigrants or those under Temporary Protected Status.
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.

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