- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 15, 2019

President Trump on Thursday will announce his plan to revamp the legal immigration system, cutting the number of green cards doled out based on family ties and replacing them with a point-system geared toward picking migrants with key abilities.

The plan, which the White House teased last week, will also address some of Mr. Trump’s security demands.

But it will not address what to do about the 11 million illegal immigrants already in the U.S., nor will it include new guest-worker programs businesses want to keep a flow of foreign labor.

The president has scheduled an afternoon speech from the White House Rose Garden where he will make his pitch.

The plan was developed by Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, and Stephen Miller, a top advisor who brings to the table extensive experience on the immigration issue.

The key change is to shift the immigration system away from one where immigrants pick the U.S., and toward one where the U.S. picks immigrants.

Currently about two-thirds of immigrant visas are doled out based on family ties, while only a little more than 10 percent go to employment-based visas. Most of the rest are humanitarian visas.

Under the Trump plan, merit-based visas would rise to more than half.

The point system would reward those with needed skills and other factors such as ability to speak English or how likely they are to support themselves.

Other major economies such as Canada and Australia rely on point-based systems.

Mr. Trump’s proposal is unlikely to see action in any broad sense on Capitol Hill, where Democrats are far more interested in legalizing illegal immigrants — and particularly young adult “Dreamers.”

Meanwhile Republicans are looking to try to solve the immediate border crisis.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said Mr. Trump’s bill is “not designed to become law.”

Mr. Graham announced his own plan Wednesday to deal with the border surge. He said his proposal to allow migrant families to be detained longer so they can be deported, to equalize treatment of Central American children with that of Mexican children, and to add more immigration judges matches some of the president’s security plans.

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