Trump to Announce New Immigration Plan

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Trump to Announce New Immigration Plan

Trump to Announce New Immigration Plan

On Thursday, May 16th President Trump announced his administration’s plans for the restructuring of the immigration system in the US. Trump wants the system to move away from family-based immigration—through reunification—to an employment-focused immigration plan that would be modeled on the point systems currently used in Canada and Australia. While the details provided so far indicate that the number of green cards that would be issued will not decrease, it is not clear how the administration will act with regards to the already existing undocumented immigrants.

 President Trump announced his administration’s plans for the restructuring of the immigration system in the US

President Trump announced his administration’s plans for the restructuring of the immigration system in the US

The proposal Trump will present is two-faceted: both the physical aspect and the system of immigration will be addressed. More specifically, the Republican administration’s plan is still fully intent on building the border wall and financing increased security checks and inspections along the border. Even with these physical measures, the White House is touting the plan as pro-immigration given its focus on bringing highly-skilled workers to the country. The proposed shift would mean an application would take into consideration education and employment offers, with preference given to those who can create jobs and economic growth in the US.  This plan strongly resembles the point-style immigration system in Canada, where applicants earn points based on language proficiency, age, work, and education, with applicants aiming to score as many points as possible to qualify for a visa.

While this upcoming proposal can be used by the Trump team in the upcoming election, it will be hard to pass the proposal in Congress where Republicans no longer enjoy majority power. Democrats are concerned that the new immigration plan omits undocumented individuals already in the country and individuals who have obtained Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Democrats will be eager to receive more details on these key issues from the Trump administration and the rest of the GOP.

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In the US immigration system, unmarried children who are under 21 years old can apply for permanent residence. While there are other eligibility criteria, the age component is an important aspect. However, due to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services’ backlog, many applicants would no longer be 21 years old once their application was processed. This meant that eligible applicants were being aged out due to no fault of their own. In 2002, the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) came into effect, so that a backlog would not result in the aging out of an eligible applicant.

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Given the prevalence of conflicts and dangerous national situations (like wars and disasters), there are many people in the United States who cannot return to their country of origin. The US requires those staying in the country to have some sort of required status, ranging from permanent residency to those seeking asylum. However, those who cannot return home because of armed conflict or natural disaster can receive temporary protected status. Said status allows for these individuals to remain in the US lawfully.

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