President Donald Trump proposed an immigration plan on May 16, 2019, that shifts the emphasis to a merit-based system to admit highly educated, high-skilled immigrants.

In a speech announcing the proposal on May 16, 2019, President Trump said the biggest change would be to “increase the proportion of highly skilled immigration from 12 percent to 57 percent,” and possibly higher. Immediate family of new U.S. citizens, defined as spouses and children, would go “right to the front of the line.”

President Trump also said the plan makes no change to the number of green cards allocated each year, but will “establish simple, universal criteria for admission to the United States,” to be accomplished by an “easy-to-navigate points-based selection system.” A would-be immigrant “will get more points for being a younger worker, meaning you will contribute more to our social safety net. You will get more points for having a valuable skill, an offer of employment, an advanced education, or a plan to create jobs,” he said.

Reaction to the proposed plan was mixed, according to reports. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) quickly proclaimed the plan “dead on arrival.” Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), minority leader in the Senate, said the White House plan was “a political document that is anti-immigration reform.” Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), majority leader, said he “look[s] forward to reviewing the President’s proposal.”

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