President Trump is expected to announce his administration’s plan for immigration overhaul in a speech this afternoon. This plan, in process for several months, has been prepared by a team led by first son-in-law Jared Kushner, widely regarded as soft on the immigration issue.
Kushner himself, along with other White House officials including Stephen Miller, met with Republican leaders in the Senate on Tuesday, a meeting that, according to reports, did not go especially well.
Central to the Kushner plan is reportedly a proposal to increase the number of “highly skilled” immigrants admitted annually, while theoretically keeping the absolute number (1.1 million) constant. It would do this by creating a “points” system, similar to a system used in Canada, that would reward applicants based on education level, age, English language ability, and employment offers, instead of family relationships, in contrast to the current system.
To address illegal immigration, the plan would “shore up” certain sections of our southern border deemed “priority” locations. This would involve the building or fortifying of certain barriers but also provide for more thorough screening of vehicles crossing the border.
The plan would eliminate the diversity visa lottery, which provides 50,000 immigrant visas each year by selecting applicants from countries with historically low numbers of immigrants. It would also revise the asylum process in ways that remain somewhat vague, but theoretically permit the DHS to deport illegal entrants more quickly.
The plan does not address the issue of the so-called “dreamers,” immigrants brought into the U.S. as minors who remain illegal residents. Nor is there any wording regarding the “E-Verify” system. Moreover, the plan seems to have little to say about this year’s surge in immigrants illegally crossing the border.
All in all, the plan offers little for either Democrats or Republicans–other than the most big-business-oriented–to get excited about. According to CNN, the Senate Republicans found Kushner’s presentation “underwhelming” and lacking in substance. One anonymous attendee said, “[Kushner is] in his own little world. He didn’t give many details about what was in [his plan]. . . . And there were a number of instances where people had to step in and answer questions because he couldn’t.”
One of those people was said to be White House adviser Stephen Miller, regarded as the spokesman for administration hard-liners. While the aim of the joint meeting was to emphasize White House unity, that unity between hard and soft was not especially evident to some observers. “Miller interrupted [Kushner] a lot,” one source said.
For more, see CNN.com.