President Trump unveiled a long-awaited immigration plan change that would dramatically alter how the U.S. accepts people into the country, by favoring admissions based on merit rather than family ties.
“If adopted, our plan will transform America’s immigration system into the pride of our nation and the envy of the modern world,” Trump said from the Rose Garden.
The proposal aims to judge immigrants with a point-based system that would favor high-skilled workers — accounting for age, English proficiency, education and whether the applicant has a well-paying job offer. Currently, only about 12 percent of immigrants are admitted based on employment and skills, while 66 percent are admitted based on family connections inside the U.S. Administration officials estimate that those numbers would flip to 57 and 33 percent, respectively, under the Trump plan.
Trump said the plan would help recruit top talent.
The average yearly wage of legal immigrants is approximately $43,000. Administration officials said Wednesday that immigrants admitted based on education and skills would have an average income of $126,000, and they would expect the average yearly wage of all immigrants to rise to roughly $96,000.
Considering some of Trump’s previous plans and proposals have been nothing short than outrageous and provocative to say the least, this one actually seems quite smart and, if passed, would help the country’s economic growth and development.
The plan does not deal with illegals already in the country, including those who came to the country as children and were protected under an Obama-era executive order. However, Trump said it closes loopholes so that gang members and criminals are inadmissible, and would stop frivolous asylum claims.
Trump said the proposal would also require immigrants to be financially self-sufficient, learn English and pass a civics exam before admission.
“Through these steps, we will deliver an immigration system that strengthens our traditions, our culture and our values,” he said.
Trump said the plan will present a “clear contrast” with Democrats’ immigration plans.
“Democrats are proposing open borders, lower wages and frankly, lawless chaos,” he said. “We are proposing an immigration plan that puts the jobs, wages and safety of American workers first.”
“Our plan is pro-American, pro-immigrant, and pro-worker,” he said. “It’s just common sense.”
Trump seemed to recognize the challenge of getting Democratic support in his remarks from the Rose Garden: “If for some reason, possibly political, we can’t get the Democrats to approve this merit-based high-security plan, then we will get it approved immediately after the election when we take back the House, keep the Senate and of course hold the presidency.”
Trump’s immigration proposal comes as the administration is scrambling separately to deal with the more pressing challenge of illegal immigration on the southern border.