Donald Trump wants to favor immigration to "merit"


Donald Trump presented on Thursday a vast reform of the system of legal immigration in the United States, intended to select foreigners on the basis of their "merit" and no longer because of their family ties, whose adoption in Congress s' delicate announcement.

"Our plan will transform the American immigration system into pride for the nation and will be admired from around the world," said the US president, denouncing a "dysfunctional" system that "discriminates geniuses" and "brilliant minds" .

According to him, nearly two-thirds of the 1.1 million permanent resident permits, the so-called "green cards", distributed each year by the United States go to immigrants "simply because they have a close" in the country and only 12% go to foreigners selected for their "merit or skills".

Donald Trump thus promised to increase their proportion from 12% to 57%.

"It will make us more competitive," he said.

The real estate mogul has sketched out a "point-like" immigration system like Canada's.

According to him, immigrants will receive points if they have specific skills, a job offer, a high level of education or a business creation project. They will also have to be "financially independent", "learn to speak English" and "pass a civic exam" before being admitted to American soil, he added.

The Republican billionaire, who made the fight against illegal immigration a marker of his presidency, also denounced "fanciful asylum applications" and assured that he would set up a mechanism for faster selection of applications .


The outline of the reform, concocted by his son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner, had been unveiled in the US press and the Democrats did not wait for the president's speech to denounce it.

"For every new immigrant that the plan will let in, it will take out one," said Senate Democrat leader Chuck Schumer, a reform "cruel and inhumane." "In a shocking way," he continued, "the reform does not provide for" the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States "or the" dreamers "who arrived illegally before turning 16.

Sister Nancy Pelosi, head of the House of Representatives, denounced a "condescending" proposal, which implies that "families have no merit".

On the Republican side, some elected officials, who campaigned for a decrease in the number of green cards awarded each year, may also be disappointed.

In this context, the plan of the White House is likely to remain a dead letter.

"In light of current immigration controversies, it is unlikely that Congress will adopt a reform this year, especially with the 2020 presidential election in sight," said Immigration Law Professor Stephen Yale-Loehr .

But the issue may be elsewhere.

Donald Trump's migration policy has been regularly denounced by the business community, including Silicon Valley, which employs thousands of foreign engineers, or farmers dependent on cheap seasonal labor.

In 2017, the bosses of Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Airbnb or Netflix, had found "contrary to US values" measures prohibiting entry into the United States to nationals of seven Muslim-majority countries.

As if to reassure them, Donald Trump claimed on Thursday these values. "In our history we have welcomed newcomers to our shores", "they have forged a people" and "we are proud of it," he said.


No question of giving up the repressive measures at the border, at the heart of the presidential message.

The reform project also aims, according to the president, to "fully secure the southern border" of the United States, which he considers porous to "drug trafficking" and "criminals".

To block them, he reaffirmed his wish to erect a wall between Mexico and the United States.

The refusal of the Democrats to finance this construction has pushed him to declare an "emergency" at the border, which allows him to tap into military budgets. "We should have nearly 400 miles built by the end of next year," he said.

According to official figures, more than 100,000 migrants were arrested after illegally crossing the border from Mexico in March and April.

These important flows have already been recorded in the past, but today there are many more families and unaccompanied minors fleeing the violence and misery of Guatemala, Honduras and Salvador.

16/05/2019 22:29:39 –
Washington (AFP) –
© 2019 AFP


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