Trump administration’s long-awaited new immigration plan will land sometime this week, and it looks like it’s going to make nearly everyone angry, just as predicted. According to the New York Times, the plan will focus on shifting immigration to a merit-based system and away from one tied to family connections.
But the proposal won’t lower the total level of immigration, as Republicans wanted, and it won’t provide legal status for Dreamers, as Democrats have demanded. It’s likely that no one will be happy with the plan, which was dreamed up by the White House’s resident idiot son-in-law Jared Kushner.
“To say this is dead on arrival would be generous,” Frank Sharry, the director of liberal immigration group America’s Voice, told the Times. “This is worse than the proposal that got 39 votes in the Senate in 2018. This won’t unite Republicans and will get zero Democratic support.”
Trump is scheduled to announce some of the proposal’s specifics in the Rose Garden on Thursday. But his administration is already couching the plan in assurances that it’s just a “first step toward having [a] discussion” about new legislation, one official told the Times.
The main change made by the plan would involve the program that grants 1 million visas a year, mostly to those with family connections in the U.S. The new plan would place strict regulations on the skills needed to obtain one of those visas. These requirements would include demonstrating the ability to speak English proficiently and passing a civics exam.
From the Times:
Currently, about 12 percent of those immigrants qualify to enter based on their skills, while more than half are given permission to enter because of a family connection. Under Mr. Trump’s proposal, those numbers would be reversed, with nearly 60 percent of all visas going to immigrants with particular skills or offers of employment.
That reversal would increase the overall education level of immigrants, the officials said, with nearly three-quarters of those migrating to the United States having bachelor’s degrees or an advanced degree under the new Trump plan. It would also increase the average salary for immigrants to $96,000 from $43,000, they said.
Conservatives are already slamming the plan as not stringent enough.
In an article in the National Review, Mark Krikorian, the executive director of the conservative Center for Immigration Studies, wrote that the plan was “out of touch with the president’s base.” That’s probably true, seeing as Trump’s base recently cheered a joke which suggested migrants should be shot.
The other major aspect of Trump’s plan is to continue curbing illegal immigration. The plans in that domain seem to be more of the same: keep making it harder to claim asylum, and change policy to allow families to be detained longer. More cruelty, more concentration camps. The proposal also calls for more barriers in 33 places along the border.
Not all Republicans hate the plan, including those who are Trump allies.
“There was a lot of encouragement in the room for what these guys have done,” Senator Kevin Cramer told the Times of Kushner and Stephen Miller’s briefing with Republican Senators. “Everybody has something that they would want, but this is something that’s doable.”
Democrats were somewhat less optimistic.
“If they want to get bipartisan legislation, do what we did with the Gang of Eight,” Sen. Chuck Schumer said, referencing a bipartisan plan crafted during the Obama administration. “Don’t come up with a plan that Stephen Miller rubber stamps and say, now pass it. It’s not going to happen.”
Schumer also criticized the plan for not addressing the DACA program.
Unsurprisingly, immigration advocates outright hate the proposal.
“A plan that forces families apart, limits access to asylum and other humanitarian relief, and doesn’t contemplate a path to citizenship for DACA recipients and other undocumented community members is clearly a political stunt intended to posture rather than problem-solve,” Lisa Koop of the National Immigrant Justice Center told the Times.