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Donald Trump announces plan to overhaul legal immigration

18 May 2019

And his base, while many in it would probably prefer less legal immigration, isn't likely to balk over keeping such immigration where it is, as long as the system is predominantly merit based and as long as Trump is focused on stopping the flood of illegal immigrants.

President Trump says "Our plan includes a sweeping modernization of our dysfunctional legal immigration process".

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told Trump that "successful negotiations could allow American-owned automobile producers to achieve long-term economic viability and increase R&D spending to develop cutting-edge technologies that are critical to the defense industry". "We'll see how everyone reacts and then we'll see what step two and step three look like".

"We discriminate against genius, we discriminate brilliance, and we won't anymore", Trump said of the current immigration system, calling the rules "senseless".

Trump on Thursday laid out a merit-based plan that would give preferential treatment to high-skilled workers. "In countries like Canada, Australia, and New Zealand that number is closer to 60 and even 70 and 75 per cent, in some cases", he said.

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Trump boasted his measure was not drafted by politicians, but instead utilized input from law enforcement professionals to make the USA southern border "100% operationally secure".

"All people that are illegally coming into the United States now will be removed from our Country at a later date as we build up our removal forces and as the laws are changed".

Now only 12% of people are selected using that criteria and Mr Trump wants to increase that to 57 %.

It said, however, Trump agreed with findings that imported vehicles and parts can threaten U.S. national security, a designation likely to anger some USA allies.

They seek to halt practices by "smugglers and coyotes" who advertise transportation to the the Central American Northern Triangle (Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras), from where a majority of refugees recently seeking asylum here have fled. "Unfortunately, legitimate asylum seekers are being displaced by those lodging frivolous claims". "If you don't you will promptly be returned home". Other elements to the plan include bolstering border security and reforming the asylum system, but the most important proposed change is the shift to a "merit-based" system for legal immigration.

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The plan was developed by Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, and Stephen Miller, an adviser known for his hard line on immigration issues. "100% operationally secure. 100%", he said.

President Donald Trump says that if Democrats won't adopt his merit-based immigration plan, he'll get it passed after the election.

The plan does not address what to do about the millions of immigrants already living in the country illegally, including hundreds of thousands of so-called Dreamers - children of undocumented migrants who came to the USA illegally but are protected from deportation by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a policy Trump has tried to end. Nor does it reduce overall rates of immigration, as many conservative Republicans would like to see. I think the president knows that. Like McConnell, the speaker shied away from saying she would tee up the White House blueprint even for a hearing, much less votes.

Democratic support would be needed to advance any legislation through the Republican-led Senate - let alone the Democratic-controlled House.

Trump faced a Saturday deadline to make a decision on recommendations by the Commerce Department to protect the USA auto industry from imports on national security grounds.

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The Trump immigration proposal touts the "gold standard of border security" and represents an effort to rally Republicans, who are divided on key aspects of this issue.

Donald Trump announces plan to overhaul legal immigration