(AP) – President Donald Trump has unveiled a new immigration plan to convince the public and lawmakers that the U.S. legal migration system needs to be overhauled.
Trump, speaking Thursday in the Rose Garden, says his plan aims to create a “fair, modern and lawful system of immigration for the United States.” He says: “It’s about time.”
The latest effort, spearheaded by Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, focuses on beefing up border security and rethinking the nation’s green card system so that it would favor people with high-level skills, degrees and job offers instead of relatives of those already in the country.
Trump says the immigration plan he’s proposing would prioritize “totally brilliant” immigrants.
Trump says right now the U.S. immigration laws “discriminate against genius” and “discriminate against brilliance” because most of the green cards are given to low-skilled people who would make low wages.
Under the plan, the country would award the same number of green cards as it now does. But far more would go to exceptional students, professionals and people with high-level and vocational degrees. Factors such as age, English language ability and employment offers would also be considered.
Far fewer green cards would be given to people with relatives already in the U.S. Fifty-seven percent would be awarded on merit as opposed to the current 12%.
The plan is not yet embraced by his own party – let alone Democrats – and faces an uphill battle in Congress.