White House to unveil sweeping overhaul of immigration system

White House to unveil sweeping overhaul of immigration system”

While Graham is known to have President Donald Trump's ear, proposals similar to the senator's have been rejected in the past by Democrats, who control the House of Representatives.

Trump is scheduled to use a Rose Garden speech on Thursday to throw his support behind a plan developed by his son-in-law and White House adviser, Jared Kushner, to move USA immigration toward a "merit-based system" that prioritizes high-skilled workers. Nor does it reduce overall rates of immigration, as many conservative Republicans would like to see.

The plan, which the White House teased last week, will also address some of Mr. Trump's security demands.

Trump will present an overview of the plan, with details of the "very large document" to be released in coming weeks, the official said.

Kushner briefed the senators on the contours of the plan, a person familiar with the situation said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and White House hardline immigration adviser Stephen Miller were on Capitol Hill on Tuesday talking to senators about Trump's plans. Factors such as age, English language ability and employment offers would be taken into account.

The U.S. would award the same number of green cards as it now does, but far more would go to exceptional students, professionals and people with vocational degrees.

It also seeks to end the diversity lottery system that grants entry into the USA to about 55,000 people from underrepresented countries every year.

Republicans and Democrats have fought for years about how to overhaul outdated immigration laws, and the battle has become even more polarized since 2016 when Trump ran for office on a pledge to build a wall on the southern U.S. border to keep out migrants entering the country illegally.

It's not the first time the Trump White House has come out with an immigration plan.

"I don't think it's created to get Democratic support as much as it is to unify the Republican Party around border security, a negotiating position", said Sen.

Despite Graham's call for Trump to work with Democrats, Democrats in the Senate seemed skeptical of Graham's legislation.

"We want to start by trying to anchor the discussion by defining border security, defining what the legal immigration should be and then seeing if we can unite Republicans around it and then also unite Republicans around the fact that we're not looking to change the number of legal immigration", one of the officials said.

"A plan that forces families apart, limits access to asylum and other humanitarian relief, and doesn't contemplate a path to citizenship for DACA recipients and other undocumented community members is clearly a political stunt meant to posture rather than problem-solve", she said.

Graham, who is close to Trump, rolled out his own proposal Wednesday to address a recent flood of migrants seeking asylum at the U.S. -Mexico border. "We're gonna wipe out the backlog", Graham said.

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