Steve Holland Jeff Mason, Reuters, April 24, 2019
A merit-based immigration proposal being put together by White House senior adviser Jared Kushner could lead to an increase in U.S. visas for highly skilled workers, sources familiar with the effort said on Wednesday.
The plan does not propose ways to address young people who came to the United States illegally as children who were protected by former President Barack Obama in the 2014 program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), or those people who have Temporary Protected Status, the sources said.
Democrats, whose support the White House would need to advance any kind of immigration legislation through Congress, have insisted that the DACA recipients be protected.
Republicans have largely supported his immigration proposals, but the latest White House plan aims to bring them together on a broader basis.
Some in the U.S. business community have asked that the number of highly skilled visas be raised to attract more employees from abroad for specialized jobs amid a booming U.S. economy. Trump himself has talked of the need to bring in more skilled workers.
The overall goal is to reshape the visa program into a more merit-based system, a key Trump goal. Officials working on the plan have been reviewing the systems used by Canada and Australia as possible models for the Trump effort.
The proposal will include recommendations for modernizing ports of entry along the U.S. border to ensure safe trade while preventing illegal activity. It also aims to decrease the number of immigrants able to enter the United States based on their family ties, the sources said.
His objective on the immigration plan at the very least is to have a document that represents the president’s immigration policy and provide something that Republicans can rally around.