Good News for Indian Green Card Aspirants: Trump to Propose New Immigration Plan Favoring Merit-Based ForeignersMay 16, 2019 09:42
In a major relief to Indians residing in the United States, President Donald Trump is all set to announce a new proposal to overhaul the country’s immigration policy that would give preference to foreigners based on merit rather than the existing system that gives preference to family ties.
The move comes amid proposed stringent rules hitting Indian Americans hard in the majority. The announcement could end the agonizing Green Card wait for hundreds and thousands of Indian professionals, whose current Green Card wait, on an average, is more than a decade.
The brainchild of Trump’s son-in-law, Jarred Kushner, the new plan primarily focuses on strengthening border security and revamping the system of Green Card or legal permanent residency so that people with merit, higher degrees and professional qualifications could get easy access to the immigration system.
Trump is scheduled to roll out his plan at the Rose Garden of the White House Thursday afternoon.
As of April 2018, a total of 306,601 Indian nationals, mostly IT professionals, were waiting in line for Green Cards, according to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services figures.
As of now, about 66 percent of the green cards are given to those with family ties and only 12 percent are based on skills. The Trump Administration intends to change this.
However, the plan faces an uphill task mainly because of the bitterly divided Congress on partisan lines, especially on the issue of immigration reform.
Even if Trump succeeds in convincing his Republican lawmakers on this, the opposition Democrats, led by Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, are dead against any such legislative success to the president.
The Trump Administration is well aware of the issue. It is planning to make it an election issue in 2020 if the opposition Democrats are unwilling to be engaged on this, a senior administration official told reporters during an interaction on the eve of the rollout of the merit-based immigration policy.
“It is going to be a very detailed piece of legislation and it can be what they want it to be. If they do not want to engage, then it will be part of the election. If they want to engage, then it could be part of a negotiation. That is going to be up to them,” said the official who requested anonymity.
In his speech, Trump is unlikely to propose changes in the existing number - 1.1 million - of green cards issued each year. Instead, the new policy calls for issuing more than half of the green cards to those based on employment or skills.
By Sowmya Sangam