Trump's latest immigration proposal limits family-based immigration
US IMMIGRATION NOTES - Atty. Marco F.G. Tomakin (The Freeman) - May 19, 2019 - 12:00am

Just this week, President Trump announced his latest proposal to overhaul the immigration policy of the United States. As he had been very vocal on tougher enforcement of immigration laws against convicted aliens, the undocumented, refugees, and asylum seekers, this time Mr. Trump trains his eyes on legal immigration. The new plan seeks to promote a more comprehensive approach to how permanent residency is allocated and what type of immigrants get preference over the others.

Among others, one very significant and drastic shift centers on prioritizing highly-skilled workers over those family-based petitions. Mr. Trump's proposal allows applicants to earn eligibility points based on factors such as age, English proficiency, pending job offers, and educational background. This is a merit-based system that is practiced in other countries like Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc. Under this new scheme, 57% of the greencards will be issued based on merit which is an increase in the present 12%. Currently, 2/3 of greencards are issued based on family ties, the new system would cut it to 1/3.

How does this specific proposal affect the rest of us?

First of all, there is zero to no chance that this proposal gets taken up by a highly-partisan and divided Congress. Even the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, already declared it as “dead on arrival plan that is not a remotely serious proposal.” Even the president's Republican allies are non-committal and appear to be skeptical of passing this into law. Thus, in the short term, this proposal would just stay as it is. More of a 2020 political play by the re-electionist president than a serious policy enactment.

Which bring me to the next point. If Mr. Trump's rabid voter base hears his tougher immigration policies, it is the hope that such buildup support propels the Republicans to take back the US House of Representatives, retain the Senate, and Mr. Trump gets re-elected. Nothing gets in the way anymore to get this proposal into law.

So if you have plans of petitioning family members, you have to assess your options now. You don’t know how the next administration shapes out and affects your dream of family unity through family-based petitions.


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