What’s happening with immigration

Trump cites Canada’s immigration system as a model to follow, but omits their high level of refugee admissions

President Donald Trump repeatedly referenced other countries’ immigration systems as models for the US to emulate during a White House announcement on an immigration proposal, including Canada’s merit-based admissions systems several times.

However, in contrast to Trump’s call to reduce the number of asylum claims the administration deems are fraudulent as part of the plan, Canada and Australia, another country whose immigration system he cited, led the world with the number of refugees resettled per capita in 2017, a Pew report on UN data notes.

And by January of this year, Maclean’s reported that the UN data show Canada and European Union surpassed the US in the total number resettled refugees.

The US has historically led the world in the total number of refugee resettlements, but has been on a steep, consistent decline in admissions since the start of the Trump administration. There is a 30,000 refugee resettlement cap for FY 2019.

What “merit-based” immigration means, and why Trump keeps saying he wants it

FPresident Trump called for a “major update” to the US immigration system on Thursday, announcing a plan to boost “merit-based” immigration.

President Trump called for a “major update” to the US immigration system on Thursday, announcing a plan to boost “merit-based” immigration.

Here’s a look at what that means, and why it keeps coming up.

‘Merit-based’ immigration means using individuals’ skills to decide whether they should be allowed to immigrate.

Senior adviser Jared Kushner is behind this latest initiative, which emerged after months of talks between Kushner and dozens of conservative groups.
One key idea behind it, Trump said in a speech from the White House Rose Garden, would be to attract “the best and brightest all around the world” to come to the United States.

Trump says the plan will use a point system.

The President says his plan would use “an easy-to-navigate, point-based selection system” to determine eligibility.
“You will get more points for being a younger worker, meaning you will contribute more to our social safety net. You will get more points for having a valuable skill, an offer of employment, an advanced education or a plan to create jobs,” Trump said.
His plan wouldn’t change the total number of green cards offered annually, Trump said, but would increase the proportion allocated to skilled workers.
“We want immigrants coming in. We cherish the open door that we want to create for our country,” he said. “But a big proportion of those immigrants must come in through merit and skill.”

Countries like Australia and Canada have skills-based systems.

Australia and Canada both use point-based systems to determine if someone qualifies to enter the country as a skilled worker.
In Canada, for example, applicants earn points based on language skills, education, work experience age, adaptability and whether they have a job waiting for them.

This isn’t the first time Trump has said he wants it.

He touted it in his 2017 speech to a joint session of Congress, and again in his 2018 State of the Union speech. He also got behind a 2017 bill that would have created a point system emphasizing immigrants’ skills.
“It is time to begin moving towards a merit-based immigration system — one that admits people who are skilled, who want to work, who will contribute to our society, and who will love and respect our country,” Trump said last year.

Immigrant rights advocates are already sounding alarm bells.

“This plan would impede family reunification by reducing visas for families, and instead prioritizing wealthy immigrants,” the Washington-based Immigration Hub said in a memo released before Trump’s speech on Thursday.

Trump says US will issue a new “Build America Visa” and require migrants to learn English

President Trump just announced plans to replace existing green cards with a new “Build America Visa.”

Trump went on to describe the new immigration selection system he hopes to see implemented, which would include a new points-based system. He said migrants will be required to learn English and pass a civics exam.

“You will get more points for being a younger worker, meaning you will contribute more to our social safety net. You will get more points for having a valuable skill and offer of employment and advanced education or a plan to create jobs,” Trump said.

He added: “Priority will also be given to higher wage workers, ensuring we never undercut American labor. To protect benefits from American citizens, immigrants must be financially self-sufficient. Finally, to promote integration, assimilation and national unity, future immigrants will be required to learn English and to pass a civics exam prior to admission.” ( CNN / IM )

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