Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner is working on a proposal to expand legal immigration opportunities for low- and high-skilled workers.
Kushner in January began hosting meetings with business and immigration advocacy groups and has continued negotiations with a four-person team at the White House.
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His efforts to reform legal immigration, assigned to him by the president, are in part a response to business groups who have asked the government to add permanent slots for immigrants amid a downturn in unemployment.
The final proposal, expected sometime this summer, will likely include cuts to some forms of legal immigration so as not to produce a net increase in legal arrivals.
“I need people coming in because we need people to run the factories and plants and companies that are moving back in,” said President Trump. “We need people.”
As it stands, roughly 140,000 of the 1 million+ immigrants allowed into the country each year arrive with job prospects. The rest are are relatives, refugees, or arrivals from countries with low rates of immigration to the US.
To compare, roughly 100,000 illegals were apprehended at the southern border during the month of March. An estimated 12 million illegal immigrants currently live in the US.
In the meantime, critics worry that Kushner’s moderate views will persuade Trump to abandon his promises on immigration policy.
“The president must remember that he was elected to implement an immigration system that serves national interests, not business interests,” explains RJ Hauman, an advocate for reduced migration. “A plan to increase overall immigration is nothing more than a handout to businesses so they don’t have to compete for American workers and raise wages.”
“[The Administration] should be 100 percent on fixing the border crisis and not on other parts of the immigration system,” adds Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies.