Border security has to be part of immigration reform or else “every town is a border town and every state is a border state,” Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), said Friday in a TV interview
In the interview Blackburn, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, applauded President Trump’s proposed immigration plan,and well as legislation to deal with the crisis at the border introduced by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
But border security must become a priority, she said.
“Until we secure that southern border and end all the trafficking of drugs and human beings and gangs and the sex trafficking, until we do that, every town is a border town and every state is a border state,” she said.
Thursday, President Trump said that he wanted to recruit “Top talent” to the nation as he unveiled his latest efforts to reform residency laws after years of setbacks and stalemates.
“We discriminate against genius,” President Trump said of current policies, which he contended excessively favor family based immigration. “We discriminate against brilliance. We won’t anymore once we get this passed.”
This effort focuses on beefing up border security and rethinking the nation’s Green card system so that it would favor people with high-level skills, degrees and job offers instead of relatives of those already in the country.
The proposed shift to a more merit-based system prioritizing high-skilled workers would mark a dramatic departure from the nation’s largely family based approach, which officials said gives roughly 66% of Green cards to those with family ties and 12% based on skills.
The show of magnanimity comes as President Trump seeks to put a softer face on the signature campaign issue from his 1st campaign as he eyes his 2020 re-election.
“Our plan is pro-American, pro-immigrant and pro-worker,” President Trump said, adding that it contrasts with what he called Democrats’ support of “chaos.”
Efforts to overhaul the immigration system have gone nowhere for 30 years due to deep partisan divisions.
Prospects for an agreement seem especially bleak as the 2020 Elections near, though the plan could give President Trump and the GOP a proposal to rally behind, even as Democrats signaled their opposition.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said “Dreamer” immigrants were not included in President Trump’s new plan because past proposals involving them have failed.
Under the new plan, the US would award the same number of Green cards as it now does. But far more would go to exceptional students, professionals and people with high-level and vocational degrees. Factors such as age, English language ability and employment offers would also be considered.
The diversity visa lottery, which offers Green cards to citizens of countries with historically low rates of immigration to the US, would be eliminated.
As part of the plan, officials want to shore up ports of entry to ensure all vehicles and people are screened and to create a self-sustaining fund, paid for with increased fees, to modernize ports of entry.
The plan also calls for building border wall in targeted locations and continues a push for an overhaul to the US asylum system, with the goal of processing fewer applications and removing people who do not qualify faster.
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