White House to Float New Immigration Fix

Jared Kushner
Jared Kushner / Getty Images

The White House is expected to float a new proposal to fix America's immigration system, authored by presidential son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner and having earned the approval of several key Republican senators.

The new plan will not affect overall levels of immigration, the Hill reports, but will try to shift current immigration towards a more skills-based system. It will also ask for increased funding for security at the southwestern border, specifically fortifying points of entry to help interdict illegal drugs being smuggled across.

The proposal not altering immigration levels marks a departure from the White House's past stances. President Donald Trump has previously supported the RAISE Act, a proposal from Sens. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) and David Perdue (R., Ga.) to cut immigration levels in half as part of a shift to a merit-based system.

The overall goal of the new plan, according to the Hill, is to use reallocation to reduce the inflow of low-skill immigrants who compete with native-born workers for low jobs. The mechanism by which this goal would be accomplished remains unclear, although it may involve a shift to a "points" based system of the sort used in Canada or Australia.

Critically, the Kushner plan will not address either the status of DACA recipients—thrown into limbo by Trump's ending of the program—or the explosion of asylum-seekers apprehended at the southwestern border in the past several months. The White House is working separately with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) on a bill to fix the asylum system, the Washington Post reports.

Part of the goal of the new proposal is to shift public perception of Republicans' immigration priorities, defining an immigration policy that is welcoming to immigrants who bring real experience and skills to the country.

The plan, authored by Kushner, garnered Trump's support after a meeting with Republican senators who seemed broadly receptive to the proposal.

"President Donald J. Trump met with Republican senators for an important and productive conversation on our nation's immigration policy," White House spokesman Hogan Gidley told the Hill. "The president and senators discussed a potential plan that would secure the border, protect and raise wages for the American worker, and move toward a merit based immigration system."

Whether or not this conversation will convert into real support remains to be seen. The Post interviewed multiple senators who seemed interested, but who did not commit before final language was released.