President Trump announced a new immigration plan last week that seeks to increase high-skilled immigration, overhaul and limit asylum and the diversity visa (green card “lottery”) programs, and restrict family-based immigration.
“This could create new immigration pathways for entrepreneurs, Silicon Valley tech companies, and professionals who need greater access to movement to have the freedom to create their dreams,” says founding partner Sophie Alcorn. However, this plan will have a negative impact on family and humanitarian immigration programs. Those programs are also very important to the U.S. economy and national identity.
The plan would not change the number of green cards issued each year. Instead, the plan calls for increasing the proportion of “highly skilled immigrants” to 57 percent from 12 percent. According to Trump, the plan would bring the U.S. more in line with other countries, such as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, that have merit-based immigration systems that he has touted since taking office. Currently, about 66 percent of the 1.1 million green cards issued each year go to immigrants with family ties. Meanwhile, 12 percent of green cards are based on skills.
In addition, the new immigration plan calls for:
- Replacing existing green-card categories with a new “Build America Visa,” which prioritizes young, highly-skilled immigrants who have a valuable skill, a job offer, advanced education, or a plan to create jobs.
- Requiring all prospective immigrants to know English and pass a civics exam prior to admission to the U.S.
- Tightening asylum rules.
- Constructing a border wall.
Missing from Trump’s plan are any details about how the plan will be implemented.
In announcing the new plan, Trump did not specify whether the more than 120,500 individuals waiting for employment-based green cards and the nearly 3.7 million waiting for a family-based green card as of Nov. 1, 2018 would retain their place in line.
In addition, the plan is silent on a solution for Dreamers, which Democrats have demanded before they consider any other immigration reforms.
The new immigration plan faces an uphill battle in Congress. Congressional Democrats want any immigration reform to include a plan for Dreamers—and without funding for the controversial border wall.
In the meantime, reach out to us now if we can help you find the best immigration option for you, your employees, or your family under the current system.
The Alcorn Immigration Law team urges those eligible for a visa or green card to apply while they still can. We know immigration means innovation. We take pride in our creativity and our commitment to helping you succeed.