In this file:


·         WH Begins Rollout of Immigration Plan

·         WH Immigration Plan Will Focus On Border Security And Merit-Based Immigration



WH Begins Rollout of Immigration Plan


Associated Press

via DTN/Progressive Farmer - 5/8/2019


WASHINGTON (AP) -- Hastily written executive orders. Declarations by tweet.


President Donald Trump's White House hasn't been known for its careful crafting of policy.


But Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and senior adviser, has spent months drawing up a long-awaited immigration overhaul plan that the White House began to roll out Tuesday.


Frustrated by congressional inaction and stinging Republican defeats, Kushner has been meeting with GOP groups and speaking with lawmakers to try to fashion a plan that the president and his party might be able to unite behind. He's been assisted by a team that includes experts in drafting legislation so that he can be less reliant on Capitol Hill, according to people familiar with the efforts.


It's a new approach for an administration with few legislative achievements and facing the challenges of navigating a hostile Democratic House, where many legislators are more intent on investigating the president than working with him, especially in an area as contentious as immigration.


"The fact is this president is taking the lead. He's not waiting on Congress," White House spokesman Hogan Gidley told Fox News on Tuesday.


Officials stressed that the plan could evolve in response to feedback. But so far it includes two prongs: A border security bill that would focus, in part, on modernizing ports of entry, and a package of revisions to legal immigration that aims to create a more "merit-based" system giving preference to those with job skills rather than relatives of immigrants already in the country. A senior administration official told reporters that the total number of immigrants allowed into the country would not change under the plan --- only the types of immigrants admitted.


The White House is also working with Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., on additional legislation that would address the nation's asylum system, in an effort to stem the flow of migrants across the border, according to the official, who outlined the plan on condition of anonymity because public discussion was not authorized.


It's not the first time the White House has tried to sell Congress on Trump's immigration priorities and it's unclear whether Republicans --- let alone Democrats --- will be on board. There is deep doubt in Washington that there is any appetite on Capitol Hill for a wide-ranging agreement.


Trump and Kushner met Tuesday afternoon with a dozen Republican senators who seemed largely receptive to the effort. But several said they were awaiting more details.


Kushner's team began meeting in January with conservative, business and other groups, soliciting input on a subject Congress has struggled for decades to address. Though he had no previous background on the contentious subject, Kushner has tried to replicate the playbook he used to help push bipartisan criminal justice reform legislation across the finish line last year.


Unlike that effort, however, this time the White House has made no outreach to Democrats, with Kushner instead looking to draft a plan that Republicans can rally around to make clear what the party is "for" as Trump heads into what is expected to be a brutal re-election campaign.


Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, which advocates for lower rates of immigration and has provided input on the plan, said that, as part of the effort, Kushner's team was working to craft legislation in-house instead of leaving it to Congress. Several weeks ago, the team added staff with experience in legislation-writing, including George Fishman, deputy general counsel at the Department of Homeland Security.


"It's not just talking points or goals at this point," Vaughan said...





WH Immigration Plan Will Focus On Border Security And Merit-Based Immigration


Amber Athey, The Daily Caller



The new White House immigration plan presented to Republican senators Tuesday focuses on increased border security and a merit-based legal immigration program, a senior administration official told The Daily Caller.


The plan was spearheaded by senior adviser and the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, but also included input from senior policy adviser Stephen Miller and has now been signed off on by President Donald Trump, the official said during a briefing with a few reporters.


There are specifically six goals that the plan aims at addressing: securing the border, protecting American wages, attracting and retaining the best and brightest, unifying families, labor in critical industries and retaining the United States’ humanitarian values. Border officials and immigration experts had a hand in crafting the policies that they believed would achieve those goals.


On border security, the plan calls for a physical barrier and modernization at ports of entry to stop drugs and trafficking.


“We want to make sure that all people, vehicles and packages coming through the ports of entry are fully scanned for drugs,” the official explained. “This is something from a national security point of view that we believe our country should have.”


The official claimed that asylum seekers will be vetted more quickly but did not offer details on how the process will change.


In terms of merit-based immigration, the plan would create a “points-based” system, based on Australian and New Zealand models.


The official declined to answer if the diversity visa lottery and chain migration would specifically be eliminated under the plan, but noted that Republican Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton’s RAISE Act was at least partially used as a guide in crafting the merit-based system. They also contended that the plan is more about stripping down immigration to its base and then building from scratch, rather than eliminating certain items.


Current legal immigration levels would remain the same under the new plan.


Trump shared the plan with a group of Republican senators at the White House on Tuesday afternoon, and the feedback was described as “very positive.” The official pointed out that there were few leaks about the plan, which is usually a good sign of agreement on an issue, and said that the senators were “surprised to see Kushner and Miller agreeing on something”...