Trump Unveils ‘Merit-Based’ Immigration Policy Plan

Trump Unveils ‘Merit-Based’ Immigration Policy Plan
Written by Oluseyi Adefowora

US President Donald Trump has outlined plans for a new United States of America immigration system designed to favour younger, higher educated, English-speaking workers.

In an address at the White House, he proposed moving away from the current system that favors applicants with family ties to the United States of America.

He said border security would be beefed up and a tougher line taken on asylum seekers.

Senior Democrats dismissed his ideas as “dead-on-arrival”.

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They say the proposed new system fails to offer a route to citizenship for so-called “Dreamers” – hundreds of thousands of people brought to the US as children but who still have no legal right to remain.

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In the White House Rose Garden, President Trump said his plans would make US immigration “the envy of the modern world”.

“We cherish the open door that we want to create for our country. But a big proportion of those immigrants must come in through merit and skill,” he said.

“The biggest change we make is to increase the proportion of highly skilled immigration from 12% to 57% and we would like to even see if we can go higher.”

He said immigrants would be “required to learn English and to pass a civics exam prior to admission”.

Criticizing the current asylum process, he said: “Our nation has a proud history of affording protection to those fleeing government persecutions.

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“Unfortunately, legitimate asylum seekers are being displaced by those lodging frivolous claims.”

The proposals would have to be approved by Congress where Democrats currently control the lower house.

“This dead-on-arrival plan is not a remotely serious proposal,” said Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic speaker of the House of Representatives.

“Are they saying most of the people who have ever come to the United States in the history of our country are without merit because they don’t have an engineering degree?”

Democratic Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal said the proposals undermined America’s family-based admissions system that she described as “the cornerstone of our country’s immigration policy”.

“It does not include any protections for dreamers. It does not include any plan for the 11 million undocumented immigrants that are in this country that need a path for citizenship,” she added.

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Although it is unlikely to progress in Congress, analysts say Mr. Trump is trying to unite Republicans ahead of next year’s presidential and congressional elections.

In his address he added: “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 (of Representatives), keep the Senate, and, of course, hold the presidency.”

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Oluseyi Adefowora

I love people of substance and value as my close associate

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