The Sift Here’s what we’re Sifting today

Trump to announce new immigration plan

by Harvest Prude
Posted 5/16/19, 11:52 am

President Donald Trump is set to announce a new immigration reform plan Thursday afternoon that would shift the United States toward a “merit-based” system while toughening border security. The plan is expected to significantly raise the educational and skill requirements for immigrants accepted into the United States, The New York Times reported based on a briefing at the White House. These requirements include more stringent expectations for English proficiency, employment, and educational attainment.

About 12 percent of immigrants to the United States are accepted based on skill, while more than half are allowed in because of family ties. This new plan would drastically move away from family-based migration policies that allow the spouses and children of immigrants to follow them to the United States.

The proposal is also expected to crack down on illegal immigration at the U.S. southern border. While specifics have not yet been released, the plan likely tightens asylum requirements and calls for more construction of border barriers.

Critics have already pointed out that aspects of the proposal will render it dead on arrival on Capitol Hill. The plan would not reduce the overall levels of immigrants coming into the United States, making it a tough sell for some Republicans. The plan also fails to include protections for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals participants whose parents brought them into the United States illegally as children, which is a key priority for Democrats.

Read more from The Sift Sign up for The Sift email
Harvest Prude

Harvest is a reporter for WORLD based in Washington, D.C.

Read more from this writer


You must be a WORLD Member and logged in to the website to comment.
  • OldMike
    Posted: Thu, 05/16/2019 02:41 pm

    Not sure basing immigration on merit is really in our Nation’s best interests. We are seeing a labor shortage in many fields, including unskilled farm and factory labor.

    There is a lot to be said for an immigrant starting in humble circumstances and pulling himself up by learning new, more valuable skills, and for his kids going through the education system and moving up the economic ladder. My own immigrant ancestors were, as far as I know, mostly unskilled and impoverished Scotch/Irish/ Welsh/English who started at the bottom of the ladder but were willing to work their way up. 

  • CJ
    Posted: Thu, 05/16/2019 02:59 pm

    That’s is probably true of the majority of immigrants back in the day. Our economy today is very different. I’m not saying the new proposal is good or bad but something surely needs to be done to improve the way immigration is handled instead of just arguing about it and using it as a talking point for re-election.

  • Laura W
    Posted: Sat, 05/18/2019 07:33 pm

    Right, it's often the unskilled jobs that have a hard time finding workers. I took a farm job this past summer, and most of the employees were high school kids, with a few who came back after starting college. The company was so eager for workers that they would hire just about anyone at any point during the season, with very few questions asked. And this past year they still hired a crew of immigrant/migrant workers just to make sure they had enough hands to get the work done when it needed to happen. It was hard work in the hot sun, and I don't blame the kids for deciding they had better things to do with their summers. But the immigrant crew was willing and able to get the job done. I say let them.

  • Gma Joyce 6's picture
    Gma Joyce 6
    Posted: Thu, 05/16/2019 03:37 pm

    I understand the DACA sentiment, but wonder why those who are older have not chosen citizenship.

  • Alan R
    Posted: Thu, 05/16/2019 03:39 pm

    I appreciate that Pres. Trump is at least trying to do something constructive about immigration while the Democrats are only making things worse especially regarding the southern border. However, I believe the immigration issues are complex and need a multifaceted approach to better serve the nation's various interests. 

  • not silent
    Posted: Thu, 05/16/2019 10:47 pm

    I'm not sure what the right answer is, but I agree that the problem is complex. I also suspect a number of my own ancestors were poor and uneducated when they arrived.  A number of them were Irish, but I didn't know that until recently because my family downplayed it.  I've been told the British used to have signs in their pubs which said, "Dogs allowed.  No Irish."  According to, many people came here from UK and Western Europe after the War of 1812; and "Many of the new arrivals were desperately poor, paid very little for their passage and were treated as nothing more than cargo by shipping companies."  A merit based policy probably would have kept many of them out of the US.

    People act like things have changed, but I wonder how much they really have changed.  The Irish were despised intially, but now everyone LOVES the Irish. I remember jokes about Eastern European immigrants when i was a kid (about how they were not very smart), but now they are viewed as model immigrants. I could give a lot of other examples.   I'm not in favor of "open borders" (and even my most liberal aquaintance is not for that), but I think something like this should be very carefully examined lest we block immigrants for the wrong reasons.  (i.e., do we want to block all immigrants who are poor or uneducated even if they only want a better life and would work hard for it and ultimately become patriotic citizens who love this country?) 

    At any rate, if they DO implement a merit based policy, they should take down the plaque at the Statue of Liberty-the one that has been there since 1903 and says: "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.  Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

  • Laura W
    Posted: Sat, 05/18/2019 07:26 pm

    If we have large numbers of (probably mostly men) coming in who aren't allowed to have their wives and children with them, that doesn't sound like a great recipe for social stability. If it goes out to aunts and uncles and distant cousins, that might be a little much, but I don't understand what the goal is in making it difficult for people to bring their immediate families with them. (I guess there is the issue of "anchor babies", but maybe that could be treated as a special case.)