Trump to sign merit-based US immigration Executive Order

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President Donald Trump Rolling Back Regulations to Help All Americans Event 16 July 2020

Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian

Comments by Sanwar Ali:

Even if Donald Trump wins the Presidential Elections in November, which is very uncertain, it is extremely difficult to make major changes to immigration legislation.   The US immigration system has remained largely the same for many years because of the difficulty in reaching agreement with both Houses of Congress.  Trump seems to think that he can make major changes by Executive Order.  If he does do so it will no doubt result in a wave of litigation, which if he is elected President again is likely to last for years. 

Presumably this new “merit based” immigration system will be at the expense of other migrants such as some family based green card applicants.  This is something that no doubt will be opposed by the Democrats.  In reality the US already has a merit based employment based immigration system.  Huge number of prospective immigrants have to wait many years to obtain a Green Card under the current difficult and cumbersome "merit-based" immigration system.

Comments by Trump seem a bit contradictory.  It seems that he wants to help DACA Dreamer applicants but opposes an amnesty.   Surely if he wants to help DACA applicants he has to let them stay in the US!

US President, Donald Trump, has revealed that a US immigration act he is planning will be merit-based. Amid failed efforts to end the DACA program, Trump said that the planned executive order would “take care of DACA.”

During a press conference in the White House Rose Garden, Trump said: “We're going to take care of DACA because I'm going to be doing, in the not too distant future, pretty soon, I'm going to be signing a new immigration action - very, very big merit-based immigration action - that based on the DACA decision, I'll be able to do.”

The US President has long said that he wants to overhaul the US immigration system so that it’s based on merit and not family ties. Trump, who is targeting re-election in November, said the Democrats have had their chance for three years to do something with DACA and they’ve always rejected that chance.

Trump says DACA used as political weapon by Democrats

Trump accused the Democrats of using DACA as a political weapon. He said: “They always turned it down. They used it as politics. I am using it to get something done, but we will be signing a very powerful immigration act. It will be great; it will be merit-based. The country has tried to get it for 25 or 30 years.”

“It will be strong on the border, but you will come in legally and you will be able to come in legally and very importantly, we will be taking care of people from DACA in a very Republican way,” the President added.

Trump claims that his new act will give DACA migrants a ‘road to US citizenship’, which drew heavy criticism from some inside his administration. Senator Ted Cruz called Trump’s plans a mistake.

An official White House statement said: “The President is working on an executive order to establish a merit-based immigration system to further protect US workers.”

“Furthermore, the President has long said he is willing to work with the Congress on a negotiated legislative solution to DACA, one that could include citizenship, along with strong border security and permanent merit-based reforms,” the statement said.

No amnesty for undocumented migrants

However, it’s understood that Trump’s new executive order will not include amnesty, with Trump taking a swipe at Democrats, saying “unfortunately, Democrats have constantly refused these offers as they are averse to anything that’s not a totally open border.”

Trump claimed that the opposition had broken a deal with him on DACA, saying: “I had a deal with the Democrats, they broke it. All of a sudden, they just broke it for no reason. Actually, they had a court case that slightly went their way, and they said, ‘Oh, let's not talk about the deal anymore’.”

According to Trump, despite a recent Supreme Court ruling, which blocked the President from ending the program, the decision actually gave him ‘tremendous powers’, which would allow him to take in 700,000 or so people.

A series of Trump executive orders

If Trump’s immigration act executive order is signed into action, it will follow a series of proclamations that the US President has signed since the COVID-19 outbreak in the US, including a temporary ban on US green cards, work visas and the indefinite closure of US borders with Canada and Mexico.

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