The White House is set to unveil a sweeping new plan that would radically transform the makeup of immigrants in the United States, ending the visa lottery program and implementing a comprehensive merit-based admissions procedure, three senior administration officials told Fox News on Wednesday.
The move would more than quadruple the number of immigrants admitted because of their work-related skills, while dramatically slashing the number of immigrants admitted because of family ties. Currently, approximately 12 percent of immigrants are admitted based on employment and skills, while 66 percent are admitted based on family connections.
Those percentages, under the new plan, would shift to 57 percent and 33 percent, respectively. Ten percent of immigrants would be admitted on humanitarian or other grounds, but the plan would end the visa lottery program.
In its place: a new "Build America Visa" program that would recognize "extraordinary talent" and "people with professional and specialized vocations," including exceptional students, Fox News has learned.
Potential immigrants would be assessed using a point-based system, accounting for factors including age, English proficiency, whether each candidate has an offer of employment above a certain wage threshold, and educational and vocational certifications. Pledges to invest and create jobs also would be considered.
The average yearly wage of immigrant families currently is approximately $43,000. The officials said immigrants admitted based on education and skills would have an average family income of $126,000, and they would expect the average yearly wage of all immigrant families to rise to roughly $96,000.
The Trump administration also said it has considered other similar immigration systems. When Canada implemented a merit-based system, it largely resulted in a “pooling” of immigrants from East Asia and the Indian subcontinent. To avoid pooling, the White House said it would add points to immigrant candidates from under-represented countries, but it would not impose caps on certain countries.
Trump is set to deliver a major immigration address Thursday afternoon, Fox News has learned, amid previous reports that Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner has been working to finalize a plan that focuses on border security and changes to the legal immigration system.
"I do believe that the president's position on immigration has been maybe defined by his opponents by what he's against as opposed to what he's for," Kushner said at the Time 100 Summit in New York City last month. "What I've done is, I've tried to put together a very detailed proposal for him."
Kushner presented the plan to senators on Capitol Hill on Tuesday.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told reporters after the presentation that White House officials seemed "well on their way" to winning consensus for a plan that would unite Republicans on the contentious issue. But, he added, "Whether it will or not, I don't know."
One Republican official briefed on Tuesday's meeting said Kushner provided few details Read more at FOX News