Earlier today, President Trump announced their administration’s high-level Immigration Plan for 2019 and beyond, even for their future election campaign. On a high level, it is nothing but a revival of RAISE Act – Points Based Immigration System announcement, which went dormant after announcement in 2017. There are no specifics announced yet by the Trump administration or legislative text available for review. Nevertheless, below is the summary of the major topics that were covered by Trump today.
Summary of the Key Topics in Trump Immigration Plan for 2019 and Beyond
The new proposal on the immigration was led by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. Below are the high-level topics and details on each of them that were announced by president Trump in his 25 min speech in Rose Garden today and there were no questions taken from press on this.
- Stop Illegal Immigration: Trump talks about the importance of the border security and the need for physical wall/ barrier and technology to guard the nation to prevent drugs, illegal trade, smuggling women & children, etc. He says that there will be a border security package that focuses on the wall, investment of technology to scan everything that comes through border and the fees would be generated at border itself for such things by fees and revenues generated at the border crossings itself.
- Fix Asylum System – Stop Criminals: He talks about the loopholes in the current asylum system and how the resources are being wasted, how they can be spent on American public. He says the new system will help legitimate asylum seekers and screen out meritless claims. Also, new system will stop all the criminals, gangs, and people with criminal records, not enter US through this route.
- Merit Based Green Cards System for Legal Immigration: Trump says that US gives about 1.1 million Green cards every year and 66% of those come by random chance through relatives and another 21% come by random lottery or humanitarian relief.
- Issues with Random Selection and Non-Merit : He talks about the current situation of highly skilled professionals like Doctors or Students from top schools, not able to work and live in US and how someone without any skills are able in US, but rather someone with lottery and luck are able to work.
- Companies Moving Out – High Skill Based vs Random : Trump says that Companies are moving their offices outside of US or moving back home as US system discriminates Genius and top talent. Only 12% of legal immigrants are selected based on skill and merit , where as in Countries like Canada, Australia and New Zealand, it is 60 to 75%. The goal of current proposal is to increase the highly skilled based immigration from 12% to 57% and maybe go higher ( Canada 60 to 70%) bring in line with other countries.
- Points Based System for Green Cards : Goal is to create a new easy to navigate points based system for green cards. Younger workers would get more points, more points for higher skills, more points for advanced education, more points for having an offer for employment, etc. There are no specific details here as well. If we look back, this Green Cards points-based system is from 2017 RAISE Act, where we had much more details laid out. My guess is that they will revive the same. To understand the points that were proposed, read Points Based Green Card System Calculations in US
- Prioritizes Immediate family of New Americans – Children, spouse : Trump mentions that in the new system there will be priority for immediate family members of New Americans – Spouse and Children. Again no specific details.
- Move Away from Random Chance Green Cards : Trump highlights that the overall goal is to move away from the allocation of green cards from Random chance or lottery to clear simple criteria that is based on merit.
- Replace Existing Green Card Categories with New Visa : Trump says that they will replace the existing Green Card Categories with New Visa Called “ Build America Visa”. This is going to have a very significant impact, if it comes true as we do not know the exact fate of everyone waiting in the current Green Card queue for their priority date under current visa categories. Specifics are not yet disclosed, we need to wait and see.
- Priority for Higher Wage Workers : There will be priority for Higher wage workers, who do compete with current American labor. To protect Americans, the new immigrants must be self sufficient.
- No Changes to Number of Green Cards : There will not be any increase or decrease in number of Green Cards offered every year, under this new proposal.
- Options for Startup Founders : There will be options for startup founders not to leave US and start their companies within USA, again no specific details given today.
- Civics Exam, Learn English : for better integration with American system, national unity, new immigrants will need to learn English and pass Civics exam prior to admission. Again, no specifics outlined here.
You can watch the short summary in below video as well.
What is missing in Today’s 2019 Merit Based Green Card Immigration Plan by Trump ?
If you look at the overall topics addressed in today’s speech on immigration, there are no specifics other than the stats of Green Cards given. There are no details on how it will have impact on the current H1B program, it does not disclose any details on the Employment based green cards EB-2, EB-3 and other categories. It does not talk about the fate of the people waiting in line for their priority date and what will happen, if the new points based system comes through. As per Forbes, this Trump Immigration Plan may throw 4 million People of the waiting lists, it can have significant impact. There is no talk about the country based limits for green cards, there is not discussion on spouses of the people waiting for Green Cards like the H4 EAD stuck in Lawsuit…Also, there is NO mention of the DREAMERS ( Young undocumented immigrants, who were brought to US as kids)… so, there are more open topics than the high level details….there is no legislative text or policy info on this available as well….So, this raises more questions than what it answers…
Speculations , Rumors – Increase in Wages, Per Country Limits for Green Cards, etc.
There is so much of confusion among many regarding some blogs shared by others on info such as the new system will remove the Per Country Green Card Limits and the Wages will increase to over $100,000 USD for green cards, etc. To clarify, there is NO official stance or communication given by Whitehouse or any policy or any legislative text. So, do NOT be confused or mislead by such data as it is pure speculation based on rumors. While some of it may come true, there is no official reference or indication given by any officials on the same….
Will this new Green Card Merit Based Points System and Proposal from 2019 make it all the way ?
While many of these topics sound great, there are still many details missing and no one knows the real impact of the new proposal. As it looks today, the odds of this passing through as it is based on today’s proposal is very low or rather not going to happen…There was a lot of traction during the Raise Act from 2017, where even the points system was fully clearly written, but it all went dormant…There are many such bills like increasing wage, etc. that came around and did not go far…The current proposed system has a lot of controversial topics such as building Border Wall, Family based immigration changes, that will spark more debate and not easy to get full support to pass them as it is…Also, with the majority in House for Democrats, it is going to be more challenging…
What do you think of the Announcement from Trump on the New 2019 Immigration System ?
You may watch the entire speech by Trump and Details on WhiteHouse.Gov