With the new immigration plan that the Trump camp unveiled last month, many immigrants and other travelers in the United States may be curious as to what exactly the plan intends to change. There are several key facts to do with this proposal, and many changes which could deeply affect those who are still on the path to legal citizenship. Many of the most important changes are detailed here, with a few supporting facts to help readers get a handle on what this plan has to offer.
The proposal itself consists of two parts:
- A physical infrastructure component, focused on revamping border security, and funding the construction of a border wall.
- A points system to replace the current family-based criteria and shift towards a more merit-based admissions policy.
These two components are quite reflective of the Trump administrations attitude towards negotiations on immigration reform. While the proposal is quite ready to propose increased admissions for high-skilled workers, it is notably silent on issues of temporary permission, such as DACA, or the H1-B visa program. The Republicans are most likely looking to put a positive spin on Trump’s immigration policies going into the 2020 election, but let’s look at some of the facts to see just what is in this proposal.
The points plan contained within the proposal is designed to shift the demographics of accepted immigrants towards a more merit-based system, in order to attract more high-skilled labor and job creation into the United States. This change contrasts with the earlier immigration policies which focused more on things like family unity. The new system awards points for criteria that are focused on skilled work, opportunity, and success probability.
Some of the criteria include:
- English proficiency
- Job opportunity
- Possible investment
- Educational background or other certifications
Obviously, these criteria are designed to make it easier to become a citizen for those who are more likely to succeed and add jobs or labor value to the U.S. Pool. Along with the change in criteria, there are several other things that will be changing as well. Notably; things like green card numbers, refugee admission numbers, and the possible elimination of the visa lottery are being called into question.
For green card admissions, the president’s proposal could cause a decline in family-based green card admissions by as much as one half. This means that out of the families already waiting to be approved and reunited, half of them will have to wait longer under the president’s new plan. Family-based green cards are the most common type of green card issues in the United States.
Another major issue is ESTA validity. Some international travelers who are in the ESTA program may be wondering HOW LONG IS MY ESTA VALID? If you’re in this boat, feel free to apply for your ESTA travel application.
Refugee admissions is another area where the new proposal doesn’t mention much, but this does not mean that there won’t be changes coming in terms of refugee admission caps. The admissions cap for refugees in fiscal year 2019 is 30,000. This is the lowest cap since the congress created the program in 1980. Trump is known to want reduced refugee admissions, since one of his first acts as president was to freeze refugee admissions.
The last area where the plan includes significant changes is the U.S. Diversity visa program, popularly called the visa lottery. This program is designed to diversify the demographics of immigrants coming into the U.S. By awarding visas to individuals from underrepresented countries. Trump’s proposal seeks to eliminate the program entirely, as part of its overhaul on green card admissions policy.
The last area of concern that critics of the proposal have highlighted is the plan does not really address the problem concerning several temporary permissions. Some individuals who have illegally entered the U.S. Have been granted special permissions to stay temporarily. Although these immigrants have been given permission to stay, many of them have no legitimate path to legal citizenship, which causes them to live in a kind of immigration limbo where they cannot fully integrate into U.S. Society.
The main two areas of concern here are the DACA program and the H1-B visa program. DACA is a program designed to make sure children are not refused entry or permission to stay, even if they entered the country illegally. The H1-B visa is a temporary work visa for high-skilled workers. The denial rate of H1-B visas has increased sharply in recent years, although the percentage of H1-B admissions awarded to workers with masters degrees or higher has increased.