Quite the most critical feature of Donald Trump’s new merit-based immigration policy must be that it will replace the existing green cards with a ‘Build America’ visa, so-called.
Additionally, it seeks to increase the quota for highly- skilled workers from 12 to 57 per cent. Educational and professional skills have been accorded precedence over family bonding. This is the fineprint of the plan of action to restrict the entry of migrants, and not merely from the Islamic bloc. In his own way, the US President has gone ahead, as he had signalled, after being denied the billions of dollars by Congress to construct the wall on the Mexican frontier.
The plan will considerably check the system of “family-based immigration” that for decades has allowed immigrants to bring their spouses and children to live with them. It is pretty obvious that the White House has tightened the screw through an executive imprimatur. Not that job opportunities will be denied to migrants; the blueprint makes it clear that opportunities will be provided to immigrants who have specific skills or job offers to work in the United States… on condition they have proven proficiency in English, educational attainment, and pass a civics exam.
The last is a new embroidery and in most schools, for instance in India, the subject isn’t taught beyond the middle school levels. The compulsion in the US is arguably to ensure that those who come in have at least a rudimentary knowledge of basic public administration. Generally and across the United States of America, the plan has been greeted coolly, though it will be the core plank of President Trump’s re-election campaign.
It is an open question whether the new policy will help resolve the differences, which were particularly acute when Nancy Pelosi, the Democrat Speaker of the House of Representatives, played a pivotal role in blocking funds for the Mexico wall. There are misgivings already that the plan could be unpopular with legislators on either side of the aisle.
While the opposition of the Democrats is legislative par for the course, the reservations within the Republicans can be no less challenging. Far from uniting the Republicans, the plan will get “zero Democratic support,” to quote the immediate reaction of the other side. The plan envisages the construction of part of the border wall which has been Mr Trump’s obsessive concern, and one that has vehemently been opposed by the Democrats.
The separation of families was a direly heartrending aspect of the parting in Tijuana, on the Mexican border. The blueprint has no provision for providing legal status to people brought to the United States as children ~ known as Dreamers ~ or other undocumented immigrants. There is no certainty that the plan will reduce the overall level of immigration, indeed the raison d’etre of the White House crackdown.