New Trump Immigration Plan May Increase Visas For Highly-Skilled Workers

WASHINGTON: A merit-based immigration proposal being put together by White House senior adviser Jared Kushner could lead to an increase in US visas for highly skilled workers, sources familiar with the effort said on Wednesday.

Kushner is expected to present the comprehensive plan next week to President Donald Trump, who will decide whether to adopt it as his official position or send it back for changes, the sources said.

The plan does not propose ways to address young people who came to the United States illegally as children who were protected by President Barack Obama in the 2014 programme known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), or those people who have Temporary Protected Status, the sources said.

Democrats, whose support the White House would need to advance any kind of immigration legislation through Congress, have insisted that the DACA recipients be protected.

Kushner has held about 50 listening sessions with conservative groups on immigration, a senior administration official said. He has been working with White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett and policy adviser Stephen Miller on the plan and the sources said there has been some intense behind-the-scenes jockeying about the plan.

At a Time magazine forum in New York on Tuesday, Kushner said he was working well with Miller, an immigration hawk, on the topic. The two men are both long-time Trump advisers.

“Stephen and I haven’t had any fights,” he said with a smile.

That drew scepticism from immigration advocate Marshall Fitz of the Emerson Collective, who gave Kushner credit for advancing criminal justice reform but said immigration was a dramatically different issue that Miller was dominating at the White House.

“It’s impossible to see how Kushner could navigate an issue this freighted with history and central to the president’s re-election strategy in a way that would actually move the ball forward,” Fitz said.

As a White House candidate in 2016 and throughout his presidency, Trump has advocated a hard-line policy on immigration, pushing for a wall to be built on the US-Mexico border and using bruising rhetoric to describe people who have fled Central American countries to enter the United States.

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