The president today outlined his plan for shoring up border security, overhauling the legal immigration system and cracking down on asylum fraud. The proposal would end chain migration and set up a points-based system that favors high-skilled workers. It does not deal with those already in the country illegally, including those who arrived as children.
The following are excerpts from his speech:
“Our plan achieves two critical goals. First, it stops illegal immigration and fully secures the border. And, second, it establishes a new legal immigration system that protects American wages, promotes American values, and attracts the best and brightest from all around the world.
“The proposal begins with the most complete and effective border security package ever assembled by our country…It was designed with significant input from our great law enforcement professionals to detail what they need to make our border…100 percent operationally secure.
“To make certain that we are constantly making the upgrades we need, our proposal creates a permanent and self-sustaining border security trust fund. This will be financed by the fees and revenues generated at the border crossings itself. Importantly, we’re already building the wall, and we should have close to 400 miles built by the end of next year.
“As we close the gaps in our physical framework, we must also close the gaps in our legal framework…Current law and federal court rulings encourage criminal organizations to smuggle children across the border. The tragic result is that 65 percent of all border-crossers this year were either minors or adults traveling with minors. Our plan will change the law to stop the flood of child smuggling and to humanely reunite unaccompanied children with their families back home.
“Unfortunately, legitimate asylum seekers are being displaced by those lodging frivolous claims…to gain admission into our country…My plan expedites relief for legitimate asylum seekers by screening out the meritless claims. If you have a proper claim, you will quickly be admitted; if you don’t, you will promptly be returned home.
“A topic of less discussion in national media, but of vital importance to our country, is our legal immigration system itself…Currently, 66 percent of legal immigrants come here on the basis of random chance. They’re admitted solely because they have a relative in the United States…Another 21 percent of immigrants are issued either by random lottery, or because they are fortunate enough to be selected for humanitarian relief.
“As a result of our broken rules, the annual green card flow is mostly low-wage and low-skilled. Newcomers compete for jobs against the most vulnerable Americans and put pressure on our social safety net and generous welfare programs.
“Only 12 percent of legal immigrants are selected based on skill or based on merit…The biggest change we make is to increase the proportion of highly skilled immigration from 12 percent to 57 percent…At the same time, we prioritize the immediate family of new Americans — spouses and children.
“The White House plan makes no change to the number of green cards allocated each year. But instead of admitting people through random chance, we will establish simple, universal criteria for admission to the United States…We will replace the existing green card categories with a new visa, the Build America visa…(W)e create an easy-to-navigate points-based selection system. You will get more points for being a younger worker, meaning you will contribute more to our social safety net. You will get more points for having a valuable skill, an offer of employment, an advanced education, or a plan to create jobs.
“Priority will also be given to higher-wage workers, ensuring we never undercut American labor. To protect benefits for American citizens, immigrants must be financially self-sufficient. Finally, to promote integration, assimilation, and national unity, future immigrants will be required to learn English and to pass a civics exam prior to admission. Through these steps, we will deliver an immigration system that respects, and even strengthens, our culture, our traditions, and our values.”
Updated: Thu, May 30th 2019 @ 6:55pm EDT