White House Details on Proposed Merit-Based Immigration System

The White House recently released a presidential memorandum entitled "Immigration Principles and Policies." One element of the memorandum is the development of a new merit-based immigration system. The White House's goal is establishing this system is to "promote assimilation and financial success." The following is a detailed breakdown of President Trump's proposed merit-based system along with data from the White House.

End Chain Migration

The system limits family-based green cards to only spouses and the minor children of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, rather than extended family. The reform would begin to grant green cards based on merit, not family connections. This would promote assimilation, financial independence, and upward mobility. Also, the bulk of the low-skilled immigration into the U.S. occurs legally through the immigrant visa system, which currently prioritizes family-based chain migration. Chain migration in the past 35 years has accounted for more than 60% of immigration into the U.S.

Point-Based System for Merit-Based Immigration

The Administration hopes to establish a point-based system for granting green cards. The system would attempt to protect U.S. workers and taxpayers, encourage assimilation, and ensure the financial self-sufficiency of new residents. Currently, only one out of every 15 immigrants to the U.S. is admitted on the basis of skills. Further, over half of all immigrant households use one or more welfare programs. This pattern of low-skilled immigration has suppressed wages, fueled unemployment, and put a strain on Federal resources.

Eliminate the Diversity Visa Lottery

The U.S. currently grants 50,000 green cards at random each year through the "diversity visa" to foreign nationals. Further, many of these individuals have no ties to the U.S. and are not highly-skilled. The lottery is expensive and time-consuming for the State Department to implement. The current system is also fairly susceptible to fraud.

Set the Number of Refugees at an Appropriate Level

Finally, the U.S. is a world leader in accepting refugees, and we have recently gone beyond historic averages. The White House feels that the refugee ceiling needs to be "realigned with American priorities." One study found that for the price of permanently resettling one refugee within the U.S., the U.S. can help 12 refugees resettle in safe zones closer to their home. The Administration also feels that fraud can be best combatted by better focusing U.S. refugee admissions on the most genuine claims and enhancing the screening process.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our legal team directly.

This information comes from a news release from the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA Doc. No. 17100973).

Categories: Immigration News